Sonicdan's Valiant Website
Inking with Stefano Gaudiano

So how does he do it? Stefano Gaudiano, illustrator and one of the best inkers in the industry, took time from his busy schedule to showcase for us his modern inking technique. Known for his work at Marvel and DC Comics, Stefano has delighted Valiant fans with his recent work on Valiant Comics X-O Manowar and Bloodshot. Here is his step by step process featuring Bloodshot #7 page 8:

  1. A jpg of the pencils is sent to me by the artist or the editor - the image should be about 11x17 inches at 200dpi resolution.

  2. Using photoshop I turn the file into RGB color mode [image>mode>RGB]

  3. I adjust the hue/saturation settings to turn the image from gray/black to a light cyan - the specific adjustment will change depending on the art and the printer you'll be using. [image>adjustment>hue/saturation(clicking the 'colorize' option)]

  4. Then the file is printed on 11x17 board. the blue should be dark enough to see easily while I ink, but light enough to drop out when I'll scan the inks later.

  5. I ink the page using a variety of tools (nibs, brushes, markers, white-out)

  6. The page is scanned on an 11x17 scanner. the settings for that will depend on your equipment, but the scan should pick up all of the ink work but not the underlying blue-line image.

  7. The scanned inks go into a photoshop file with the pencils and panel borders already positioned on separate layers. Usually I'll have registration marks on the scanned inks to help me position them accurately. Once the inks are in place I can do whatever clean-up and adjustments are necessary in photoshop; the file then is flattened and sent to the editor, ready for color and lettering. The page attached here is from Bloodshot #7; you can see how I used photoshop to combine panels 2 and 3 and create an 'underwater' look. In panel 5 I liked the face as it was penciled better than the one inked on paper, so I re-traced that part more carefully in photoshop for the final version. For panel 6 I copied panel 4 and made the necessary adjustments to convey Bloodshot's mimetic power.

There's other ways to go about inking, but this system is what I've used for most of my work for a number of years now.