If you are a fan of original comic production art you may have noticed a change in the art that is being made available to collectors over the last few years. As I perused the various pages of comic production art at this year’s New York Comic Con I was surprised to see how often the post-production art on display, and for sale, was not the original hand-inked art, inked over the original hand-penciled art.
Historically if there was a separate penciler and inker on a particular comic, the penciled art would be directly inked by the ink artist. And, traditionally, in the Modern Age, (I won’t get into the Draconian-Dickensian details of where/who Golden/Silver Age Artists’ work went to) post-production original art is returned to the artist or artists to divide up and do with as they choose
And if you were a collector you could often find original comic art at comic conventions being sold by either the pencil or ink artist. And if you were a shrewd & savvy collector you may even have the opportunity to secure a favored page of original comic art that was either inked or penciled by one of the ‘hot’ artists-of-the-moment via his co-artist on the book, at a more reasonable price than you would be able to acquire otherwise.
Well, hello 21st Century. Digital illustration has changed the game.
In today’s comic art collecting world you are often likely to find comic artist’s set up at tables selling their graphite art pages uninked. Being that the artist who drew them, or the secondary artist, if there was one, would have scanned the penciled art to a computer graphics program and completed the production art digitally. Meaning the only original production art is the original penciled pages. This is still original art but it lacks the bolder visual impact of the final printed line that you would more closely resemble the printed pages that were produced from it.
And even more the horror to purist comic art collectors, you may even come across comic artists who completely compose their art using computer graphics programs.
And – are you ready for this – selling digital prints of their illustrated pages for up to hundreds of dollars and labeling each page an ‘Artist Proof – 1 of 1.’ By Odin’s Beard!
By all mean, any artist has a right to sell their art or images of their art for whatever amount he or she sees fit. But the times definitely are a changing if you’re a long time collector.
Chuck Brouillette is a writer/artist living in Saratoga Springs, NY. You can view how he does both at ChuckBrouilette@Twitter.com