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GRCC 2021: Jeremy Clark Q&A: Inking in Comics

Comic Books

GRCC 2021: Jeremy Clark Q&A: Inking in Comics

The inker behind TMNT: The Last Ronin covers reveals his craft.

Jeremy Clark, prolific inker for titles such as Lady Death and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin sat down at Grand Rapids Comic Con to answer questions and reveal the tools and practices of the trade. 

First of all, Clark talked about his current big project, The Last Ronin, which he does covers for. Clark echoed Jae Lee by saying he wasn’t given any specific information about what the story was. “Ultimately, we didn’t know who the Last Ronin was either” when being first tasked to do covers. 

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In regards to that limited series, Clark spoke highly of it. “It’s very dark, people are dying left and right tin it…it looks like maybe a Zack Snyder DC film.” 

“It’s really well done…[it’s] not a comedic book at all.” 

GRCC 2021: Jeremy Clark Q&A: Inking in Comics
IDW

When asked how closely he works with a penciler, he revealed that often it’s a close relationship. Especially because “every single part of the process has to be approved in editorial…you’re constantly working in tandem.” 

Pressed to answer what his favorite series to work on was, Clark said he enjoys everything he works on in the moment. It’s “like opening up a new present every time I get a new project.” He continued, “I don’t know what it’s going to be…and most of the time I’m always pleasantly surprised.”

Doing roughly 60-70 covers a year, Clark revels in working on wildly different titles and genres. Variety, Clark speculates, is why he isn’t burnt out from such a hard work ethic.

Regarding the importance of covers, he stressed how crucial they are in selling the product: “If everybody hates that cover…they won’t look inside even if the interiors are great.” While he used to do interiors, he says he’s glad he was able to “escape that.”

GRCC 2021: Jeremy Clark Q&A: Inking in Comics

Clark stressed that you have to be three things in order to succeed in comics: “You have to be good, you have to be fast, and you have to be kind.” However, even if you just have two of those, you can get consistent work. 

Lastly, I asked Clark if he ever worked with a penciler who “let him do his own thing” and have more freedom to embellish. Clark answered that he’s worked with tight and loose pencilers but there’s a “happy equilibrium between them.” 

Preferably, he likes the penciler to have done roughly 65% of the initial work, which gives him enough room to “play a little bit in the sandbox.” 

He closed with a useful analogy to understand his essential yet often undervalued and misunderstood job: “Think of the penciler as the builder of the house…but it’s empty on the inside. It’s the inkers job to be the interior decorator.”

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