The greatest stories have often been the simplest to explain. They capture our hearts and imaginations and take us on a journey.
Books and film have been my source for great stories for many years, as well as comics. And in the past few years comics have taken over because they provide such a fantastic integration of visual and literary storytelling that appeal to me.
Inkman began as a dream – the simplest of ideas. I imagined a young comic artist who mysteriously becomes a digital superhero. While using Photoshop to finish some art his computer would crash and also take him out, knocking him unconscious. Upon waking he would find he has all the tools and abilities of Photoshop in the real world at his fingertips (bazinga).
I didn’t have names but I had a family of people with one central character that gains amazing powers. (I love superheroes in general and I think this is what I gravitate towards when I write, but I hope to expand with other genres.)
I don’t know of any superheroes that have been given powers by a computer fritz, and in the digital age of comic production and distribution I felt that Inkman could be a nifty creation.
“Inkman” soon became Andrew James, AJ for short (named in honour of a close musician/tattooist friend and my brother). Visually he begins as a fairly regular guy, no spandex here, but his family would be a key part of his life and the story so I developed some ideas on physical similarities between him and his sister, Ruth.
When I found my artist, Mark Louie Vuycankiat, he very quickly sent back some character designs. As you can see above Andrew is quite striking. Once I had lifted my chin up off the floor from seeing characters I had envisioned for real, I reflected that this Andrew seemed too mature for the character at this stage. He had a ‘Brad Pitt’ quality that was visually appealing but didn’t convey some of the innocence I wanted for AJ.
I had suggested a few physical features as possibilities for a similar resemblance between Andrew and his sister, Ruth, and Mark really nailed the look. With a reduced age the final character design came in spot on.
And here’s a panel from the comic:
Hope you enjoyed a peek at the art and process that we went through. It resulted in a fun 5-page comic that helped teach me a LOT about writing for comics. And I hope to have more in the coming months of other, non-Inkman and Inkman stuff to share with you.
Thanks for reading!
Check in again late Thursday/Friday for my comic wrap-up (featuring Transformers #28 and Justice League #2) and on the weekend for more INKMAN!
© 2011 Luke A Barnett