I have to rant for a moment or so, and although it's not my intention to step on a few toes, that is precisely what is going to happen, and I apologize in advance for this.
But, it needs to be said.
I realize that we live in a digital age and most people showcase their work for the seemingly gratuitous sense of instant gratification that it provides. It also (A) does an injustice to the craft of inking, and (B) a disservice to the artist in question.
What I'm getting at is I frequently see a lot of 'aspiring' inkers label themselves as inkers, and due to the lack of knowledge from their circle or peers, are believing this is true, knowing inherently that they still lack certain levels of experience and know-how. Don't get me wrong: I'm certainly not the type of person to have a 'high and mighty' attitude about my own skill set or try to lord it over those I deem 'unworthy': I know that I am good enough to be considered a professional, but it is far more than my own perception that determines this. However, I am realistic enough to realize that (as in any professions) there are 'levels to this shit'. We all had to start from somewhere. But, the true tragedy is to remain at the exact same level that you began at. There are many different definitions of what makes a 'Professional comic book inker". The answers
So, what does?
In my personal opinion, you are a professional at something when you can maintain a steady level of income (in most cases, the ONLY source of income) at a particular craft, are viewed among professionals in that business as such, publishers pay you for your work, and you are regarded as such by the purchasing public.
Now, I expect that some will have a different opinion of this, and that's fine: this is only my personal opinion. But, it is an opinion that is based on many years of experience, several published credits by many publishers under my belt, and the willingness to accept that I am no where near as good as I want to be, or envision myself to be.
That is where I have an issue with it: I see many aspiring inkers who clearly have no foundation for the basis of their work or craft and any attempts to tell them otherwise results in either the opinionated party being labeled as a bully or some such. So, what is one to do?
Beyonce is an entertainer. So is Katy Perry. Their levels of success are determined by several factors, yet there is no denying that both are professionals at what they do. Now, that guy sitting on the corner singing with a cup next to him? Maybe he believes himself to be a professional as well. It's all about perception, mainly. But, being honest with yourself and your ability does play a factor as well.
I have learned through experience that those who truly want to learn, improve and grow will seek out those who are on a path that he or she desires to follow. On the other hand, there are those who (obviously show a rudimentary skill set at best) continue to post up inks who have no apparent understanding of the many factors that go into inking: lighting, textures, tones, line weights, foreground, middle ground, and background. When to delve more into your own style and when to adhere as closely to the penciler as possible. All of these things (and many more) go into an Inker's decision-making when it comes to a page. Sadly, I see some who will ink something simply because someone else did it.....not even wondering WHY that person chose that particular page for practice.
Like I said above: I am sure that some feelings will get hurt a bit by this, but believe me: this is not intended to piss on your parade. Rather, this is intended to motivate you to improve. Not only for the sake of self-improvement, but also for the sake of growth and a love for the medium.
Or....you can continue to remain on the same track and post your work for likes on Facebook. I've yet to see a publisher hire someone simply because of that. I sincerely doubt if I ever will. If I do, then the line between fad and skill just became that much more dimmer and diminishes the true purpose of inking even moreso.