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  • hilarybarta

A Brush With Destiny

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

Many years ago Canadian artist George Freeman was visiting Chicago, and somehow he ended up in my apartment. Possibly for one of the wild Halloween parties my roomate and I were hosting back then. He was probably in Chicago for a convention, or because he was doing something for First Comics. First art director Alex Wald might have brought him. George is an amazing artist, and was known to me as the artist on Captain Canuck. In any case, George wandered into my studio and looked at the current inking job on my drawing board. He asked a simple question. "Why aren't you using a brush?" At the beginning of my caeer in comics I was an inker, and I was using a crow quill pen to do most of the work. George immediately saw that I was pushing the pen to create lines for which the brush was best suited. Sometimes I pushed the quill so hard to make fat tapered lines that the quill would snap, ink splattering across the page. Why was I using the pen to do the job of the brush? I was afraid.

When I got my first inking work I was intimidated by the professional pencil drawings I had to ink over. I lacked confidence in my control of the brush, and was using the more easily mastered pen as a crutch. George's question hit me like a bucket of ice cold truth, and from that very day I started using the brush as much as I was able. I became more and more comfortable with the brush, and it has been my primary inking tool for decades. When I switched to the brush I found my home as an artist. My own little inky planetoid. Thanks for the push, George.

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