Here is the almost completed splash of my comic. I have spent approximately 10 - 12 hours drawing, inking, laying Zip-A-Tone and correcting/refining it. Just need to do the tree branch and some minor corrections and add type.
I used a brush for everything except the Zip-A-Tone areas (patterned shading fill). I will do the tree limb with a China marker (grease pencil). This is not a very great scan. The actual size is 10" x 15" and won't fit on my scanner, so this is from a photocopy at 69%.
The challenges were many, but some things I think are helpful to know are:
- All waterproof, india or black ink will not give opaque and solid blacks. The reason is they stopped putting lead in it for obvious reasons. In order to get the ink to give you really nice and solid blacks, you need to let it sit out and sludge up a bit. After some time, mix it with any other ink and mix carefully. It did the trick for me. I have been experimenting with different inks and still am mixing a bunch of different one's together to get a good black (Dr. Martin's, Higgins Black Magic, Blick India Ink, FW...). When I find something that is worth sharing I'll post the recipe.
- Zip-A-Tone is extinct. They do not make it anymore (at least the brand name). It is patterned value fill to keep from having to do separations for the printing process. The back is adhesive or there is tranfer Zip that you lay down with a burnishing tool. The transfer stuff is really rare to find now, but I have some from my graphic design days and did the pine trees with layers of application. If you want the modern version, you have to go through the internet and oder it from Japan. It is a big thing in Manga art. I luckily stumbled on a large cache of Zip from the 1960's when searching through some old boxes at my grandmother's house. A friend of my uncle's left it 20+ years ago when he was in school in Colorado and won't miss it. It's a great technique to add and creates some really nice texture and values.
- Don't ever discount white out when inking. I prefer Pro White. It is dry and you add water and it gives a great opaque white that is easy to ink over and you need only apply it once for total coverage. Wite-Out pens are also very good and leave the surface workable for those very small areas. I used to just stop and start over when I flubbed an inking job, but with Pro White, I realized that just finishing an inked page is hard enough and you can repair any mistakes if necessary. I've seen inked pages by Frazetta, Eisner, Kirby... that all have some correction fluid applied. Even the best make mistakes. Don't give up. See it through and then make the necessary corrections.
Here is the page, I will post the finished page and the other 2 I am working on soon.