Monday, January 24, 2011

Eagle Inks

Inks for a eagle for one of the illustrations I'm doing for Cricket magazine, to be incorporated into the larger image.

You may notice I fixed the tail from the original version, which was too small, too perfect and didn't have enough tail feathers. I also slimmed him up a little because he was looking a little overfed, and he's supposed to be starving, or at least, underfed.

I big hunk of the tail and top wing are to be cropped out, so I didn't ink those parts. It's been my habit these days to draw and ink every figure or animal and often the complete background and compose the image later, but it occurred to me that this isn't the most efficient way to work. I still draw everything out, but I compose the pencil drawings on photoshop and then print out in blueline just what I need to ink for the image. More or less. I still probably render a little more of the image than I need to. Inking is one of the most satisfying parts of the process, so sometimes I guess I overdo it. Hoping to finish up the inking today and start the coloring tomorrow.

Inking Technique

Lately I've been doing more and more feathering in my work--those long tapering brush lines--in an attempt to add more body and volume to my renderings, but I've been finding black and white line art rendering like this limiting. I just don't get that full tonal richness than you see in real painting. This is why I'm thinking of bringing some of the dry brush technique from my bug paintings into my renderings in the future to get a richer painted look, particularly what I was doing with this last elephant beetle. Not for everything--I still like the look of a good black and white rendering--but for some things.

I've not done fully painted work in recent years because I was resigned to the idea that line art was my strength, and that I couldn't compete with more accomplished painters, all the while developing this drybrush style in my personal work, which I just didn't consider painting. So without thinking about it, I've been painting all along. So I'm thinking maybe the two can come together more, especially since I discovered what I can do with acrylic ink. But that will have to wait till the next piece.


  1. Looks awesome. The changes are all good ones.

  2. Thanks Mónico! I'm just putting the whole business together right now.