Bob McLeod

BEFORE AND AFTER EXAMPLES

Contact me.

These are some examples of comic pages before and after being inked, to show what can be involved in inking a page. Most of these are "breakdown" pencils, which are drawn deliberately loosely by the penciller, with the expectation that the inker will tighten up and finish the drawing before inking. With breakdowns, the inker has the freedom to make changes and adjustments that would never be considered with finished pencils. Inking, to me, is a wonderful art that is sadly unappreciated by the majority of comic art fans. Many of the things that make the art compelling, such as the placement of blacks and rendering, should really be part of the inking process, rather than part of the penciller's job. Breakdowns allow more of a collaboration between the penciller and the inker.

Click on an image to view an enlarged image

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


These were finished pencils, but John still left me
plenty of room to develop them in my own style.

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


This is Buscema inking his own breakdowns.

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


I had a lot of fun finishing up the drawing
in this one, and adding details.

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


This was the first time I had the nerve to really add a lot of dramatic blacks to loose breakdowns. It was a revelation to me.

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


It may look to you like the drawing isn't finished enough to ink, but all it needs is a good knowledge of figure drawing and some blacks and details!

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


Again, I was trying to see how much I could add
to the drama by adding blacks and lighting.

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


This page was colored and printed horribly,
so here's what the originals looked like...

CONAN-JOHN BUSCEMA


...and how they COULD'VE looked with the good coloring and printing we have in comics today.

DETECTIVE COMICS-GRAHAM NOLAN


This was breakdowns. I wanted a much
more detailed, dramatic look for Batman.

DETECTIVE COMICS-GRAHAM NOLAN


Breakdowns, but not much for me to do
but add some interest with details.
Graham's breakdowns are very easy to ink.

HOWARD THE DUCK-MICHAEL GOLDEN


This was breakdowns, but the drawing was
lightboxed and clean; a breeze to ink. I added rendering, blacks and tones,
including some airbrush.

MR. HERO-TED SLAMPYAK


Ted was fairly new to pencilling, and his finished pencils were a little sketchy, so I treated it as breakdowns and added lots of detail and blacks.

JOHN CARTER OF MARS-FRANK MILLER


This was one of Frank's first jobs, and his pencils were great fun, but required some help here and there. He was trying to pencil a bit like Gil Kane, the regular penciller on the book, and I was trying to ink like Rudy Nebres, the regular inker.

MARVEL TEAM UP-TOM PALMER


I drew the breakdowns on this job for one of my idols, Tom Palmer, to ink. I kept it sparse so he could do whatever he wanted, and he added a lot.

THE NAM-MICHAEL GOLDEN


Golden is always fun to ink.
I tried to add some interest with lighting.

NEW MUTANTS


This is my pencil rough, my inked finish,
and my final version in color(mixed media)

SPIDER-MAN: HOBGOBLIN LIVES-RON FRENZ


This was rather tight breakdowns, but my rendering style and anatomical approach are quite different than Ron's.

SPIDER-MAN: HOBGOBLIN LIVES-RON FRENZ


The breakdowns were tight, but I still had a lot of choices to make.

SPIDER-MAN: MYSTERIO MANEFESTO-LEE WEEKS


Rather tight breakdowns by my friend, Lee, with some blacks suggested. Tough decisions on where to put feathering and what style to use.

SPIDER-MAN: MYSTERIO MANEFESTO-LEE WEEKS


This is the same Spidey job, guest starring Daredevil.

SPIDER-MAN: MYSTERIO MANEFESTO-LEE WEEKS


Not quite breakdowns, I wasn't sure how
much I should take over.

SPIDER-MAN: REDEMPTION-MIKE ZECK


My buddy Mike Zeck did breakdowns on this job. He's always a pleasure to ink. I think this four-issue series was some of my best inking.

CPT. AMERICA: KEITH POLLARD


This was a commission. It's a rejected version of
the cover to #235. It was pretty bare, so I
tried to dress it up as much as possible.

X-MEN: DAVE COCKRUM


This was another commission. It's a recreation of the spash page to #107. It was pencilled very darkly and sprayed with fixative, so I had to electric erase almost all of it before I could even ink on it. The owner also asked me to change the faces on some of the characters. Even on tight pencils like this, I prefer to add more embellishment than Dave put in, as long as the buyer approves. For a closer look, click here

TOMB OF DRACULA-GENE COLAN


This is kind of a step-by-step. It was a commission where the buyer wanted a change made to the panel layout. It was originally just an ink commission, but later he asked me to add tones to it.

ALPHA FLIGHT-JUNE BRIGMAN


This was breakdowns by June, a friend, and I
knew she wouldn't mind if took a lot of liberties
to see how far I could go to make it more
dramatic by adding blacks.

AVENGERS VS. DRAGON MAN -MCLEOD


This is something a bit different: It was first commissioned in pencil, then recommissioned as a painting. Some time had elapsed, and I envisioned it differently.

THOR#405 UNPUBLISHED COVER-RON FRENZ


I was asked to ink this unpublished version of the cover
over Ron Frenz. I added some elements from the published
version which was inked by Joe Sinnott.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #122 P.18 UNPUBLISHED-GIL KANE


This was a commission to ink the unpublished version of this page. Gil basically supplied the layout and left everything else up to me.

THOR #156 SPLASH-JACK KIRBY


I inked this commission after tracing the pencils with a lightbox.
I tried to be as faithful to Kirby as possible since it was my first
time inking him, and it was just one panel.
Next time, I'd put more of my own style into it.

SHOWCASE #60-MURPHY ANDERSON


This was a commission to ink an unpublished version. The art was twice the size of the printed comic, which was standard in those days. Today most art is 1/3 bigger. I inked it as much like Anderson as possible by request.

AVENGERS #100 REINTERPRETATION BY KEVIN MCGUIRE


Sometimes the penciler's style is so exact it's best just to trace.
If I started making changes, there'd be no stopping and it wouldn't
be Kevin's work anymore. Of course, this way, it's not my work, really.

HAWKEYE BY PHILIP TAN


Some of today's pencilers are so tight there's almost nothing for the
inker to do but attempt to follow precisely. I think it's ridiculous.

BRAVE & BOLD #13 PG.16-JERRY ORDWAY


Jerry's pencils were very tight, but I still made some subtle changes
to put my own stamp on them. This type of inking is mostly just about
brush control, tho, which is not what interests me.

ULTIMATE SILVER SURFER-MIKE ZECK


Here's an example of very tight pencils where the inker does still have
a lot of decisions to make. I made some subtle changes in the drawing
and mixed linework with tones. I first traced it on a lightbox, and the
tiny details were too difficult to trace exactly, so that also affected it.

My second attempt at inking Kirby. Not so much tracing this time, so it's
got some more of me in it. This was for the new Jack Kirby Quarterly cover.

Home  Comic art for sale  Commissions  Convention sketches  Commercial illustration

Copyright Bob McLeod
Images of artwork on this Web site may not be reproduced in whole or in part under penalty of law.