I’ll save the debate about hand-drawn vs. digital comics for a later post; generally speaking, though, the typical starving artist resorts to penciling and inking by hand. Heck, if it was good enough for Charles Schultz and Jack Kirby, it’s good enough for me! There’s just something about the crisply inked lines that have personified comics for the last century that even the best digital painting techniques will never replace.
Some of the best examples of pros hand-drawing their work for the web include Dave Kellett of the great humor comic Sheldon, Tara Tallan of the space-faring epic Galaxion, and the insane awesomeness of Doug TenNapel on Ratfist.
There are dozens of different tools you can use to ink your own work, but in my years of cartooning, my favorite discovery has been the brush pen. While arguably not as great as a sable hair brush, according to some (and not as expensive, either), I find them to be extremely versatile, and definitely more portable. Sadly, as my local stores began to be affected by our current economic woes, they became harder and harder for me to find. I luckily happened upon a post by the aforementioned Tara Tallan, who led me to a great place called jetpens.com. I have fallen in love with this site, and in particular with the Kuretake Brush Sign Pens I’ve ordered from it! They’re between $2-$3 apiece, and each one gives me a great range of line widths and a nice sharp line. I highly recommend them:
Speaking of inking, here is a great video regarding the subject by TenNapel as he shows his inking process for Ratfist:
‘Til next time, cheapskates!