Top left: sample of thumbnail to rough sketch to ink. Bottom left: students inking. Above: Emily Curran, grade eight.
light box. Students should not fill
in large areas of black; instead they
should make an outline for later ink-
ing. Erasing damages the ink inten-
sity so the less pencil the better. The
newsprint is still
used for reference
Inking is often the
most difficult part
of the process for
students. The only
lines the reader sees are the inked
lines. My students used drawing sets
like Sakura’s Pigma Sensei to create
their art. Since the set has a mechanical pencil, vinyl eraser, and pens
with various sizes, it is perfect for
the creation of graphic storytelling. I
have also used brush and ink, grease
pencils, or toothbrushes.
To minimize damage to the ink,
students use the smallest pen first,
tracing only the contour lines, and
then erase all pencil. They finish by
laying down values, textures, spot-
ting blacks, and
line weights with
the different pens.
Spotting blacks is
it allows for bal-
ance on a colorless
page. Line weights
act as a quick way
to establish light source—thin lines
closer to the light, thicker lines further away. I emphasize inking within
the natural bend of the wrist, turning
the page as they work.
calls for a thorough
knowledge of anatomy,
design, perspective, but
to tell a story.
acrylic paint will provide a quick fix.
You can also redo a panel, pasting it
over the original. One of my students
had a wonderful four-page comic, but
it was missing lettering. I had her
type the text, print it, and cut and
paste onto her original boards.
John Thompson is an art teacher at Carroll McMath Middle School in Denton,
Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and
processes to enhance communication
of their experiences and ideas.
Even if students goof up, nothing is
permanent. White ink, gouache, or