Mark Schultz Workshop from Comic Art Forum

During SCAD Savannah's Comic Arts Forum, I acted as Mark Schultz's assistant for his Saturday morning workshop.  For those of you unfamiliar with his work, he created Xenozoic Tales , and has a really lush, beautiful inking style that he demonstranted Saturday.  I've been fortunate enough to attend an inking workshop led by him before, so I knew that I would not be disappointed.

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The workshop began bright and early at 9, and I figured attendance would be low since it was a Saturday morning.  I was wrong- it was a packed house.  As always, Mr. Schultz was pleasant and personable, and requested me to be their model for the workshop, so while I have notes, I unfortunately have no product.

The workshop was for creating lighting effects via an analogue brush, which encourages happy accidents while working and develops hand eye coordination for the artist.  Mr. Schultz regularly puts out collections of his work in a variety of sizes that feature a wide range of levels of completion.  He strongly encourages us to keep our preliminary work so that others can see how we think.

Light and shadow are used to create atmosphere, and while most artists can do silhouettes and outlines, many cannot do lighting effects with ink.  We should eliminate the linework in favor of achieving our desired psychological effect.  Mr. Schultz works up from thumbnails, utilizing several generations of revisions and then lightboxes the final product onto Bristol.

Lighting effects can be really valuabe on architectural elements, and you can modulate inks to create halftone.

He uses a Kolinsky Sable by Winsor Newton because it has the most resilient fur, which allows this brush to keep its spring, in a size #2 or #3.    You can reinforce the point by twirling the tip in the same direction consistently.

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You shouldn't overclean your brush as a bit of ink build up in the ferrule is ok.  Just wash it off with water when you're done inking, and use handsoap or shampoo if necessary.  "Brushsoap" ruins inking brushes.

When inking, Mr. Schultz uses Higgins Black Magic, and the paper is very important to the finished product.  He uses 500 series Strathmore Bristol with a 3 or 4 ply so it won't warp when he's putting down ink.  Before inking, you should think about the surface you want to use, he inks a lot of the medium surface.  The smoother the Bristol is, the slicker the line will be.

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Before inking, Mr. Schultz sets up the lighting effects in pencil, fairly loose, and waters down his ink a little bit.  He starts off inking big and loose, kind of like watercoloring, and his inkwork becomes tighter as he moves on.  Often he'll draw a 3D arrow in pencil to remind denote the lightsource.

Mr. Schultz doesn't really consider his work to be 'realistic', as comics aren't a naturalistic medium.  Ink is fairly abstract, 2D elements rendered in black ink on white paper.

A woman's face tends to be harder to ink, as you have to judiciously eliminate the lines of the face.  Guys tend to be easier to ink.  It's a bad idea to ink the figure entirely before starting the background, as the two work together.  Of course, as artists, we're allowed some license to make changes to improve storytelling.

Something Mr. Schultz does that seems fairly unique is he utilizes a heavy duty electric eraser to pull up inked lines.

This was the closest I could find on DickBlick, and it looks nothing like his.  
He recommends the pink 'pencil' eraser refill, which can damage cheaper paper, but does pick up the ink.  Higgins is probably the easiest ink to pick up, when he tested it with Winsor Newton ink, it took a long time to come up.

By working loose to tight, his work is more painterly, and he is able to do more tonal stuff.  He showed us a technique for scoring the ink with a Xacto blade or a scratchboard tool, but this should only be done at the very end, as it damages the paper.


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