Thursday, September 20, 2007

Inking Problems

I'm at a weird place right now artistically. While I don't think it qualifies as "artist's block" (which I have experienced), I've been unhappy and tentative about my inking the past several pages.

I've never considered myself a particularly proficient inker, but even by my standards I haven't been very satisfied with the past few pages I've done. I suspect that the problem may lie in the penciling--which, after all, is the foundation of the drawing--but strangely enough I've been pleased enough with the pencils to move on to the inking stage. But I've found the finished pages disappointing!

I use a combination of a standard Uniball pen and a Windsor & Newton 3 brush for my finishes (brush is a fairly traditional and common inking tool in cartooning), but I've been dissatisfied enough recently that I've been experimenting with other inking tools. Right now I'm trying out a disposable brush pen.

Strangely enough, as challenging as a brush can be for me, making a change isn't so easy. Like many cartoonists, the brush is a familiar tool, and I find other tools off-putting. For example, even though I love the look of my sketches using standard felt-tip pens (usually done at conventions for fans), I tend to freeze up when using it for finished work.

This is a great time to be an artist, as there are numerous inking choices. But one has to be careful about being sure to use a device that uses permanent ink. Some inks fade over time, while others are not waterproof and may easily smear.

Anyway, I thought I'd just post this to show what kind of issues often come up for artists. I usually simply work through such problems, but this is a little bit more serious in that I'm actually considering alternative inking approaches, which would be a big change for me!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Update from the House of WCG

Here's the latest news from WCG Comics and Rob Hanes Adventures....

First off, I've posted a few new preview pages from the next issue of Rob Hanes Adventures (11)! (Page 2 pictured at right.) Exhibiting at the Comic-Con International in San Diego pulled me away from working on the story for a bit, but I'm back on track. I'm very excited about this adventure, and look forward to completing it.

For some reason, ever since the release of issue 10, I have experienced a big spike in sales! Though the year is just a little more than half over, this already is shaping up as one of my strongest sales years in awhile, which is obviously very heartening--not just because of the money but because there's been a big influx of new people placing orders. And not just sample issues, but my entire catalog (I guess the special price I'm offering has been enticing.)

Not sure yet the reasons for this increase. Many occurred before the recent CBG review, so I'm wondering whether I may have missed some other coverage? Or perhaps my efforts to raise awareness through online methods have begun paying off. Regardless, I'm not complaining! My thanks to everyone who has placed an order for this record-setting year.

As I have mentioned, I'm also presently exploring new models for distributing the series to retailers. The response to this also has been good, and I'm grateful to those retailers who have taken the effort to order RH Adventures for their stores. As a reminder, I've begun posting a list of stores that support the series (which is far from complete), but it's my way of thanking these retailers for supporting the title. Be sure to frequent these stores--and to let me know if you know of a retailer who carries the series and should be included on the list!!

Finally, in addition to several messages and letters of comment I have received from fans, two messages--one from R.C. Harvey, author of the new Milton Caniff biography, Meanwhile..., and another passed along to me from Caniff's nephew--were particularly appreciated. In the first, Harvey responded to an e-mail I sent him complimenting his book; in his response, he said it was "especially gratifying coming from you, a dedicated Caniff follower. I've been, as always, enjoying Rob Hanes' adventures, admiring your deft visuals." In the second, a comment left on my review below of Harvey's book mentioned that Guyton liked my tribute illustration to his uncle.