Next up in my awesome cartoonist study series: Jeff Smith, writer and artist behind comics classic Bone. Again I’ll be sticking to “set piece” drawings and doing as little pencil-prep as possible. After a short break it’s time to push my environmental inking some more!
According to this interview, Smith works with a smaller brush than Watterson but otherwise follows a similar process:
…my actual comic pages are pretty old school. Two-ply Bristol board, plate finish, pencil, and I use a Number 1 horse hair brush dipped in India ink: I just use that one size brush.
I draw very sketchy and very loose, and I really do the final drawing while I am inking. Sometimes I have young cartoonists asking me if I have pencils so they can have access to my pencils so they can practice inking on, and I always have to tell them that my pencils are worthless: you just couldn’t possibly ink them unless you were there when they were pencilled [sic] in my brain.
Having recently come from my Watterson work, and assuming that Smith’s art was more or less a more detailed version of Calvin & Hobbes’ artist, I started off with perhaps more ambitious pieces than I should have (which you’ll see later this week). Turns out it’s a much more different style than I thought! The smaller brush has taken some getting used to as well. Drawing so far has been a little slow and feels awfully “tight” compared to Watterson, but I’m enjoying the new challenge!
I’ve started a new sketchbook for Smith drawings. Keep an eye out there and on my tumblr for more next week and beyond. And for those who are big fans of Bone, my drawing titles come from relevant events or quotes from the story.