I'm heading up to Maine to visit the folks in a few days.
But first, a sketchdump:
You can't have a turkey without stuffing and rambling, so here goes...
A couple posts ago, Mike Rauch asked if I would weigh the pros and cons of inking traditionally versus digitally. This is a topic that's coming up more often these days, and I sense a growing number of cartoonists have a foot in both camps.
Maybe it's because I've been chained to the computer for so long, but it KILLS me how intuitive it is to ink by hand. Simply put the brush or nib to the paper and you know exactly what you're getting. If you make a mistake, you know exactly why it happened—nothing mysterious is going on behind the scenes. It's more nuanced and requires a level of concentration, but it's so natural to draw this way.
Flash, on the other hand, will always be a bit of a mystery. It took me a year or two to wrap my head around it, and it still frustrates me from time to time (how it reprocesses the line, in particular). But we all put up with it for the precision it offers, and the perfectionist's dream: UNDO. Not to mention the edit and transform tools.You can tweak and re-tweak a drawing until you're completely happy.
This is how I'm currently breaking it down.
I ink digitally when I sense the need for edits and corrections, which currently equals the majority of my client work. Flash is able to give me a clean professional line; I haven't achieved a similar level of slickness with the brush (yet). I don't have to scan and clean up my inks, so coloring is a snap. Flash is quick. Flash is sharp. It's what you'd expect from the digital realm. But even with the Cintiq, the computer has a long way to go in recreating the tactile connection between drawing utensil and paper. It will always be a mimic.
I reserve working traditionally for more personal work: namely, my comics. It's way easier to plot out the drawings on paper. I enjoy the craft of inking more than anything else. It's also valuable to have the physical piece to hold in my hands when I'm done. I think about my artwork trapped in zeros and ones and it really bugs me. Ideas come easier when I work them out on paper, which is why inking in a sketchbook is a bit of a no-brainer now that I have the brush pen. I rarely find myself doodling in Flash these days.
While I'm having a lot of fun inking on paper, I cannot deny the power, speed, and edit-ability of the digital realm. So I'm still very much a proponent of inking in Flash. But if you're a digital person, do yourself a favor: open up a sketchbook and put a pen, pencil, or brush to paper. For balance, if nothing else.
We'll get there together
3 weeks ago