Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

Hand inked or Digital inked
mattchee at 9:25AM, Dec. 3, 2008
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Wow. Thats the second recommendation today for Paint Tool SAI.

I will definitely have to look into this!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
Druchii at 6:40AM, Dec. 5, 2008
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I don't think I will ever do it digitally full on. There are elements of my strips, the word balloons, text, and certain backgrounds that will either be repeating again or just save me time remdering it in Illustrator, but the art itself is all hand drawn and inked.

I just see the cpu as another tool to get to the final product. I would love to learn to do typography in a wonderful freehanded way, but I don't want to spend time on that, when I'd rather focus on the illustrations themselves.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
ttyler at 7:47PM, Dec. 25, 2008
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hand inked all the way. I wouldn't even know how to digital ink.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
Senshuu at 10:14PM, Dec. 27, 2008
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My digital sketching and lineart is so much more dynamic and interesting, not to mention faster, so I've started doing both my comics totally digitally…

…but there's a certain feel that comes from ink that I'd like for one of my comics. :( If I had a light table I'd just print out my digital sketches and ink on top of them, hehe.

Yet I'm slowly striving to achieve that ink-feel in my digital lineart. I think it's that my digilineart is way too clean, which I've at least been trying to use to my advantage.

People definitely should use what they're most comfortable with, but if you try a tablet, give it some time. Apparently it takes some people a while to get used to it. (Didn't take me long, though.) And if you're going to try digital lineart… PaintTool Sai. :D :D :D
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
mattchee at 9:21AM, Dec. 29, 2008
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Senshuu
My digital sketching and lineart is so much more dynamic and interesting, not to mention faster, so I've started doing both my comics totally digitally…

…but there's a certain feel that comes from ink that I'd like for one of my comics. :( If I had a light table I'd just print out my digital sketches and ink on top of them, hehe.

Yet I'm slowly striving to achieve that ink-feel in my digital lineart. I think it's that my digilineart is way too clean, which I've at least been trying to use to my advantage.

People definitely should use what they're most comfortable with, but if you try a tablet, give it some time. Apparently it takes some people a while to get used to it. (Didn't take me long, though.) And if you're going to try digital lineart… PaintTool Sai. :D :D :D

There's that SAI again. Gotta try that out.

Y'know, back when I used to ink for other folks. Talking traditional here. They would email me their pencils and I'd change the pencil lines to a light blue or cyan (think non-photo blue pencil color), and then print them out and ink right over it. Then when I scanned em back in I'd just pull the blue back out.

I think this is common practice because every single ink job I had taken, I only ever got scans of pencils, never originals.

So, if you still want to draw digitally, like you said, but ink traditional, that might be a better method than lightboxing. I'd imagine trying to ink (especially on bristol, where a lot of details won't come through) on a lightboxed image might get kind of hairball, and is probably tough on the eyes.

Just a thought.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
DrLuck at 3:36AM, Jan. 9, 2009
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As probably said, it just kinda depends on what you're most comfortable with or what fits the content of the comic. I myself have tried digital and traditional inking to find that I absolutely hate digital. Not saying that digital inking is bad, I just don't personally enjoy the process of it. I'd much rather do traditional.

And to add on to that, if you're experimenting with different inking styles, from the traditional standpoint, I'd recommend trying different tools. You got technical pens (I personally find these things restrictive after making a 10 page comic with them, being I love thick lines and they never give me thick enough of a line), brush pen (love this thing to death; all line widths with one simple tool), and nibs (again, I like thick lines so I'm not fond of these, though I've seen sound truly outstanding work from people that use these).

Another thing I like about brush pens is that it can give you different textures easily. Need some solid blacks? They fill in right easily. Smoke/fog effect? A bit of dry brushing can do that. Black and white comic and you want a blood splatter? Dip the brush and flick the ink onto the page. You can make something look burnt or grimy too with the dry brush technique.

So, if you're debating over one or the other, try some different tool with traditional too while you're trying out some digital stuff.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:17PM
Aurora Borealis at 3:19PM, Jan. 10, 2009
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I either ink on paper or just darken the pencils in photoshop (mess around with brightness/contrast and/or threshold). And I ink only when the pencils are too light or too much “paper” is being picked up to easily clean it out with contrast.

I tried inking digitally, but it was taking too long to get anywhere and it actually took longer than it did on paper.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
CharleyHorse at 6:24AM, Jan. 12, 2009
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The good thing about digital inking is that one can zoom in on any area and get everything just right. The bad thing about digital inking is that the temptation to do this can become overwhelming for some ‘inkers’ thus slowing down the process and even killing some of the liveliness of the ink lines.

I try to split the difference by hand inking and then scanning in the results and THEN zooming in here and there to correct problem areas. It works for me.

In the case of someone like Mushroomcomix I would worry that the switch over to nothing but digital inking would result in a complete style change . . . simply due to the urge to make everything perfect.

I've been tempted to switch over to digital inking using a tablet, but I rather think I won't after all. For better or worse my inking style is my own and I'd rather ‘perfect’ it with my old school brush and ink than go entirely digital. If I were trying to make money from art, however, then I would definitely consider going all digital for both speed and art consistency.

That's the other thing I wanted to point out. Inking is an art form in its own right and it's quite easy for some of us to execute far better pencils than inks. One reason that amateurs stay amateurs is that they cannot always be equally good in all the important areas of cartooning. The computer graphics revolution allows such people to develop speed and consistency in areas that they would possibly fall short in if they were restricted to doing everything the old-fashioned way. It's an equalizer and there's nothing wrong with that.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
dave63 at 6:49PM, Jan. 23, 2009
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I have not tried any digital methods so, I am just assuming here. The physical contact between my hand, the pen and the paper just seems to be the best way to get the images that I want. I draw characters without eyes. I just hate drawing eyes, but it's a bit of a challenge to get facial expressions and show emotion without eyes. The slightest raising of an eyebrow or curling of a lip can show what I want. You just get a feeling for where you want to go when you push into the pen. I just can't imagine a digital medium being as intimate as the real thing. As I say, I haven't tried but I am happy with my pen.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:09PM
Senshuu at 2:02AM, Jan. 24, 2009
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mattchee
There's that SAI again. Gotta try that out.

Y'know, back when I used to ink for other folks. Talking traditional here. They would email me their pencils and I'd change the pencil lines to a light blue or cyan (think non-photo blue pencil color), and then print them out and ink right over it. Then when I scanned em back in I'd just pull the blue back out.

I think this is common practice because every single ink job I had taken, I only ever got scans of pencils, never originals.

So, if you still want to draw digitally, like you said, but ink traditional, that might be a better method than lightboxing. I'd imagine trying to ink (especially on bristol, where a lot of details won't come through) on a lightboxed image might get kind of hairball, and is probably tough on the eyes.

Just a thought.

OH yeah. I forgot about that. I think I did that once a long time ago. XD Dur lol.

CharleyHorse
The good thing about digital inking is that one can zoom in on any area and get everything just right. The bad thing about digital inking is that the temptation to do this can become overwhelming for some ‘inkers’ thus slowing down the process and even killing some of the liveliness of the ink lines.

I did that for a long, long time. Sai being the awesome program that it is and me starting to sketch and lineart while zoomed out or at least 100% made that a looot less of a problem. Detailing should only ever be done after the basics are finished, anyway (a problem most beginning artists tend to have - c'mon, skeletons first!).
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:27PM
skoolmunkee at 6:55PM, Jan. 24, 2009
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Did someone say SAI? Sai is great. I just started using it a couple weeks ago but I'm sold. It can be a little buggy but I like its results much more than any other program I've tried.
  IT'S OLD BATMAN
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:42PM
roidvoid at 3:18PM, Jan. 29, 2009
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i would focus on getting the pencils right first. get good first! Study the basics.
I wouldn't recommend going digital until you know what you're doing with traditional media.

For right now I would focus on doing things by hand. Going digital will not help your art only point out your weaknesses
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:09PM
Eddie Jensen at 6:44AM, Feb. 23, 2009
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putting speed into the equation of traditional vs digital is stupid because it can take just as long rubbing out the pencil lines can be removed as easy as getting a lightbox and scanning is hardly something that you can say slows you down. I preffer inking traditionally because it feels better also my original artwork looks better I have something to keep. if my computer crashes I don't have to start from scratch which is a bigtime + for me also it takes me alot less time because I can't go back and fix every little thing because done is done and I just have to improve it through more ink or balance it out elsewhere, if I ink digitally the perfectionist in me tinkers endlessly and it takes twice the amount of time. But thats me Wether you should ink digitally or by hand is a pretty stupid question no offence because you can get the same results and the same times with both its basically about what your most comfortable with. People often ask me if I ink digitally because my lines are so clean, but I don't and thats an example of how you can get the same result with 2 different mediums.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 12:18PM
Niccea at 10:16AM, Feb. 23, 2009
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I use my computer for inking. It is because I'm left handed and my hand tends to drag across the paper as I write or draw. The end result is messy and smudged. At least with digital I can correct mistakes easily and avoid getting smudges all over the place.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:12PM
Jabali at 4:29PM, March 13, 2009
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roidvoid
i would focus on getting the pencils right first. get good first! Study the basics.
I wouldn't recommend going digital until you know what you're doing with traditional media.

For right now I would focus on doing things by hand. Going digital will not help your art only point out your weaknesses

I have to agree with Roidvoid. I've seen lots of amazing artist using only digital media to do their artwork, I also seen lots of traditional artist using pencils, pens and or brush to do their artwork and a came to this conclusion. Good artists can do good work with any media.

Doing great art takes discipline and practice. Digital media its great but it's not a shortcut or a “magic art pill” :robo: .
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
cool guy at 6:50AM, March 14, 2009
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I hand ink every thing. It may take some time but It looks better for me.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:45AM
tiffawolf at 6:44AM, March 25, 2009
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i use plain old led pencil and shade and detail things like fur down to the last detail than i go over it with cell shading in photoshop and use a few specual effects
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
repoman at 11:55AM, March 25, 2009
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I used to draw and ink everything by hand. I had a whole arsenal of blue pencils, hard and soft lead pencils, quills, Pitt pens, Windsor-Newton and Raphael Kolinsky brushes, and various types of bristol board from Eon and Strathmore (300,400,500 series). I loved it.

But I've been all digital for about 6 months now, and I find that I can get the exact same results from a Cintiq using Manga Studio that I can from traditional inking. I'm hard pressed myself to distinguish pieces I that inked by hand versus stuff done on the computer.

The big advantage for digital inking is that it is much faster than traditional methods. Plus you can erase mistakes and Manga Studio has great panel makers, rulers, and perspective rulers that save a ton of time.

I miss having a finished piece I can hold in my hands, but digital for me is the way to go.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:05PM
slackmaster at 6:34AM, March 27, 2009
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i suck at inking. BUT i plan at geting this dvd to help. maybe it can help you to. heres a trailer of the dvd


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTx8QrwsSOY

i suck at spelling. if any inking invise please late me know.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:48PM
slackmaster at 6:46AM, March 27, 2009
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sorry bad link



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MTx8QrwsSOY&feature=PlayList&p=0169C844B530471D&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6

i suck at spelling. if any inking invise please late me know.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:48PM
slackmaster at 6:47AM, March 27, 2009
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you know what? just go to youtube and type in inker ( or ) inking dvd. you should find it vary fast.

i suck at spelling. if any inking invise please late me know.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:48PM
Tempest_Lavalle at 2:12AM, March 28, 2009
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I think on this subject, you should go with what you think looks best for your style of art. Or what you enjoy doing more. I personally love hand inking my work and love seeing others hand inked stuff that's enhanced with photoshop or illustartor etc. Your art is what you make of it, so go with what you think suits your comic/piece.

Also, if you are going to ink it digitally, I suggest if you aren't already familiar with your tablet, you get familiar with it. Digital inking can be tricky at first. I've only had my tablet for a few months and I LOVE IT.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:08PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 7:25AM, March 28, 2009
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Well, I've kind of tried both. Although my digital inks were with a mouse, and a line tool, so it's not really digital inks (well, not the way you're all thinking of :P)

But anyway, I much MUCH prefer traditionally inked stuff (or, hand inked). I'm mostly traditional, except for my lettering, cleaning up, blah blah blah. But everything else is done traditionally.

I ink with my super awesome Pentel Pocket Brush Pen. Which is still working perfectly after about a month. I also use a few different microns (hopefully gonna get Radiographs soon) but I only recommend Microns if you're not serious, or you're broke. Radiographs are definitely the better version (or so I've heard) but yeah, I use my Pentel Pocket Brush Pen to go about the page and basically ink it, then use my microns for panel borders, word bubbles, words (which is later erased and text is inserted in Photoshop), and I also use microns for shading, and basic clean-up.

Then I go through with my copics and yeah. I'm going to be getting a black copic marker today instead of using sharpies, because lately, my sharpies have been ‘flicking’ ink across the page when I color in big areas. Which is really, really lame. Although, the fumes are terrible.

But I heartily recommend Traditional inking, because it's what I've always done, and what I probably/maybe always will do. Unless of course they raise the price of ink or something, lol!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:16PM
darkwaterfrey at 1:52PM, April 25, 2009
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Hello! An interesting topic this most certainly is. The industry method of inking has changed so much since the inception of the digital age. I've noticed that there are a number of high profile comics which are simply NOT INKED AT ALL; rather the very tight pencils have been scanned and darkened, and the digital colors added on top. Conversely, I've seen many examples (such as Eric Powells THE GOON) of a multi-medium approach of finishing the page using all types of materials. The root cause of this transformation is the scanning technology, no longer do comics have to be black and white, and then photographed and burned onto a printing plate. Comics now can be all sorts of mediums that, back in the day, couldn't be properly captured by the printing process.


Now what, might you ask, does any of this has to do with my question?

Ah, my point is…don't limit yourself in thinking of “inking” at all–try all sorts of media, and find what you like working with best. Not quite as simple as “whatever works for you”…but TRY everything–and anything before limiting to either by hand OR by computer–you might end up using some hybrid system of finishing your pages with BOTH hand materials and digital ones.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:08PM
Aurora Borealis at 9:11PM, April 25, 2009
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Niccea
I use my computer for inking. It is because I'm left handed and my hand tends to drag across the paper as I write or draw. The end result is messy and smudged. At least with digital I can correct mistakes easily and avoid getting smudges all over the place.
Ha, I'm left handed and drag my hand across the paper too. This is why I try to pencil and ink starting from the upper right corner of the page.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
chaves at 4:52AM, May 16, 2009
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A bit late, so sorry for necroing.

I've always been a kind of paper+brush (daVinci, marten's hair, #1 or 2) fanatic. It hasn't been since I decided to start Robomeks that I made the switch to fully digital.

While I've had a Wacom Intuos for more than 10 years now I've barely used it to actually draw with it. So, let me tell you, the transition from pencil to a tablet pen can be hard and slow. It can take you easily a month if not more until you feel comfortable.

Then there's the decision on the program to use. Penciling (or the digital equivalent) can be done with almost anything but inking (or the digital equivalent) is quite a delicate subject, and I understand the OP concerns.

After trying Photoshop, Illustrator (which I used for months on Robomeks), Painter and SAI I've finally decided on SAI. It's cheap, it's fast (and I mean it) and thanks to the ability to rotate the canvas, flip it instantly, and several options to smooth your lines I've reached a point where I can't tell apart a page made by me by hand from a digital one. Mainly, the option to smooth trace your lines is essential when using a tablet. Because even with tricks like placing a paper over it your pulse won't be the same as with a real brush.

So, if you want to go digital, go ahead. It's faster. There's Control+Z (a life changer). And using the appropriate tool you can work on a digital page the same way you'd do it on real paper. You'll need to invest some time to get the hang of it, though. In my case, it took me 75 pages.


last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
NickGuy at 12:06PM, May 16, 2009
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its harder to let your style shine through with digital inks, because everything comes out looking so slick and wet. Im a very “dry” inker, so i have to force digital to be wrong.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:15PM
chaves at 4:12PM, May 16, 2009
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NickGuy
its harder to let your style shine through with digital inks, because everything comes out looking so slick and wet. Im a very “dry” inker, so i have to force digital to be wrong.

Hmm, yes, I can see how some inking styles can be harder to emulate digitally. But, after all, it's all about creating the appropriate custom brushes and tinkering with the tools. That and creating a bunch of ugly pages until you get what you want :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:40AM
Aurora Borealis at 7:40AM, July 29, 2009
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Ok, I used to ink on paper and I finally decided to check out SAI about a week ago… and WOW, I like the results :D

I could never get this kind of results with a gelpen, haha.

last edited on July 14, 2011 11:08AM
mfc at 5:14PM, Aug. 13, 2009
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I've done digital inking for a while; but to me it isn't the same as drawing on quality paper with quality inks.

I've had my Graphire 4 tablet for almost 4 years, now; and it's nearly useless to be unless I'm coloring something, or tweaking my scanned inks.

I guess it's a matter of preference, really. I love having the control over your lines with a pen and paper. However, there is a lot more room for error when you're working with a tablet. Bless the “undo,” shortcut.

I've been inking my revamped strip http://www.drunkduck.com/Slice_of_Life for a few days now, and the feel of the entire thing completely changed, I think. It looks a bit more refined, and less clunky and vectorized.

I ‘unno. XD I’m just rambling, now.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:01PM

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