Dry Brush?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #577, Page 9 (panel 4). 2008. Ink on Marvel Board, 11 x 17.25".
Original Art

When I first started inking, I quickly realized that I didn't like my lines to have a slick, crisp appearance. I preferred, instead, a grittier line that softened forms by revealing the texture of the vellum surface. Traditionally, this technique is called dry brush, but when I go for this look, the brush isn't actually all that dry; rather, it's the ink.

Before I begin, I first set out a small amount of Pelikan Drawing Ink A in a sealable container, albeit with the lid open. Depending on the amount of time I have and the effect I want, I'll let the ink "set" to the desired consistency. A nice consequence of this is the increased covering power of the ink, which yields a richer, darker black as compared to its performance straight out of the bottle. As the shallow pool gets used up, I add small amounts of fresh ink, mixing it with the thicker ink in order to maintain the consistency.

In general, I thoroughly soak my brush (a Winsor and Newton Series 7 #6) in water, then squeeze out any excess before dipping the tip (and just the tip) into ink. This process is all all about experimentation, so everyone will have a different preference in terms of ink consistency and brush saturation.

A special thanks goes out to Cliff Chiang, who first introduced me to my favorite ink.


  1. I like the same kind of "dry" feeling in my work. I use a Pentel brush, but very important component is the paper...I use a vellum /rough one it's easier to get the effect I want

  2. Yes, paper is a big part of it. I use the standard Marvel board most of the time, but I just picked up some of Strathmore's semi-smooth comic pages and have been happy with the results—it's halfway between the vellum and smooth surfaces.

  3. I don't use neither marvel or DC boards because I don't work for them :-( I ìm very happy with my EON vellum paper, I tried several paper before bt ths oneis very good and I'm able to have the lark/Phillips effect I like in my style recently as the sample below:


  4. Looks great, Guglie! I'm not familiar with EON paper, but it looks like it's definitely working for you.


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Design out of the FlyBird's Box.