A pica (ˈpaɪkə/)
The pika (ˈpaɪkə/ PY-kə; archaically spelled pica)
After flagging a new batch in the current sketchbook, tape up a new sheet of Bristol (Strathmore 300 or 400) with an approximate panel border penciled out to start arranging a simple, initial composition. Since I’m the one that'll be doing the inking, the preliminary design stays pretty loose (re: sloppy as opposed to “tight”): in theory most of the potential issues have been resolved at the thumbnail stage.
Juggling the elements, establishing fore/mid/background, focal points, plotting out foreshortening and linear perspective. Basic shapes are further refined, tweaking on the fly as I move around the panel, shifting the composition by expanding or contracting the original border as needed. Add detail and increasingly darker lines when areas become more fixed in place.
|"Think Before You Ink"|
Using my pencils (Derwent Graphic) as a general guideline, first the lettering + balloons with medium- and a fine-point pens (PITT and/or Micron), then a dip-pen (Hunt 513EF Globe & + Crow Quill) using permanent/waterproof black India ink (Winsor & Newton or Sennelier). Then a quick hit with the hairdryer (Vidal Sassoon Ionic 1875), enough to rule the panel border. Quick touch-up and it’s an overnight dry. Move on to another panel in the meantime.
Finish: Erase (Staedler Mars plastic) and scan as a grayscale, save as a TIF, open in Photoshop, threshold and cleanup + final corrections. Add value digitally, export as a JPG and email to editor/client + post web version. Archive master file + back up drive on external storage. Treat original pen & ink drawing with washes or colored pencil and archive for sale. Total time = approximately one hour, twice that if a complex, detailed composition + color, less if I’m in a hurry (or behind).