Revised post: More on Frank Godwin’s methods — the penciling and inking process . . .

Note: This is a revised version of a post that I originally posted in February 2014. Also, the image shown is much better than the earlier one.

By the way, I expect to have a certain exciting announcement (well, exciting to me, anyway) within the next two weeks or so.

—Tom Sawyer (6-29-15)

Two edifying images — which further supports the apparent relationship between the penciled drawings and inked drawings discussed in the an earlier post — is the following image, from the second panel of the unfinished September 21, 1959, strip.

The final syndicated Rusty Riley daily was the one for September 19, 1959. Since the strip under discussion was dated 9-21, which was the following Monday, the 9-21 strip would have been the first strip of the next story.

The panel shows an image of Rusty — partially inked. From the top of Rusty’s neck, downward (and a little bit upward, as well), the picture is un-inked pencil. A little pencil is visible in the inked area (not necessarily visible in this image). Here again, as in the penciled image of Patty Miles shown in the earlier post, it seems that the pencil drawing probably gives a very good idea of what the final inking would have looked like.

Indeed, in the drawing below, the pencil and ink are so consistent in style, that the pencil almost appears to be a part of the ink drawing — except for the fact that the penciling is gray, and not black.

pencils2714a 150

Here is a detail of a portion of the image, and you can see a mixture of inked and un-inked parts. It’s interesting to see the “textures” of the pencil lines. I suspect that Godwin intended to do further inking on Rusty’s head:

pencils2714a near

I believe that pencil preliminary drawings (what one might call underdrawings) such as the foregoing (and the one discussed in the earlier post) were the norm for Godwin. However, although I have not made a systematic study of the subject, it is my impression that in the Rusty Riley strips, there is seldom any obvious evidence of preliminary drawings. Presumably Godwin or the syndicate carefully erased almost all the remaining signs of pencil. (However, remnants of preliminary pencil-lettering and guidelines for lettering have occasionally been observed.)

One of the interesting things about the unfinished strips is that the inking did not proceed in a “chronological” fashion. In the September 21 strip, the first panel is not inked at all. The second panel is inked a little. The third panel (partially visible here) is fully inked. I have a later strip that appears to be fully inked, or nearly so (but without speech balloons and lettering).

And, interestingly, although the first panel (shown in the earlier post) is fully pencilled (or nearly so), the image of Patty in the panel shown here has barely been started.

—Tom Sawyer

February 9, 2014

Revised June 29, 2015

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