Inktober contest winner is…

Someone has to win..

I’ve been avoiding announcing the winner of the Inktober inking contest for a reason.  I have been having trouble picking a winner.  I hadn’t counted on anyone actually being that interested, so I never defined what makes one effort of inking better than another.  That is an arguable point anyway.  Most pros will agree that inking is what gives the pencils life, depth, mood.  On the other hand, strictly professionally speaking, the inks are in fact “tracing” despite what that dumbass movie by Captain long shorts leads one to believe.  Only the f*cking 90’s could turn that goofball into a “celebrity”.  It was the rise of genX into the pop culture, and we were drunk with power.  On behalf of us all I apologize.

…oh, did I trail off there?  As I was saying, the inker’s job, in the strict professional definition, is to put ink over the pencils.  It’s not really his/her job to interpret anything or put their own “spin” on it (Modifying lines, thickening lines ect.) By definition, the inker’s job is to make the pencil lines black.  That has evolved over the years and depending on the company, the penciler, the inker…more leeway is given.

For example…you have a pencil drawing of a rock…as drawn, it is just a smooth rock.  The inker can simply ink it as a smooth rock, change the line quality to make it rough, add texture, make the line thicker to bring it more into the foreground, make the line thinner to push it into the background…there’s all sorts of stuff you can do to just a single pencil line of a rock…or just do what the job calls for and ink the rock smooth and not give any interpretation beyond what the penciler put onto the paper.

It’s a tricky situation because there may be a reason the rock was smooth…and rough jagged cracked rock gives a different mood than a smooth rock.  It can also subtly imply an amount of time.  A smooth rock on the ground at the feet of the Hulk fighting Thor is simply what is on the ground.  A jagged rock at their feet while fighting can imply they were breaking things while fighting and the rock is debris they caused during the battle.   Little things like that over the course of an entire page can have a fair difference in how the reader perceives the story.  Not to mention shading and how that affects the mood.

So it’s a whole mess and back in the day the inker’s job was simply to ink the f*cking pencil lines and don’t add anything because you are just as likely to screw up the whole mood, as add anything.

Like I said, times change and depending on the project and who is involved and the level of communication, you might have an inker with free rein to do a job that dramatically changes the soul of the pencils.

To ME…when I am inking my stuff…the purpose of the inking is to add depth and life to the pencils.  or more often that not, try not to ruin the charm the pencils had in the first place.  Capturing the spirit of the pencils I guess it the best way to say it.

Here’ the contestants and what they used to ink…then I’ll announce the “winner”

(the samples they we given to choose from are here)

fangs_smallZejan- Used the Kuretake #13 brush pen.

inktoberdanroyerDecapitated Dan Royer –Used a millennium .03 tip pen

 inkcarlosCarlos Rivera- used a Micron 01 and 05,prisma color black,and a pigma graphic 1

inkkelly Kelly McGuire- used Micron 005 and 01 pens, along with a Copic F01 drawing pen.


Tim Mueller -Used a Faber-Castell small brush pen.

 inklarryLance Ward-used a sharpie pen, a Flair felt tip pen, and a Pentel pocket brush.

laundramat-hell-arseniclul01Jamie Hickson- Used a hunt 102 crow quill

I’d like to add here that Jamie is a madman to try to ink an entire illustration with a crowquill.  In case you don’t know what that is…here is a picture-


It is a sharp, pointy, stiff, dip pen that drags into to paper. flexes very little and gives you the finger when you try to make a curved like.  Madness.

So, those are the entries. How am I supposed to pick from those?   If I ever do this again I’m having someone else judge.  They were close enough that on another day under the influence of a different kind of coffee the winner might have been different. They are all very good for different reasons, even Dan’s.  Dan’s might be the least skilled of the entries but it has a lot of charm. The fly in the ointment of Dan’s is inconstancy. The vampire is done in fairly smooth lines but the ships lines as very shaky.  If it was all shaky or all smooth it would have captured the imagination better.  The inconstancy keeps the mind from forgetting it is looking at an illustration, keeps the imagination from getting hooked in.  Style, as I have said before, is just doing something wrong constantly.  On the other hand, Lance’s is very consistent and stylized but to the point his style has overtaken the original pencils.  It is very well done but, for the sake of an inking contest, strays from the point just a bit.

To my humble opinion…there are two possibilities. Kelly’s is by a hair the most skilled, but Tim’s to me has the most charm.  When I’m looking a the ink’s they have to make me feel like I’m looking at something going on and not looking at a great illustration of something going on.  Read that again til you get my meaning .   You can sometimes put so much work/skill into something that all people notice is the skill and thus the illustration speaks to a different part of their brain than their imagination.  The thing you want in people minds when they look at an illustration for a story is not so much “wow that’s good!” but “what’s going on here? what’s going to happen?” Those two entries have that un-quantifiable element the most.

Kelly’s is the clear winner of the two…and yet…Tim’s has all the rough charm that my work used to have and as I look at it, I really want to see what happens next.

Here’s what I’m gonna do. First prize- the Windsor newton Series 7 no.0 brush will go to Kelly. Tim, is also going to get a Windsor newton Brush, but since our prize budget for the year is empty, he’s going to get one of my used ones.

Thanks to everyone else, You did some fantastic work…I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t mean that ( see every other blog I’ve ever written as evidence that I have no problem telling people they suck).  Carlos and Zejan will get prints, and you all get a gift certificate to the A.L. Online store. ( I’ll message you the code.)


Bookmark the permalink.

One Comment

  1. Great entries!! And I love Tim’s prize!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Archives