Here’s a treat for process junkies: Todd Klein, uber-letterer, runs through the creation of a page from Fables, including the ways in which Mark Buckingham and Steve Leialoha differ from traditional penciler/inker teams:
Before sending the pencils to Steve Leialoha, Bucky paints gray washes over them, as seen here, sometimes doing a bit of the inking as well. Here he’s inked Bufkin’s eyes in the last panel, and I think a bit of linework on Bungle, the glass cat, as well as the panel borders. He’s also added shrubbery in mostly darker watercolor grays where there was nothing in the pencils. This is what Steve received from Bucky, and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen art done quite this way before: doing gray tones over pencils. Steve told me it’s not a problem for him to ink them, though it takes him longer than the standard way and size, and if anything doesn’t come out quite right he fixes it on the computer after scanning his finished inks. Frankly I don’t think there are many inkers who would be able to handle this as well as Steve, who is a fine artist in his own right.
As a fan of Fables, I may be biased but, with Buckingham’s style taking on a mix of Mignola and Kirby in recent years, it’s become one of the best-looking books around for me. Seeing behind the scenes like this is great.