Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wednesday... Don't forget about EL DIABLO- and INKING, with Jerry Ordway!

First off, I need to remind everyone to check out my new comic with Jai Nitz and Phil Hester. El Diablo ships at the beginning of September, from DC. It reads great, looks great, and features a demon-dude on a horse. C'mon... you gonna pass that up?! Here's a li'l sample.

Now, on to today's art scan. I thought I'd talk about the job of inking today, and I have an great example of someone doing it really well. I may show off my own humble skills someday but, for now, I'm sticking with real talents. There are a few modern inkers who I will check out each and every time I see some of their work on the shelf: Klaus Janson, Kevin Nowlan, Jerry Ordway, Bill Reinhold, and Jesse Delperdang come to mind immediately. Today, I want to talk about Ordway.

Jerry is, of course, a fantastic all-around artist. He also happens to be one of the very best when it comes to inking someone else's work. Today's sample pairs Jerry with a great, underrated artist, Curt Swan. I know I may be in the vast minority, but Jerry is my favorite finisher over Swan's work. I think he infuses Swan's work with a freshness that no one else manages. I have tons of respect for Murphy Anderson, but Jerry's work over Swan seems more alive to my eye.

I met Swan back in the late '80s, at a small show in Kansas City. At the time, I was collecting Batman sketches, so I commissioned one from Curt (who was, by the way, one of the more gracious gentlemen I've ever met in this business). Yeah, I know... one of the most famous Superman artists of all time, and I get a Batman sketch. What Can I say? I was young! At least I didn't blow it as badly as the guy in front of me. He commissioned a sketch of the Starship Enterprise.

So, Curt did a very nice drawing of Batman for me. It's a stock pose, and probably not particularly inspired, but it's nice, and it captures that innocent superhero spirit like only Curt could. Curt drew this piece on some kind of heavy vellum, and over the years the drawing got a little smudged and dirty. Finally, I decided that it would be nice to have an inked version of the piece... something more permanent that I could display without fear of harming the original. Thankfully, I had sense enough not to ink it myself. Instead, I went to Ordway, who I had gotten to know a little by this time. Jerry kindly agreed, and the results are below.

So, back to the job of inking. I won't go into too much depth here and now. I've rambled too much already. What I really want to say today is that a great inker does just what Jerry has done here. He enriches the piece, adds a little of his own voice, but retains the vision of the penciller. Jerry certainly changes this drawing... adds to it, but he does not overwhelm it. Curt Swan is still there. Jerry has simply polished him up a bit.

Oh, I should also mention that Jerry was kind enough to ink this piece over a copy of the pencils on a lightbox. Thus, I now own both the untouched Swan pencils and the Ordway inks. Perfection!

Okay... enough of my spouting. Enjoy the genius, and come back for more tomorrow!


BATMAN is owned by DC Comics and/or Warner Brothers. You know that by now, right?


natalie said...

That's a great Swan/Ordway story.

I wish I knew someone who could have told me about the El Diablo comic sooner :)

Ande Parks said...

Waitaminnit... an allegedly good friend of mine fails to scour each and every page of Previews, looking for my name, and I'm the asshole?!


collin_kc78 said...

One of the many things I love about Ordway on this piece (and others) is he never short-changes the piece. Every little part is given respect and detail (check out the rope and batarang). I remember Curt doing World's Finest in the 1960's and enjoyed his Batman there. Thanks for sharing, Anj.

Anonymous said...

quick question about the el diablo panel...when you speckle white over a pre-inked page like that, what exactly goes into the process? i remember watching you do it one of the times i was over helping, i think, but have totally forgotton your method. i am assuming it involves some sort of masking and an old brush, but could you detail it for me? and the type of white ink you are working with?