Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Digital Inking Help
Niccea at 7:57AM, Aug. 19, 2009
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There is one thing in my comicing that I feel is below my other aspects. I can draw a page, I can digitally color said page until the cows come home, but I can not ink the page (I little bit important).

I will start off by saying that I do not have a tablet, I don't like tablets, and if tablets are better than the one I tried once, I can't find out cause I can't afford them. I do, however, own photoshop cs2 I work with the touch pad of my laptop or a mouse if the pad really begins to bug me. However, when I draw lines, they without fail end up really shaky (not even go into the fact that I don't know where to adjust the weight). Most of the time I have to start drawing the page really big and then shrink it down to hide errors. I have gotten tired enough of this that I changed my stile all together.

Currently, I ink my drawings by playing with the levels to darken the pencil sketches and then I clean it up and get rid of smudges, fill in blank spaces, etc. This works for me, but I still want to know if there are any tips for digitally inking that is a bit smoother in my situation.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:14PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 8:25AM, Aug. 19, 2009
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Well, 1.) There's always traditional inking. You could use just about anything you feel comfortable with.

2.) Since you don't have a tablet, another option (But I would highly recommend 1 first) is you could download Paint.Net, and use the line tool to go over your pencils. But that may take a while. And might not look as good.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Niccea at 8:31AM, Aug. 19, 2009
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Ryuthehedgewolf
Well, 1.) There's always traditional inking. You could use just about anything you feel comfortable with.

2.) Since you don't have a tablet, another option (But I would highly recommend 1 first) is you could download Paint.Net, and use the line tool to go over your pencils. But that may take a while. And might not look as good.

Sorry, I left some stuff out. -.-. Traditional media and I don't get along well. Anything I do ends up smudged. This is partially cause I don't have the best dexterity, partly because I'm left handed and my grip is such that the the side of my hand runs over everything I write.

And I do use the brush tool on photoshop to trace over.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:14PM
Skullbie at 12:35PM, Aug. 19, 2009
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Don't judge all tablets for the one measly time you used it :/ A bamboo is 90$ and i've been told many times my line quality is good, it takes around a few weeks to get used to it and iron out the shakiness. It's worth learning for the brush options, undo tool and speed
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:47PM
skoolmunkee at 1:43PM, Aug. 19, 2009
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I'm not sure you have a lot of options, if you don't want to ink traditionally or use a tablet, and don't use a mouse. (Actually inking with a mouse would be only slightly less challenging than inking with a touchpad.) Darkening pencil lines works okay, and if you're stuck with pencil then you might need to adopt a style where colored pencil lines looks good (usually where the pencils are doing most of the shading).

The only real option for a touchpad user to ink, that I can think of offhand, would be vectors. Most people find vectors to be a colossal pain though, and Photoshop (although it does have basic vector tools) isn't the program to do it in. Although there are some programs (none free that I can think of) that will ‘auto smooth’ your lines, they can't do so to such a degree to compensate for touchpad wobble.

I wouldn't discount traditional inking if I were you. It can depend on the tools you use to ink… with good paper the ink dries faster, and different inkpens (which have different inks) have different drying rates too. Inking more slowly reduces smudging too. :] You could also adapt a little and start inking from the bottom-right and go upwards, so you're never resting your arm on something you've inked.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 3:49PM, Aug. 19, 2009
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Niccea
Ryuthehedgewolf
Well, 1.) There's always traditional inking. You could use just about anything you feel comfortable with.

2.) Since you don't have a tablet, another option (But I would highly recommend 1 first) is you could download Paint.Net, and use the line tool to go over your pencils. But that may take a while. And might not look as good.

Sorry, I left some stuff out. -.-. Traditional media and I don't get along well. Anything I do ends up smudged. This is partially cause I don't have the best dexterity, partly because I'm left handed and my grip is such that the the side of my hand runs over everything I write.

I'm left handed, and my stuff only rarely smudges.
Like Skool said, it all depends on what you use.
I'm using like, dollar pens (Pilot Precise are cheap, yo), and my stuff comes out great IMO.
And the paper I'm using is Cardstock, but that really doesn't matter THAT much. Unless you sharpie it to death, like I do.

I think, only pen I've used that's smudged on me is some felt-tip pens. That's it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Astar at 7:22PM, Aug. 19, 2009
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One thing you can try is the following. Ink on a layer, then just save the layer and load it into inkscape (it's free), select and goto menu path/trace bitmap (you can play here to see what gives you best results. Et voila! move, your vector image a bit, select the bitmap, delete it. move back your vector image and export as png. Now you can load it back into photshop or whatever you use. You'll notice that the lines will be much straighter, this of course depends a lot on the settings you use, also I'd say that it works better with outlines without too much detail.

anyway hope this helps you.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:02AM
Eddie Jensen at 6:02AM, Aug. 22, 2009
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don't ink, you clearly don't want to ink. you don't they're all stupid excuses, its clear you don't want to ink you just want an easy fix to make your art cleaner. Do cleaner pencils, because ink doesn't seem to be for you. Theres nothing htat says you HAVE to ink, plenty of artwork looks good without ink, the point is it has to be clean.

As far as if you desperately feel the need to ink, these are stupid excuses the reason none of these have worked for you is because your not practiced you act like ink is just something you do, its easy its nothing as hard as pencilling and coloring, cause that stuff is hard. Inking is a skill, it takes practice, you need to work hard, if you want your ink to look good, then your gonna have to ink alot, while it looks like crap eventually it gets better. An important thing to think of when you ink, is exactly like when you color light and shadow. Okay I'm sure as you claim you can color (I can't be assed to acctually look at your art I'll just take your word) that you have to be aware of light sources and where the shadow drops, its the same for ink. Where the shadow drops the ink should be thicker and heavier. However when it comes to ink things that appear closer should also have thicker clearer linework. Inking is a skill, its not something your gonna find in a tutorial and be a genius at.
if I was a teapot I think I'd be orange.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:18PM
Aurora Borealis at 1:12PM, Aug. 23, 2009
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Niccea
Ryuthehedgewolf
Sorry, I left some stuff out. -.-. Traditional media and I don't get along well. Anything I do ends up smudged. This is partially cause I don't have the best dexterity, partly because I'm left handed and my grip is such that the the side of my hand runs over everything I write.

And I do use the brush tool on photoshop to trace over.

Well, I am left handed, drag my arm across the paper and smudge things too… solution? Start inking from the right side of the page.

Suggestion: take your pencils, scan them at high dpi (600 would be minimum, try 1200 if you can), find the “threshold” option in photoshop menu, apply that to your scanned pencils (perhaps tweak it a little) and scale them down to 300 dpi, see how that looks.

What threshold does is basically turn your pencil lineart into solid b&w, and the higher dpi makes the lines less jagged after you resize the art. You might have to do some clean up here and there (stray pixels, pencil smudges etc) but it should take you less time than to ink the entire page.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
Niccea at 8:23AM, Aug. 25, 2009
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Aurora Borealis
Niccea
Ryuthehedgewolf
Sorry, I left some stuff out. -.-. Traditional media and I don't get along well. Anything I do ends up smudged. This is partially cause I don't have the best dexterity, partly because I'm left handed and my grip is such that the the side of my hand runs over everything I write.

And I do use the brush tool on photoshop to trace over.

Well, I am left handed, drag my arm across the paper and smudge things too… solution? Start inking from the right side of the page.

Suggestion: take your pencils, scan them at high dpi (600 would be minimum, try 1200 if you can), find the “threshold” option in photoshop menu, apply that to your scanned pencils (perhaps tweak it a little) and scale them down to 300 dpi, see how that looks.

What threshold does is basically turn your pencil lineart into solid b&w, and the higher dpi makes the lines less jagged after you resize the art. You might have to do some clean up here and there (stray pixels, pencil smudges etc) but it should take you less time than to ink the entire page.
Thanks a lot. That looks so much better than just fiddling with the levels.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:14PM
legacyhero at 6:21AM, Aug. 26, 2009
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I agree with some of the other responses.
I don't think you should feel compelled to ink.
There are many great artistic styles and effects that can be achieved through pencils alone!

You also have the advantage of being an accomplished digital colorist.
That will only enhance your work, whether you choose to ink your pencils or not.

Discovering ones artistic style is a very long process that never truly ends.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:34PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 11:25AM, Aug. 26, 2009
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legacyhero
I agree with some of the other responses.
I don't think you should feel compelled to ink.
There are many great artistic styles and effects that can be achieved through pencils alone!

You also have the advantage of being an accomplished digital colorist.
That will only enhance your work, whether you choose to ink your pencils or not.

Discovering ones artistic style is a very long process that never truly ends.

So very true.

In fact, you might be able to do a kind of “painted” style.
Like, paint over your lines, and just use your pencils as more or less guidelines.

Somewhat like the art-style used in Mirror's Edge, for the cutscenes, or some cartoons.

Gonna use my good friend, TWulf as an example: Link, Notice how instead of actually “inking” everything, he just goes over the lines with the color of the object. Such as the skin, or the armband, or whatever.

Niccea, I think if you practiced, you could achieve something similar to that.
Just keep at it, and don't ever give up :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
Aurora Borealis at 1:57PM, Aug. 28, 2009
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Niccea
Thanks a lot. That looks so much better than just fiddling with the levels.
Don't mention it, always glad to help if I can. :D

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM

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