The Middle | Skillshare Projects

Rick Quemado

Illustrator, comic/zine maker, daywalker



The Middle

If drawings are considered the backbone of a piece, what does that make inking? To me, inking is what gives a drawing some attitude. As a fan of comic book artists like Paul Pope, Nathan Fox, and Mike Mignola, seeing Yuko teach a class on inking seemed like a no brainer for me to join Skillshare. 

With this class, I set up a couple goals for myself. I wanted it to be based on a theme, have facial expressions, and a little bit of fashion. Within these parameters is where I could tackle the things that make inking so interesting. How successful i'll be, who knows?

Before starting, one thing I know about myself is that I struggle with coming up with ideas on my own. With the help of's archive, I chose the theme "Mask" to play with. My next step is usually putting on some music while thumbnailing. Hearing some lyrics that intertwine with the theme helps narrow down the kind of image I want to see. With that said, the project linked itself easily to Jimmy Eat World's song, "The Middle," a song about finding who you are. After that was settled, it was time to gather the necessary tools.

For my materials, I use an 11x14in Strathmore vellum bristol. I really like the texture of the paper so the ink doesn't slip off. For my brushes I have an old toothbrush, a synthentic 2 and 8 round, synthetic 8 flat that's kind of beat up, and Yasutomo brand sumi ink. Not pictured is a lead holder for sketching.

In the sketch, I wanted the main asset to be a mysterious man with his back faced to the viewer. The second asset, the emotional masks, would be where the viewer gets to interact by guessing what that person is feeling. 

I normally ink right over my pencils and clean them up in photoshop. One thing I notice for Yuko's illustrations that kind of boggles my mind, is the stage between inking to color. For my own skill, I don't think I have the confidence to complete complex inking on one sheet the way she does. In time, I'm sure I'll get there, but for now, if I have something complex, i'll use multiple sheets and a lightbox to help set up for the color stage.

The final piece with color. I added some paper texture and kept the coloring simple. I also added some lyrics from the song to help break up the floating space around the character. I probably could have gone without, but this is usually where my indecision kicks in. Do you think I should have left it without? Do you have any other critique and comments for this? Please let me know, I'd love all the feedback I can get. 

Anyway, thanks again Yuko and Skillshare for this class. I will definitely add the things learned into my toolbox.


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