Inking and line

I've been working on a poster for my Illustration class, for the Brooklyn Book Festival in 2010. I unfortunately don't have a scan to post, but I want to write a little about inking and line.

I don't really have a settled method for inking, but I do know that having everything look stiff in the final makes me crazy, so for this poster I tried to get all the real drawing done in the inking. I did a really rough sketch just so I would know where everything was, then went over the general shapes at a lightbox and used the original rough sketch for guidance.

In inking, I did the foreground characters first with a thin marker point. I wanted them to be attention getting, much moreso than the background. Tonight I went over the lines I already inked, selectively thickening them and adding detail, on the theory that it would make them stand out more and be more interesting to look at.

Then I went over the background, using a thin, unvarying line.

I originally thought it would be better in general to have a bright foreground over a greyish background...I think it comes from my days reading MAD, where very often the backgrounds were a gray ink wash. However, after poring over old cartoon stills and Frank, I think I'm much better off with dark foreground figures on light background. They pop out more. They don't even have to be black, though areas of black are really attention-grabbing, especially if they surround white areas like mouth or eyes or hands.

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