Monday, January 28, 2008

SHOP TALK: Brush update

In a past post, I mentioned how I’ve been experimenting with brush pens. This came about after experiencing a bit of “artist’s block,” which I attributed partly to dissatisfaction with my own brushwork, as well as to the declining quality of brushes I have been noticing over the years. Though I generally like working with markers, I don’t find them conducive to finished work. Desperate to shake things up, I decided to test a few out, most notably the Faber-Castell brush pen.

Although I’m still using the brush pens, the regular brush has remained in my stable of inking tools. The brush has a lightness of touch and a finesse a brush pen can’t capture. Having said that, the brush has become more of an “end-finisher”—I’m using the brush pen for more bolder linework, to fill in blacks in tight places, and for some of the more broader brushstrokes (like folds in clothes), but after some trial and error, the brush is still my tool-of-choice for most of my outline work (particularly figures).

I just wished they’d make brushes that kept their points better!!


benton jew said...

I've also noticed a decline in the quality of brushes.
I would buy those Windsor Newton series#7 red sables in the 80's/early 90's and they would survive all kinds of abuse. Now I wish I'd kept better care of them as the new ones don't seem to last as long, even if you do take care of them.

I'm a bit hesitant of brush pens for comics work. If you've seen some of Alex Toth's originals that were done in markers, some have just faded away or fuzzed out. The ink just can't be trusted to hold.

Another reason I've gone digital.

Randy Reynaldo said...

Thanks for your comments, Benton. A lot of pros have been complaining about the quality of brushes--and as you probably know, about the opaqueness of India inks too!

I used to use Penstix for panel borders, and their lines have definitely faded with time. It's a leap of faith, but I'm hoping that the new generation of brush pens use a better quality ink (probably wishful thinking!) But I do think I'm getting more spontaneous work out of them--as I said, I'm still depending on the brush, mostly for the outlines of figures and some props.

As to going digital--in a fashion so have I since all my original art gets scanned for Photoshop anyhow, so even if the originals fade a bit, I still have a the original scan!