All posts by Tim Thiessen

04May/21

Silverline Is In Your House!

Literally all of us, every single Silverliner is in your house right now! That’s a lot of people, you may have to check with your fire marshal if you have the square footage.

Okay, maybe we are not literally in your house, but we can be metaphorically! Did you know that Silverline has not just one but two weekly shows that are broadcast live on Facebook, Twitch, and Youtube! We also have started turning those shows into an easy-to-consume podcast that you can listen to on the go!

That’s right, we’re in your house and your car!

, , , You can’t escape the Silverline. No one escapes the Silverline.

What does all this mean for you, receiving this newsletter in your email, or checking out this blog post on the site of your favorite indie comics publisher? It means that you have unlimited access to untold hours’ worth of comics and nerd culture content.

Spend your commute on Monday listening to the crew of Wednesday Wham put their degrees to work and dig into the craft of writing, art, and making killer comics. Spend your Sunday evening relaxing with an iced tea watching the Silver Sunday team as they flex their cultural knowledge and dig deep into comics history. Or vice versa!

What I recommend is having Silverline content on 24/7. Listen to us while you drive, work, and exercise. Watch our shows while you decompress in the evening and on the weekend. Read Silverline comics before you go to bed every night. Dream of Silverline and our immortal comics wisdom. Let us grant you eldritch knowledge of all things nerdy.

I have been told by my editor that the last line may have been too much.

However you like it, there is plenty of Silverline content out there for you to enjoy, and a ton of ways for you to make thine Silverline.

13Apr/21

Craft: AJ Cassetta – Creating the World

Hey Silverline Family! This month, nepotism won out. Our featured creator is none other than AJ Cassetta, the fantastic artist providing pencil work for my own book Wolf Hunter. He talks about a part of the craft that not many artists may think about. He provides a lesson in world building using an anecdote about his personal experience working on Wolf Hunter. Love ya, man!

Creating the World

One of the most vital requirements of an illustrator working in comics is the ability to successfully create the world in which the characters will exist. In some genres, such as science fiction and fantasy, there is the necessity of crafting elements that are imaginary; time machines, laser pistols, dragons, and goblins can be forged solely from the artist’s mind. However, when an artist is tasked with illustrating a story based on real-world events and actual locations, they must hold themselves to the highest standard of authentic recreation, particularly if it is a story based on historical events.

In this case, the artist is confronted with the task of research, and a lot of it, if they wish their work to be believable, accurate, and true. For some artists, doing copious amounts of research and reference gathering on a subject can be as arduous as studying for a physics exam, but, for others, there is a special kind of joy in breaking a subject down into smaller and smaller parts, examining them, and putting them back together to create a work of art. I find myself in the latter category, as throughout my career to date I have held several jobs that demanded complete accuracy to real-world objects, vehicles, people, and locations, and I have loved every second of it.

Take for example the subject of airplanes, something I had little to no experience drawing when I began working on Wolf Hunter. My writer was thoughtful enough to provide me with great written specifics on the make, model, and year of the planes that would be used. What’s more, he gave me photographic references as well, which helped to get a general idea of what I would be doing. These, however, were not enough. In order to draw the fighter planes as they exist in reality, I spent hours looking at different images of planes and discerning what would be useful, and what would be merely another picture flipped past as I scoured for good material. As I was nearing the end of the research process I noticed something. It still wasn’t enough. For as many still images of planes that I had collected and burned into my brain, I was continuing to have trouble visualizing them from every possible angle. To remedy this, I opened up Zbrush (a digital sculpting program) and went about sculpting the planes so I could position them in the exact pose I needed for whatever drawing I may have been working on.

There are probably many artists who work in the same way I do when it comes to research, and it has worked for me as I’m sure it works for them. However, spending all the late nights collecting reference material and making sculptures of what I will be drawing has its enemy, time. In this industry, time is everything. For this particular project, I had the luxury of lots of time which gave me wonderful breathing room to focus. There have been other jobs, however, where the turnaround time for drawings was literally hours at most, and the comfortability of time was absent. I enjoyed both equally, and for different reasons, the jobs with strict deadlines provided an exciting challenge, and the work done with almost no deadline gave me time to look over my work, again and again, to make sure everything was perfect. Whatever the case of time may be, creating a realistic setting for the characters I am working with is the most fun part of the process for me, and using all the tools and time I have available to give that extra sense of life to their world is incredibly rewarding once all the drawing is done and I know it has been done right.

23Mar/21

Craft: Haley Martin – Balancing Act

Hey there Silverline Family! I got a hold of Haley Martin who is something of an auteur. You can really see this with her ongoing comic Heroic Shenanigans. She does everything. For a lot of people looking to get into comics, this is the natural way to get your first story/book done and out there. Haley was gracious enough to share some tips on how to look past the daunting work and keep your eyes on the goal as a creator. Hopefully, after this, you feel like you have a bit more of an idea of how you can bring your passion to life.

Balancing Act – Managing Different Parts of the Creative Process


I dove headfirst into comics by making my own from scratch: writing the story, designing the characters, and sketching, inking, and coloring the pages. It’s a lot of work for one person! I’ve since experienced how much quicker and more streamlined the comic-making process can be when working on a team, but if you’re like me and enjoy having your hand in every step of your passion project, there are ways to speed up the process and keep yourself organized.

Have a checklist and a schedule, but be flexible. When I sit down to work on one of my comics, especially if it’s been a while, I can feel overwhelmed by how much work stands between me and a completed page. That’s when an organizational tool like this spreadsheet from comic artist Michael Regina is very helpful. Just plug in how many pages are in your comic and all the steps that are needed to complete a page (thumbs, inks, flats, etc) and then update the spreadsheet when you finish a task. It’s really satisfying to see that percentage go up and give you an idea of how close you are to completion. If you’re working on a large graphic novel project it may be helpful to break it down into chapters/issues rather than tackling a whole 200+ page book at once.


If you’re working as part of a team, the inker generally needs to be completely finished with a page before the colorist can start their job. But if you’re doing all those jobs yourself, you have the freedom to jump around. For example, I might be struggling with the sketch of a particular panel and need to look at it later with fresh eyes, but another panel on the same page might be ready for inks. So I’d start on that one before the pencils of the whole page are technically done. As long as the comic gets done and done well, it doesn’t matter if you do the steps a little “out of order”.

However, you don’t want to go so crazy with it that you get confused and forget steps. And you don’t want to finish all of your favorite parts of the process and then leave yourself with a full workday of only the tasks you don’t enjoy as much. As one of my college drawing professors said, “leave yourself a candy bar”. Save a part of the process you know you’ll enjoy as a reward for completing one of the less fun parts.

I know I’ve advocated “jumping around”, but you don’t want to do that all the time. You’ll get more done at a faster pace if you let yourself get into the zone. You’ve no doubt heard how important it is to warm up. If my first sketches of the day are frustrating, I’ll try to push through because I know my hand needs time to warm up. Next thing I know, an hour or two has passed and I’ve sketched more panels than I planned because I got on a roll.

The last thing I want to mention to help you juggle your different comic-making tasks is to set up a schedule. That spreadsheet I mentioned earlier can help you see how many steps you need to get done, and I would advise taking it a step further and outlining when you plan to work on each step. Schedule your work out so that you’ll be able to get the project done within your deadlines, but also leave some wiggle room. Life happens, so I find it better to give myself a range for when a task should be completed rather than a hard-and-fast I need to work on this specific task on this specific day. For example, I could schedule myself to ink page 12 on Monday and page 13 on Tuesday, or I could say I’m going to spend Monday and Tuesday inking pages 12-13. What’s the difference? Say I end up having more time on Tuesday than Monday, so I only ink half of a page on Monday but ink a page and a half on Tuesday. All the work gets done in the allotted time, but I can be more flexible about when it gets done within the time frame.

Remember, all this is just the advice of one artist, and you should do what works best for you. But I believe that once you have a system in place, your projects won’t be nearly as daunting and you’ll be finishing pages before you know it!

23Feb/21

Silverline Community Highlight

Hey Silverline Family. It’s a new year, and a new us, so we figured we’d give this concept a test drive. The one thing that allows us to be comic creators and comic pros, is you, the comic reader! What is special about where Silverline is now is that a lot of our readers are creators in their own right. This has allowed us to create a unique and truly amazing community. 

Whether you just enjoy our new releases, interact with our social media, follow our blog for tips on how to better make your own comics, or catch our live-casts, we appreciate you. We figured we could show some of how much we appreciate you guys by highlighting some members of our community who shared their comments with us. 

If you want the chance to have your comment highlighted, just post it! Whether on our blog, our Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, one of us will see it. If it stands out for whatever reason, you have a chance of being featured. 

All the featured comments today were taken off the live-casts on Facebook. They’ll probably be more varied in the future but we figured this was a good place to start. So here’s what you said:

Rob Davis: “>turning down my hearing aid<” 

Wednesday WHAM! producer Tim T.K. has a unique and loud method for introducing the show. Utilizing years of musical theatre, and punk band experience, Tim delivers a sonic experience that is sure to take a few hours off your lifespan. (I’m sorry . . . okay, I’m not sorry.)

Quinton J. Bedwell: “Yes… It’s time for a new system. CRT screens are outdated Roland”

Recently, the Silverline family got together on Silver Sunday as they surprised EIC Roland Mann with the means to get a new computer after his old system went out to pasture. This comment is great because it commemorates this awesome gesture and also points out that our EIC is, in fact, not the youngest member of the team. (Don’t fire me)

Ovin Armando Reyes: “I really loved infamous 2 it was my first platinum trophy”

Ovin is a Silverliner since the before-times! It was great to have him in the conversation on the week we were discussing video games. Achievement hunting is not something every gamer does. It requires commitment, and to platinum a game, you have to hunt every single achievement in a game. The first time you platinum or 100% a game, it’s a special feeling that you want to celebrate. It’s also great to hear how a piece of media brought Ovin so much joy because that is ultimately what we want our comics to do for someone. 

Kasisi D. Harris: “Ergokinesis”

This comment got picked for a weird and personal reason. When the Wednesday WHAM! crew was discussing the best superpowers, Kasisi brought up Ergokinesis. Which is a great power, the ability to manipulate raw energy. Elemental, cosmic, electrical, what have you. Energy manipulation is a classic. However, I (Tim T.K.), had a brief moment where I thought it was related to Ergonomics. You know, like office chairs. I had nearly fallen out of my seat with laughter, as I imagined a hero whose power allowed them to make any surface good for their joint and back health. 

Patrick Lugo: “In the 80’s John Byrne claimed Superman’s powers were all subconscious telekinesis.”

This one just blew my mind. Thinking of Supe’s powers as subconscious telekinesis makes so much sense and yet I can’t wrap my head around it. Superman has such a wide array of powers, but telekinesis could explain them all and yet it almost feels too simple. Although I suppose, he has superstrength, eyebeams, and flight because of the sun is also a bit too clean when you think about it. The question is, is that preferable over muddying the waters with fifty-thousand types of kryptonite.

I hope you guys liked having the spotlight on you for a second. Let us know, should we keep doing these, try something else, stick to the classics? Who knows your comment might just be featured next time.  

16Feb/21

Title Spotlight: Switchblade

The core mantra of boxers is fists up, chin down, and knives out. Well, at least it is for Scott Nathans, boxer by day, and vigilante by night. Scott is the man known as Switchblade, a defender of the defenseless in New Orleans and the eponymous character of the Switchblade comic.

With the recent launch of Switchblade Remix, this is a great time to add it to your wish list.



Switchblade is a classic vigilante origin story but with a splash of sports drama that ties into the core plot. Just because Scott Nathans has picked up the hobby of giving villains a gruesome end doesn’t mean he’s given up his life as a boxer, or the rivalries that come with it.

We’re first introduced to Scott Nathans in an action-packed opening as he hunts down two child predators that the jury let off. That’s also when we first see Scott use his infamous switchblade. The weapon that earned him his name.

Of course, vigilante justice is a crime itself. Enter detectives Rob and Sid. The two were tasked with finding Switchblade and bringing him to heel. The citizens of New Orleans, however, are grateful for the speedy removal of the scum terrorizing their city. The detectives are without any leads and there never seem to be any witnesses. Their job gets more confounded once dismembered bodies start popping up. These aren’t clean kills with a blade, and they don’t have criminal records. The m.o. doesn’t match Switchblade and that last thing the police want is two killers out in the city.



Scott’s life as a boxer also gets more interesting when a mysterious and skilled boxer starts training at the same gym as him. The gym’s owner, Simon, is essentially Scott’s adoptive father so he’s unlikely to pass the limelight onto this new fighter. After a few sparring matches, this new fighter, Don, gives the impression that he may be the strongest fighter there. After he brutalizes a few of the other boxers and shares some smack talk with Scott, a rivalry begins to form. One that transcends just the ring.

It’s not long after Scott’s first kills that detectives Rob and Sid receive a report of a missing fourteen-year-old boy. At the same, the butchered bodies send ripples through the ranks at Simon’s gym causing a stir among the longtime members and Don, the new arrival. As these events unfold, Scott, Don, and the detectives all set on a collision course with each other, that is sure to end with someone dead.

What stands out in Switchblade is that drama unfolds both in the world of masked crusaders at the same as in the ring and the way it ties together. As Switchblade, Scott tries to uncover the recent killings and child abductions. As himself, Scott develops enters into a rivalry with Don to prove he can’t come in and pick on the other boxers. When the predator’s identity is revealed both stories intertwine in a way that leads to a unique fusion of sports-drama and comic hero action.



Another element that gets explored rather well throughout is the moral dilemma faced by the detectives. They know that a person cannot take the law into their own hands and kill criminals who get off easy, but also that the system allows for those criminals to get off even after their wrongdoing is universally acknowledged. Rob and Sid are forced to confront their own beliefs on if the system of Switchblade is doing more good for the city.

If you like vigilantes heroes, boxing, and seeing the two be put together in a way that makes both integral to the story this is the book for you. Switchblade is a classic brawling hero but exploring the heart and skill required to be a good fighter.

Switchblade was written by Roland Mann who needs no qualifiers. Known for Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails, Trumps, Krey, a laundry list of more titles, running Silverline, and inspiring students.

Leonard Kirk penciled Switchblade (1-2). Leonard is known for such titles as Planet of the Apes, Galaxina, Dinosaurs for Hire, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Chuck Bordell also provided art for Switchblade (1-3). Chuck’s work can also be seen in Sirens, Marauder, and Silverstorm.

David Rowe provided inks.

Brad Thomte lettered the series. He is also known for lettering Scarybook, Marauder, and Silverstorm.




09Feb/21

Craft: Aaron Humphres – Sketchy Technique

In my comic book Godlings, I have developed a different way to illustrate my pages from other comics. This is not so much in the style of art per se, but the technique I do to develop the final look of the page. I wanted the pages in my comic book to look old like they are from an ancient tome. I also wanted the look of the book to be somewhat sketchy like someone was drawing the story as you were reading. I got the idea from watching the old 101 Dalmatians animated movie. In the movie the outlines of the characters were sketchy, and they would purposefully leave in underdrawings in certain scenes. I thought that style would work for my comic. I decided to have the final art in my comic book be in pencil only, with no ink applied.

In order to do this, I went about developing a certain method of production for my comic pages. Over the years I have been drawing my pages on card stock and not Bristol board. For one thing, my book was going to be 300 pages when finished and I wanted to have enough paper on hand. I bought a ream of 11” x 17” cardstock from Kinkos. It cost me 17 dollars and should cover all the pages in my book. Card stock also has a different texture than Bristol and my pencil lines tend to be initially darker. I use a cardboard backing from an old drawing tablet to draw the pages on. The cardboard is soft enough that when I draw on top of it, it helps the pencil lines sink into the paper better. I start my pages as loose sketches and darken the lines I want to keep with a mechanical pencil.

Now that I have my pages all drawn in, I photocopy them at my local copy place. The first reason is that I need to shrink the 11” x 17” page down to 8” x 11” to fit my scanner bed. The second reason is that the machine will take my pencil lines and reproduce them in black. I also adjust the dark levels in the copy parameters by two notches towards dark. This darkens the lines in the photocopy just enough to where I like them.

I then scan the photocopies into Photoshop and adjust the levels. I usually darken the scan to the midway point in the levels panel. This gives me a nice dark line in the drawing and keeps some of the light underdrawings as well. This creates the sketchy look I want while making the art clear to the readers. From there I color my pages.

26Jan/21

Craft: John Martin – Inking Lines

Hello everyone, I’m John Martin and I’m the inker on Friar Rush and Wolf Hunter for Silverline comics. Now, in my opinion, it’s easier to show than tell you about inking but I’ll give it my best. When it comes to inking the most important thing to keep in mind is the line. It’s the one thing that can make or break a page or cover. As an inker, it is the one aspect of the page that you have to bend and manipulate to make the pencils shine even more and become the finished product ready for color and print.

Now, having a healthy variation on line width is what you use to imply several things like depth, weight, light, and shadow. Heavy lines are used close and in the foreground, then they become lighter the further you go into the background. Outlines of characters, objects, buildings, etc. should always by a heavier line than the lines used inside them. For example, if you outline a person the lines should become thinner on the interior of it for all the normal details (eyes, nose, mouth, etc), then even thinner for the rendering of shadows.

If you weren’t using blacks for shadows you would then not only use the weight of the line for indicating distance but also where the shadows would be. The heavier line will be where the shadow is on the figure or object and of course, the lighter would be the indication of the light source.

Now, when you are using line weight for both depth and to help indicate a light source it can get a little tricky so you as the inker have to make the best decision based on what the focal point is in the panel/cover. These decisions are why no two inkers ink the same page the same way. A perfect example of happens during the Inkwell Awards, when they pick inkers to ink a piece to put up for auction.

In closing, lines are the biggest thing needed to bring a page/cover to its full potential and the most important thing for an inker to keep in mind and practice daily. So, get out there and start making a mess and laying some ink lines down. I know I am.


12Jan/21

Creator Diary: Switchblade #1 and Teen Beetle #1

Hey Silverline Family!

If you’ve been following any of our socials for the past week, you’d know we announced two new books going up on Kickstarter soon! Switchblade #1 and Teen Beetle #1 will both be available for preorder starting January 14th. Remember when our books go to Kickstarter, they’re already done. You’re just preordering your copy, and telling us directly that you want to see more of it before it goes to the digital storefront.

Follow this link to be notified as soon as they go live!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/teenbeetle1switchblade1

As the resident Blog-Dude, I thought it might be kind of cool to talk to some of the creators involved with the upcoming releases. Unfortunately, due to some at-home circumstances, I couldn’t reach out to everyone involved. With future iterations of this Creator’s Diary, I would like to give as many creators as possible a chance to talk directly to the readers.


I did manage to grab snippets from the writers of each project and the colorist of Switchblade.

First Up (Because he is my boss), Roland Mann, Writer on Switchblade:

“I’m a huge fan of black and white art, but I know a lot of fans prefer color. I’ll admit, seeing Switchblade in color really helps bring the characters to life. The RemiX has a crisp cleanness that the original version didn’t have. It’s exciting.”

Aiden Belcher, Colorist on Switchblade:

“Switchblade is the book that you should pick up if you love comics. I could tell that the very first time I saw it. Every page is filled with realistic, gritty, street-level vigilante action that I thankfully had the pleasure of coloring. I appreciate the chance that Roland Mann gave me in working on this project. Everyone should be on the lookout for this one, it’s a good showcase of what comics does best.”

KS exclusive cover by Ben Dunn


And for Teen Beetle, Writer John Crowther:

“John on Teen Beetle: What I enjoyed the most about working on Teen Beetle, was being able to reunite with artist Dell Barras. Dell was one of my favorite artists as a child, from his work on Blue Beetle and Death’s Head, and he was the artist on my first two comic series for Antarctic Press — Rochelle and Turnbuckle Titans: Nikolai Volkoff. I believe that Dell fully captures the stories I am trying to tell in his art and I feel readers will truly enjoy our chemistry in the Teen Beetle series.”

We hope you’re as excited for these books as we are! Remember January 21st, of 2021, we’re kicking the year off with some kick-butt comics!


15Dec/20

Our Must Watch Holiday Movies (And Other Things)!

Hello Silverline Best Friends,

It’s the Holidays once more, but this time it’s a little more special. This year you get to spend the season with us! Seriously, you’re trapped in here with us. Don’t bother looking for the door, we already tried. 

We figured that while Silverline comics are must-read material all year round, there are some pieces of media that are unique to the Holidays. 

Every family and truly every person has their own unique traditions when it comes to celebrating. But here, we are all nerds and that means we watch a lot of movies and read a lot of books. So, I asked the team to share some of their favorite Christmas content and what we will be watching/reading/listening to this month, and what we recommend! 

I’ll list everyone’s answer and what medium in case there is anything you need to add to your list, dear reader.

Since I am very much not neurotic, I’ll go first.

Tim T.K. – Nightmare Before Christmas (Movie), August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin Hill (Album) 

I was pleased I wasn’t the only one to say Nightmare. In my mind, it is the perfect movie for the last quarter of the year, and watch it at least once at Halloween and again at Christmas. I am also a headbanger with an undying love for metalcore. Traditional Christmas music usually puts me in tears, but ABR did a killer album that shreds. 

Now, simply in order of who got back to me first. The Holiday Picks of Silverline Comics.

Mickey Clausen – Die Hard (Movie)

Mickey is a self-proclaimed Scrooge and didn’t celebrate too much growing up or now. While I’m not one to judge how people choose to celebrate the holidays, I will say that if you’re watching Die Hard, you’re doing it right. 

Aaron Humphres – Charlie Brown Christmas (Movie)

Aaron gave us a classic that is shared by many others on the list. I haven’t seen it in years, but it might be worth a rewatch.

Haley Martin – Charlie Brown Christmas (Movie), Elf (Movie)

Haley provided us a picture of her OG Charlie Brown VHS which is wicked rad. She included a photo so we can admire the nostalgia factor! Elf is also hysterical and definitely something everyone needs to see at least once. 

Mike W Belcher – Miracle of 34th Street (Movie), Trouble in Paradise (Movie)

Mike came in with some classics, and also some strong feelings. When it comes to Miracle, Mike says it’s the OG Bb lack and white or it doesn’t count.

Kurtis Fujita – A Christmas Story (Movie)

Kurtis gave us another classic which reminds me to warn all of you to not shoot your eye out this Holiday Season. 

Roland Mann – Twas the Night Before Christmas (Book), The Santa Claus, It’s a Wonderful Life (Movie), and Miracle on 34th Street (Movie)

Roland has quite a few traditions. His family reads Twas the Night Before Christmas and watches a couple of movies. His Immediate family watches the Santa Clause and his extended family watches It’s a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th but the colored version due to complaints from the kids. I assume the kids aren’t welcome at Mike’s.

Roberta Conroy – Nightmare Before Christmas (Movie), The Year Without Santa Clause (Movie), and Charlie Brown Christmas (Movie)

Roberta gave us three different movies. Nightmare made me happy, of course, but you can’t go wrong with The Year Without Santa Clause, and another vote for Charlie Brown.

A.J. Cassetta – Christmas Vacation (Movie) 

A.J. watches Christmas Vacation which for a lot of us is the movie that made us fall in love with Chevy Chase. A must watch to be sure.

Wubba Fett – Nightmare Before Christmas(Movie)

Wubba is a man after my own heart and says that Nightmare is a must in his house.

Adelia Gunderson – The Santa Clause 1,2,3(Movie)

Adelia likes to keep her house on brand during the Holidays. As she was growing up her family watched The Santa Clause every year and added on the sequels as they came out.

Well, that’s all from us! Tell us in the comments what you like to watch, read, or listen to during the Holiday Season? 

08Dec/20

Craft: Tommy Florimonte – Teaching Myself The Craft

Hello and Happy Holidays Silverline Family! I had the pleasure of asking Tommy Florimonte what I think may be one of the most important questions I’ve asked so far on this series. I asked him how he taught himself the craft of making comic books. This is incredibly important because, for many people, the ability to take a specialized course on making comic books is simply not in the cards. But that shouldn’t count out their passion.

Not only has Tommy been an inker with Silverline, but he is the co-owner of Ka-Blam (a comic printing service), and he has written and sold his own series for children. I would say that as a self-taught comic creator, Tommy is more successful than some classically trained artists and writers. It is my hope that the following entry in our Craft series encourages you to pursue and learn how to make comics if you have the passion regardless of what traditional options lay in front of you.

Teaching Myself The Craft

I’m an inker. So what does that mean? Essentially, my job is to take a drawing that someone else has done and make it print-ready. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Can’t you just redraw/trace what the penciler has already drawn out? Sure, you can do that. But the inker’s job is more than that. The inker’s job is to make it better. Inkers are sometimes called embellishers. Embellish means to make something more attractive. Better. The inker should ADD something to the process. To my mind, the goal as “The Inker”  is to do everything possible, using all the inking tricks I have learned, all the skills I have picked up, use all the techniques available (another subject) to make those pencils look Really Cool!…  To make them ROCK!!!

So how do you do that?

I was already finishing college in a subject different from “ART” when I got the bug to try my hand at being a comic artist. While I’ve always been able to draw naturally, not professionally, of course, I had no real “art training” and I certainly didn’t like the idea of adding more “COLLEGE” to take drawing classes. Why would I? I could already draw. How foolish I was. So- What do I do? I needed to find people that were doing what I wanted to accomplish and ask lots and lots of questions. 

Well, luckily for me, I had a few friends doing just that: Starting their comic careers. So the answer to “What do you do?”: In the beginning, you learn from everybody. I studied inkers I liked. And inkers that I didn’t. Do your research and practice every spare moment. Show your stuff around. Get advice from everybody. Take it all in and decide what works, and even try the stuff that doesn’t — just to be sure. I felt everything was helpful. I took a deep dive into what makes a strong inker and took notes on what I needed to accomplish to become one.

I decided in the beginning, I wanted to be known as an inker that provided a “Bold” “Dynamic” “Clean” ink line that also stayed true to the penciler’s drawings. And to get the line I was wanting, I decided that I was somehow going to have to master the “Brush”. It would have to be my number one tool. I was told if I was ever going to be a great brush inker, the brush I must… No! HAD TO USE, was the Winsor & Newton Series 7 sable hair brush. Size 3 I think. And they weren’t cheap. I bought several Winsor & Newton Series 7 brushes, a bottle of India ink, and within a short few days, I had mastered this tool. 

Not really. I proceeded to make a mess, spill ink all over the place, destroy quite a few expensive brushes, and ruin a lot of my clothes. Well before trying to ink a page of any kind, I knew I needed to get a handle on this thing. It could be done. I had watched others doing it. If they could do it, so could I. So I practiced by inking page after page of those thick to thin parallel lines that everyone tells you to do. Over and over again. Straight – bouncy – lines. Page after page. Once that started looking good, time to draw curved bouncy lines. You get it. Lots of bouncy lines. I got to the point, I could see the line before inking it. I don’t know about being perfect, but a lot of practice will get you pretty close. 

The one other thing that greatly helped me get that super clean/sleek line I get with a brush, is learning to draw with your arm and not just your hand. I can draw/ink a very smooth curve using the rotation of my arm. So use that natural curve to your advantage. I have been told it’s funny to watch me ink. I’m flipping the page in all different directions, upside down even, to get the best angle. I’ve been asked quite a few times by a lot of people, “Thomas! What on earth are you doing?” Me, “I’m inking. Isn’t this the way you do it?