I’ve finally finished the inks on all 5 issues of Civil War II and I’m really glad I got to ink every single interior page of it, with no line rushed or thrown away. It really feels good that I get to accomplish a book in this way, working on all pages without the need of another inker coming in. It feels like a complete job, something I can take as a whole and feel proud of. I have felt the same way when I did things like Superman Birthright and Indestructible Hulk. Projects that I’m proud to have done as an inker.
I’m even happier that I completed the job in spite of all the drama that happened in my personal life behind the scenes. No matter what happened with me on a personal level, it didn’t affect the job, as it should be.
Leinil has been telling me about how the book is getting good notices online and I’d gladly take his word for it. I generally don’t read reviews of books I inked. In fact, I avoid them all together. It’s not that I’m uninterested in feedback. It’s just that the only credible feedback I can ever get from my inking is from Leinil himself and from my editors. If they’re happy with what I’m doing, then I’m good. Of course, Leinil has been really critical of my inks early on in our partnership. He has a very specific way he wants to be inked and it took a long time for me to adjust. Right now I feel I’ve pretty much grasped how he would like his pencils to be inked.
Reviewers, for the most part, don’t fully understand what goes on in inking. A lot of the critiques I’ve read speaks to me how they don’t understand the process. I’ve read comments about how I ink too dark or too scratchy or too “rushed”. I pretty much work with what the penciller gives me. If he puts in a lot of shadows, I will just follow his lead. If he doesn’t put in too much details, who am I to add any more? My job is simply to understand what the penciller is trying to do, and help him interpret his pencil lines in pure black and white. To me it’s pretty hard to review an inker’s work without actually seeing the pencils. Reviewers do so anyway, and I just feel bad about it because I think they just don’t get what I do. So that’s why I avoid reviews altogether. Leinil knows his pencils in and out, so it is his critique that would be of utmost importance to me. If I screw up, believe me, he’ll tell me about it, and I’ll adjust.
When it comes to my own work though, like ELMER, I read ALL reviews. It is reading reviews online and even those long reviews sent to me privately that help me, as an artist, improve my work. I have taken a lot of those comments and improved what I did subsequently.