This lack of fluidity can mean that the inking process extinguishes some of the energy held within the pencils. This is mainly due to the fact that I have to hold the pen a certain way - less like a brush and more like a - well - pen. Of course, control and patience is important when inking. Not everything can be a sketch. Figures, poses, landscapes, expressions, whatever the subjects are - need refining, in the same way a sculptor can take a raw mass of material, and carve something into it. Body language and form can usually do a lot more for expression of movement than the use of line - I prefer to show the trajectory of movement within a panel through spacial relations between things, over speed lines or 'blurring' movement. But it's easy to lose momentum when you have to keep concentrating on how you're holding the pen in case you might fuck up the line, straight or curved.
I think the reason I've always been so fond of fine-liners is because it's a cheap(ish), dry, easy-to-use tool, that I've seen other artists use for inking more than other tools. I know that ink dipping pans and brushes are more famously used for inking, but the messiness and expenses involved can be a little intimidating. Especially if the room you're renting stupidly has mint green walls that are very good at showing up large splashes of ink.
Well, I'm out of that room and I've cracked out the old caligraphy pen and Indian ink, and attempted to get good at that. I still find the same problems with it as I've always had, namely, blotting ink all over completed sections of the drawing and ruining my fucking day. How do other artists avoid this?!
Another thing is the fact that you have to keep dipping the pen to get more ink. I'm getting used to it, but it did mean ruining lines, because the ink ran out, and getting more ink meant throwing off the amount being used, resulting in thicker lines that should be thinner to be more uniform. That said, it's pretty great to be able to change up the line thickness via pressure. I've always liked using line weight to give a sense of gravity to an image as well as lighting, texture or depth. It's also fun trying to make it all come together in a way that's visually consistent.
Aside from inks - by using graphite sticks instead of conventional or mechanical pencils, I've been able to use the whole of the sharpened end of the pencil, as opposed to the lead point of a normal pencil. I've then been able to work into it with a mechanical pencil to bring out the deets. This looks good on smooth paper and I'm sure it looks great on textured paper too. However - graphite doesn't erase very easily, so it's not as great when trying to ink over the top of it, unless the graphite intends to be left there.
Experimenting with new materials is so important for comic artists. It's a super fluid process, this art malarkey, and your ideas of what art is to you should be changing as much as you do as a person. In comics, I think this is especially true. It can be easy for attitudes towards art to stagnate when too many people try to emulate Marvel comic styles, though I'll be the last person to say that admiration of a certain style is a bad thing. I can look at my wall right now and see R. Crumb, Moebius, Frank Miller and Ralph Steadman-style art drawn by my own hand. Everyone starts out that way!
I think it stems from this idea that brand comes first for an artist in this online age, and people confuse that with style as an identity, which creates an echo chamber of style within online communities: copy-of-a-copy stuff. Comics are a very unique storytelling format, but it's vague enough of a concept that all methods of art can be applied to it, from fine art, to graphic design, to photography, to sculpture or performance art. Style is not as important as voice, in fact it's a consequence of voice. There are millions of artists out there with varying degrees of experience and abilities, and the ones that stick out are the ones with a clear indication of voice.
While there's a very clear style that is successful, it can be easy when looking at a wall of comics to think that only one way of drawing is the 'right' way. But just because the Jim Lees and Rob Liefelds of the world have a similar commercial style, it doesn't mean that they don't have a ton of sketchbooks at home filled with personal visual experimentation. How else could they have created their style in the first place?
It's cool seeing how artists like Picasso or Goya changed their style based on their changing perceptons of their reality. Likewise, It's cool seeing how other comic artists have changed their style over the years to reflect their perspective of what comics are to them. Jack Kirby and Mick McMahon are two comic artists I think of that were like this.
Even if artists return time after time to a certain technique that they're drawn to (pun not intentional), by exploring different materials, you get to visually represent things differently and develop your ability to draw and communicate too. Investing in a WACOM tablet is good, but so is investing in paper and charcoal.