Speaking to creators at comic conventions can yield a wealth of advice and help. Sebastian Antoniou who is an artist that gave some great feedback when comparing some of my finished pages and sketches in my sketch book.

The problem I was having was that art in my sketch book was fluid, dynamic and pleasant to the eye (at least my eye). However when I worked on finished sequential pages, the art was stiff and less dynamic. Also the style of the art seemed to change drastically.

Here’s an example from and old sketch and an old “finished” page. These are meant to be the same character, sketchbook version on the left and the Bristol board (scanned and grey-scaled) version on the right.

I think there are several reasons why this is the case:

  • I seem to have a mental block between drawing on a cheap sketchbook (on which I can discard the page) and drawing on a nice new, pristine piece of Bristol board
  • Not planning the thumbnails out properly
  • Not sketching or planning out the page layout and rough pencils in a clear enough fashion before inking  

However even when things were penciled out nicely, another factor to stiff pages seemed to be my inking process. I was using the famed Hunt 102 nib that so many inkers used. The problem? It takes lots of practice and skill to ink with this tool.

The advice from Seb Antoniou? He asked me what tools I used when inking sketches in my sketch book. I said I used fine-liners. He then asked why I was then switching to a completely different tool when in most cases I want to capture the art in my sketch books (just in a neater presentation).

I thought about it and it was true. I didn’t need to be true to a particular method that wasn’t my method… yet.

So Catapulted will be inked mainly with fine-liners as that’s what I’m used to and hopefully it’s going to get me the results I want in my pages.

Long story short? Don’t sacrifice the art by sticking rigidly to a method that isn’t yet yours and get feedback on your work from other creators (even if it’s a 5 min chat).