Still Figuring It Out: Year 50.

A guy wrote to me out of the blue yesterday and asked this: “I am trying to ink my artwork. I am using Bristol Board and Higgins black ink. unfortunately, it looks streaky and blotchy. Any tips?” What? No “Hello” or “Dear Mr. Powell”?? Oh well. The joke is on this guy anyway…because I still don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Not really, but, I AM still experimenting, trying to make my stuff better. I think any creative person should. What’s missing in this guy’s questions are the details!

Sure, you’re using a certain type of ink, a type of paper but…what are you doing? Do you erase a lot and screw up the surface of the paper? Are you rubbing the heel of your hand over everything as you go back to certain areas to ink? There are a million questions and the way to find answers is to keep at it. Sure, asking someone you respect is great, very good actually but there is only so much info that person can give you because, over the years that person has developed a million tricks and methods that work but are forgotten as the work is created. They just come so naturally that you forget you’re even doing it!

(Drawing on the Dining Room Table today, hence the protective pad)

Anyway, I strayed from my beloved dip pen and ink for a while because I wanted more mobility. I wanted to draw wherever I happened to be. This changed my work dramatically (in my eyes anyway) and I was constantly trying new pens that would help me achieve the look I wanted. So, it’s back to my Hunt 513 EF Globe Bowl Pointed nib and Speedball Superblack Ink. I am changing one thing though, now that I’m drawing 4-5 cartoons at a sitting: I’m waiting until the next set is done before I do any erasing. That way, I’m sure the ink is cured and I can look at the whole thing through new eyes before I take my precious pencil marks away!

Rich Powell

I'm an artist/illustrator residing in a small, North Carolina town. I worked for a few years as a conceptual artist and art director in the computer game industry but set off on my own to freelance. I currently do humorous illustration and cartoons for publications such as MAD Magazine and Highlights for Children.

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3 Responses

  1. Jack Hattaway says:

    Thanks for your answer to the writer. I have started using fountain pens again to illustration my stories for my grandchildren. Leaving the art work alone for a while to look over later is an excellent idea. As a elderly minister told me a few times, “Patience, Jack, patience.”

  2. Bill says:

    Who new there were so many nibs? Haven’t used them in years. I recall some having an additional piece of metal on the top; I guess that was to hold more ink?

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