View Full Version : Markers for Inking?

Scott Story
08-11-2006, 01:26 PM
Hey All

Not long ago, after about twelve years of doing this, I inked most of a page with markers. For most of the last dozen years, I've used the traditional brush and croquill, and for the last year or so I've been spotting blacks with markers, because they don't dull out when I erase over them.

Anyway, I've come to wonder, with all of the lightfast, waterproof, non-crawling markers available now, why aren't more people abandoning traditional media and going for markers. Or, has everyone gone to markers, and I'm out of the loop?

I recently have read or heard, through various sources, that George Perez now inks with marker, as well as Arthur Adams. We've all heard that Neal Adams and Gil Kane inked with markers back in the day, and Neal probably still does when he inks.

So, who else uses markers now? Has anyone heard of pro inkers who use markers as their primary inking tool?

08-11-2006, 02:20 PM
I fill in blacks with 'em, but the fact remains that markers're not a flexible instrument like a pen or brush, and thus, any sort of thick-thin effects have to be doubled-back on and are far less spontaneous as result. To my eye, any job inked completely with markers lacks spontaneity. I freely admit though, that I'd more than likely be surprised to find out how many comics I think look really great, are inked with markers.

Is lack of spontaneity a big deal? Well, not for those who use markers for everything obviously, but to me, it means that part of what I consider to be the finese of inking is sometimes lost.

08-11-2006, 02:30 PM
That would be wrong. Alot of markers have extremely flexible tips. I still perfer the brush tip pen I had that I can no longer find anywhere. Just like a brush but no dipping needed.

08-11-2006, 02:39 PM
Pentel makes a pen/marker that's essentially a disposable plastic crowquill/ You get great thick to thin lines and you if you rotate the pen so you draw on the side of the nib you can get even thinner lines. I got introduced to it when I was working on Spawn for HBO along with some Japanese brush pens but I like these better.
The downside is they're kinda hard to find, but they're there if you do a little internet digging.

Scott Story
08-11-2006, 02:55 PM
One thing I haven't done is use Sharpies, because I'm afraid the ink will crawl or spider out a little. Am I imagining this, or is it more a quality of the paper?

Yeah, I've had great luck with those brush pens--very expressive and smooth, with huge line variation.

08-11-2006, 03:03 PM
Thanks to Wya i now use Pitt Pens. You can get them from Dick Blick.
They don't have as fine a point as Microns but they have better blacks.

note: i only use them for lines that require a edge tool, like french curves. ;)

08-11-2006, 04:43 PM
Sacrilege you blasphemer's!!

08-11-2006, 05:48 PM
Microns for the tiny bits, brush for the rest.

I think I saw (at HM maybe?) where Bisley uses Sharpies for the large black areas. AH uses them at cons (in that video that is gone now. =( )

greenlantern2099 did this with markers. I think it looks pretty good.


Scott Story
08-11-2006, 05:57 PM
Justice41: I know how you feel. I've inked using traditional methods and materials for over a decade. But, the quality of materials available changes. Used to be markers were more limited, and they faded relatively quickly. Times change, I guess. Plus, it's freeing to take a handfull of markers and ink anywhere you want, without the threat of tipping over ink, and without all tha dipping.

I'm still not decided, mind you. After all this time, it still feels vaugely wrong to ink with markers, even if the reader can't tell what tool I've used. I know this purely psychological, though, and I'll get over it.

Craig DeBoard
08-12-2006, 07:08 AM
Lots of people use sharpies for large black areas (I am right now). If you swing by office max they have an aesome set of pens not filled with crap ink but actual india ink. One of the pens is a great flexible brush tip that i near have an orgasm over evry time i use it.

pens and markers can be as good as a brush, you just have to know how to use them CORRECTLY.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. The only tool for inking that is the right tool is the one that gives you the desired effect you're looking for.

i've even used ciggarette ashes before.

Scott Story
08-12-2006, 10:17 AM
Frank Cho uses microns, apparantly. I wonder what Mike Mignola uses.

Craig: Yeah, whatever works to get the desired image is legitimate, I agree.

08-13-2006, 08:33 AM
I think Mike Mignola uses markers. Also a popular italian artist Milo Manara uses markers, Iīve seen some of his originals.

When you use markers, you automatically change your style a little bit. It shouldnīt matter what you use, itīs the end result that counts. I started "inking" with rapidographs when I was in my teens and started using brush when I was around 25. Man, it was difficult!

Until recently I used only brush, but now Iīm combining markers with it. I really like the combination, I feel I get the best from both worlds.

08-13-2006, 10:13 AM
When inking at a Con I use Microns, generally an .05 for the bulk of it with a .02 for finer lines. I also use older .02's to get brush-like thin-to-thick effects.

The final step is to use a brush to do any spotted blacks, hair & touch up the piece in spots to give it a brush feel without the potential mess.

But at home on the board, it's 95% brush with the afore-mentioned pens for effects.

08-13-2006, 01:26 PM
Craig, That's interesting to hear about the india ink sharpies. I love sharpies but sometimes a large black area seems washed out and if you go back over it with FW ink it gets sticky and messy.
Office max huh?

08-13-2006, 06:21 PM
I use markers for fine lines (straight ones, mostly), a crowquill for hair and stuff like that, and I just started using a brush to ink big areas. I like the sound of these Office Max markers... I'll have to check them out (I would use a sharpie for large areas, and I love the design of them, but I hate their smell). I used to use a crowquill with a big tip that I would "load" (cover) with ink and use in TOTALLY the wrong way to ink large areas.. took forever and looked bad... boy, that was stupid. :confused:

James Smith

08-13-2006, 06:31 PM
What I consider the best looking ink work (by the pros) was done with a brush so when I started to learn inking I went right for the brush. Still suck but working on it. I have trouble feathering because I vibrate. Must be the coffee.

All my quill work looks like pure sheit.

Drafting pens for the straight lines.

Craig DeBoard
08-14-2006, 04:24 AM
Th opffice max markers all suck except for the brush pen that comes in the pack...unfortunatly you have to buy the pack to get the brush pen...it's not bad though...I think like around 8 or 10 bucks. They're from Faber-Castell and are called PITT artist pens. They come in a 3 pack. There's a medium pen, a fine pen (which both are junk and the brush pen).

08-14-2006, 04:27 AM

08-14-2006, 06:19 PM
bio- thats what i use.... i get people asking me if i use a regular brush all the time.... scan it... bump up the contrast and boom you have the equivilent of a brushstroke

08-14-2006, 07:05 PM
I just posted the link for Craig, who's wasting his money buying the set again and again for just the brush pen, when they can be bought individually at any decent art store (which I've been doing for years now. I bought the original set once, but I've owned about 8 of the brush pens).

08-14-2006, 08:06 PM
Ooooh Sepia!
Thanks for the link Biofungus

Scott Story
08-14-2006, 08:37 PM
Yeah, I've been buying those independantly at the art store--they are great pens.

OK, I did some extensive testing today, and inked some panels. I'm going with a combo of croquill and markers for the foreseeable future.

--When it comes to line variation, fineness of line, and ink not spidering on the paper, nothing beats croquill. None of the markers came close.
--For all the spotting of blacks, however, from fine brushstrokes on up to large areas, the markers were superior, and the black held up to repeated erasing.

Thus, it's combo time for me.

Thanks for input, everyone!

Craig DeBoard
08-15-2006, 02:34 AM
Thanks for the link Bio. I really appreciate it. Now if I can just get YOU to buy them for me, i'll be set :laugh: ;)

Craig DeBoard
08-15-2006, 02:36 AM
Oh and there should be a fourth choice available on that poll:

"I use whatever it takes to make the image look good!"

Thats the whole reason I did NOT vote. You can only vote once, and I would have chosen all three.

08-15-2006, 05:36 AM
Thanks for the link Bio. I really appreciate it. Now if I can just get YOU to buy them for me, i'll be set :laugh: ;)
Hey, I went through the trouble of linking them for you so you could stop wasting your money. If anything, you owe me...


Craig DeBoard
08-15-2006, 06:27 AM
Do you take...bits of string?

(sorry, stupid Family Guy quote)

MadCow Menu
08-15-2006, 04:52 PM
Oh and there should be a fourth choice available on that poll:

"I use whatever it takes to make the image look good!"

Thats the whole reason I did NOT vote. You can only vote once, and I would have chosen all three.
There ya go!

Craig DeBoard
08-15-2006, 06:52 PM
Hot damn I got to vote! :)

08-15-2006, 07:37 PM
Do you take...bits of string?

(sorry, stupid Family Guy quote)

08-22-2006, 08:40 PM
I have a set of Rapid-o-graph technical pens that I break-out when I'm not feeling entirely lazy. The set cost $125 on sale.
Truth be told, I get better results from Millenium scrap booking pens that you can buy locally at Wal-Mart or whatever. They have a number of different sizes and really don't bleed at all. Plus, they're only like a buck and a half a pen.
Aside from that I grab random markers at Hobby Lobby or National Art Supply. Sometimes Sharpies, sometimes other stuff.
My trick of the trade is to scan the stuff into Paintshop Pro afterwords, drop pure white into the image with the paint bucket, then use the effects tool to darken the blacks. All in all, it takes like 4-5 minutes and it makes the image look super shart\p.

08-22-2006, 09:18 PM
Craig de Board,
I found the faber castell Pitt brush/pen at Jo-annes fabric store (Desert Ridge) for about 3$ I think. If you're willing to go in there anyway ;)

Scott Story
08-22-2006, 11:29 PM
If your wife is a fabric artist extraordinare like mine is, you find yourself there often.

08-23-2006, 01:15 AM
That's so funny, you're that guy? Props to you!

08-23-2006, 03:23 AM
3 bucks?! Smoke dope do ya, son?


Seriously, almost every place online has them for about half that, and even at Pearl Paint which is notoriously overpriced, they're only 2 dollars a piece.

08-23-2006, 11:30 AM
Sorry, there might've been two in a pack? The availability was my point.

There's probably a minimum order online add s&h? and I just don't do A bros or Michaels for the standard brands anymore (buuuttheads).

I'm trying to find a fat stub right now...
6$ for one of those 'try out packs' (whatta scam) or 2.50 for two skinny ones (ick) or drive to one of the faraway quality art stores. So availability was mah point sir ;)

08-23-2006, 10:49 PM
I'm just saying, if you're paying twice what the pen usually goes for, it's probably better just to buy a few at a time online and pay the shipping, which will be cheaper by volume...

08-24-2006, 08:17 PM
Sorry, yep you're right.

09-18-2006, 12:14 AM
I recently have read or heard, through various sources, that George Perez now inks with marker, as well as Arthur Adams.

George uses sharpies.
Found that out through hanging with his cousin on a regular basis.

09-26-2007, 04:34 PM
I useally use markers on my own pencils being a cartoonist not a comic book artist... and mixer of brush and markers...when i ink more real looking stuff..

09-27-2007, 11:13 PM
i don't use anything that will fade over time. a lot of markers will fade out and the original will not be as attractive to the buyer when you go to sell the original art. i won't use sharpies or anything like that... heck, i even hate to use them at a con for quick sketches but at a con you have to compromise.

i'll use staedlers from time to time when the paper i get in is trashy, but we started getting our own studio paper printed up, but usally it's all kooh-i-noor, brush, and quill for me.

09-28-2007, 03:15 PM
i wonder what the original reason for using archival material over temp stuff like markers was, since the artists of the golden age didn't seem to view comics as art.

the only thing i can think of would be reprints.

10-01-2007, 12:32 AM
The reason was simple: availability.

Markers didn't really come into fashion (ie professional usability) until the 80's. There just weren't really any economically viable alternatives at the time.

07-25-2008, 11:38 PM
I use the Faber Castell series and I like them alot. But I can't say which is better because I have never tried to ink with a brush. Well I did try to start but my kid got a hold of the ink and I had a bitch of a time cleaning up that mess.

When the kids get older I'm gonna make a serious attempt at inking with a brush.

08-07-2008, 10:37 PM
Darwyn Cooke uses pitt pens I heard from an interview with him.

08-07-2008, 11:01 PM
actually they're more like brushes. Brush markers.