You're Thinking About Tomatoes

By Michael Rosen and Cole Henley

A graphic novel adaptation of the fan favourite story!

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

Inks and The Evolution of Frank

Step 4: Inks
With our pencils all done the next step is to print it all out for the inking.


All our pages are printed out onto Bristol Board - like a thick cartridge paper - at slightly larger than we need for the final printed book. This bit is tricky but we want to print our pencils out in light blue so that we can draw over them. Then thanks to some computer trickery we can remove the blue tones when we scan them in so we are left with the blank inks on a white background.


For inking, I use a Japanese brush pen, a Tombow Fudenosuke. This gives me lots of fluidity for looser, thicker lines but lets me tighten it up for detail. It’s a really nice pen to draw with and has really helped bring the characters in Tomatoes to life.


It’s a slow process but it is easy to get into a rhythm and the story is great fun to draw - from Egyptian mummies to pirates to Indian monkeys to talking dogs!


As I write I have just finished inking all 120 pages of the book! The next job is to scan them all in and start colouring them. But first I think my hand needs a bit of a rest!


Interlude: The Evolution of Frank


Some of the eagle-eyed of you might notice that the style of Frank has evolved quite a bit from the pages drawn when the Unbound project first launched.


When I first started talking about working together with Michael most of my drawing work had been quite “tight” and for a more grown-up audience than the Tomatoes project. Certainly, those earlier sketches and concepts for Frank were quite more realistic than what we have ended up with in the final inks!


As the project has evolved so has Frank and the other characters and there are a couple of 
reasons why.


First, I’ve tried to make all the characters simpler. This means I can produce the work quicker and more consistently but also makes the characters and style more suited to the target audience. I have necessarily reduced the characters to simpler shapes and elements and exaggerated their features. This makes them much more fun to draw - especially for
the action scenes within the comic book - and fits in well with the more fantastical elements of the story!


It is also partly to do with the pen I’m using - I don’t know about you but my hand-writing changes completely depending on what pen I’m using and it is the same with drawing. When I use a fine-line pen my drawing is inevitably more detailed. If I use a biro then my drawing style becomes scratcher. With the brush pen I use the lines are simpler and bolder
which is perfect for the style of the book.


Finally, it is partly to do with the size I’m working at. In earlier sketches, I was working on a larger scale. This meant I was falling into more detailed drawings to fill the paper. Working at a smaller scale helps me work in a simpler style and with more fluidity.


So hope you enjoy this little diversion - the style has changed but the story is the same and is one I hope you all enjoy

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Judy Stewart
 Judy Stewart says:

Zachary 3, Theo 6 and Judy 75 find Frank's ears especially appealing. His tie too. We also like the 'sound' of the pen - Tombow Fudenosuke. More than anything we are impressed that you have finished inking 120 pages. We all thank you very much for keeping us in the loop. x

posted 7th July 2021

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