Comic Talk, Tips and Tricks

So how do you guys ink your comics?
Swivel at 5:32PM, June 29, 2008
posts: 3
joined: 2-10-2008
I've been experimenting with different pens lately and I got to wondering: what the heck does everyone else use? Is there anyone out there who still uses traditional mediums to ink their work, or is it all digital now? (I haven't the resources to try out a tablet so I honestly don't know if it's easier or more tedious to use than a regular pen, but I might get to it eventually.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Skullbie at 5:37PM, June 29, 2008
posts: 4,805
joined: 12-9-2007
Use both-
I Ink by hand with microns on bristol board. Then i clean it in the computer so the lines looks smooth and dark.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:46PM
Frostflowers at 6:53AM, June 30, 2008
posts: 689
joined: 10-8-2006
I ink digitally - but I've got a handful of ink bottles and nibs lying around, awaiting the day when I have the patience to ink by hand again. Inking by hand is a lot of fun, and it can turn out really pretty if you know what you're doing, but scanning my inks always makes them look awkward.

For me, there's a huge advantage to inking digitally - I am a very messy artist, and my hands shake quite a bit, which means that inking the old fashioned way ends up with misplaced lines and splotches where there should be no splotches. When inking digitally, I have that handy “undo” function, after all. :)
The Continued Misadventures of Bonebird - a poor bird's quest for the ever-elusive and delicious apples.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:31PM
lba at 7:36AM, June 30, 2008
posts: 2,688
joined: 5-29-2007
I do all my inks by hand with a couple Faber Castell Pitt pens, some sharpies and an ink bottle and brush. I personally find inking with a tablet more tedious and slower, but I don't happen to like the set up of looking at my screen rather than my drawing surface to begin with so I just prefer to spend more time on it traditionally. About 3/4 of my work is still traditional. On top of that I have very steady hands so I don't really have to worry about mess or anything.

The trick is just when converting your linework to pure black instead of the purplish off tint that the scanner produces from the pens. There's about ten million different ways to do it, and it's different for everyone.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:29PM
mattchee at 9:03AM, June 30, 2008
posts: 347
joined: 1-18-2008
When I inked traditionally i pretty much used rapidographs only. I mimicked brush work, though– and started experimenting with brushes before making the leap to digital. When I do some traditional now, I use brush pens… Faber Castell makes a good one, and I also like the ones that Pigma (micron's brand) makes… though they don't seem to hold up as long as i'd like them to.

I do everything digitally on a Wacom now. I'd estimate that i get stuff done twice as fast now. Its just a matter of getting used to the tablet. Its not as intuitive as you'd think… but once you get the hang of it, it becomes totally natural.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
skoolmunkee at 11:21AM, June 30, 2008
posts: 7,058
joined: 1-2-2006
I have a perfectly lovely Pentel brush pen with refillable cartridges. I can't stand inking with fineline pens any more, even though I'm not so great with the brush. I used to use a Kuretake refillable brush pen, but once I used a Pentel I saw how inferior the Kuretake was. Pentel has more brush elasticity, better control, and much darker ink.

The only digital inking I've been comfortable with was on a Cintiq- and the price tag is pretty damn steep for something I'd only use maybe 2 hours a week. (I try to convince myself that if I bought one, I'd draw more- but deep down I know that wouldn't work.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:41PM
VagueZ at 12:34PM, June 30, 2008
posts: 14
joined: 3-10-2007
I'm looking to pick up a tablet (as a birthday present, because I'm cheap like that), and haven't really experimented with that so much, but at the moment I ink with Microns, which I use to go over pretty much finished pencils.

My scanner can't pick up a lot of subtlety with my inking, so I just don't sweat it. I just use my pens to get a fair lineart up and then worry about the rest when I get it into GIMP.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:38PM
Mirre at 1:54PM, June 30, 2008
posts: 48
joined: 2-13-2006
I ink ze traditional way with usual pen. Bigger black areas like hair or clothes goes digital though.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:02PM
theninjap at 3:31PM, June 30, 2008
posts: 26
joined: 1-29-2007
Based on Scott McCloud's recommendation in, I think, “Making Comics,” I've been using a Windsor Newton #7 Finest Sable Size 0 brush and Speedball Super Black India Ink. I love it! I used to use microns and “simulate” a brush like line, and then I realized that I needed to just learn how to use a brush. I kind of cheat, though, because my linework still needs a lot of work, so not only do I work about two and a half times larger than print size, but I vectorize the linework in Flash, which smooths over any bumps and really smooths everything out. It creates a very specific look, though, and I think the only reason I get away with it is because I color in Flash, anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:25PM
RentAThug at 7:39PM, June 30, 2008
posts: 226
joined: 12-11-2006
I ink by hand using Pigma Microns and occassionally a Sharpie (a big fat one for particularly large areas of black). I have four different sizes of Micron that I use regularly: 0.5 for general linework and small to moderate black areas, a 0.1 for letters and to establish distance, a 0.8 for big areas of black, and a 0.005 that I use for things that are reeeeeally far away. Or just really small.

Crime Pays, updating Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:05PM
mattchee at 8:26AM, July 1, 2008
posts: 347
joined: 1-18-2008
Based on Scott McCloud's recommendation in, I think, “Making Comics,” I've been using a Windsor Newton #7 Finest Sable Size 0 brush and Speedball Super Black India Ink. I love it! I used to use microns and “simulate” a brush like line, and then I realized that I needed to just learn how to use a brush.

That's funny cause that same book was my inspiration for going digital!

As i said earlier, like you, I used finer line pens to simulate brushwork, but over time i came to realize that technique is INSANELY tedious… it was normal for me as I had done it for years, but there was a point where I was thinking I was spending 4 or 5 times longer inking than i would if I had just used a brush!

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:55PM
roma at 2:13PM, July 1, 2008
posts: 56
joined: 4-5-2006
I ink digitally. I don't have the time to sit and ink the traditional way.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:10PM
SarahN at 4:03PM, July 1, 2008
posts: 1,581
joined: 1-1-2006
I went digital a while ago and I have no intention of reverting back to traditional, except for when I want to do something different. It's more convenient for me and much better looking than my craptacular hand inking jobs. Mangastudio makes some awesome lineart too.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:23PM
Sapphaholic at 5:21AM, July 2, 2008
posts: 13
joined: 6-15-2008
I “ink” my work using the brush tool in Adobe Illustrator. Sometimes it takes a deal of re-doing lines to get the right look, but for the most part it works very well. The lines it does give me are very smooth and fitting for the simplified look I have going on in my comic.

It also lets me take the lines easily into Photoshop where I do my color. There I can also clean up the lines a bit–remove flyaways, lines that cross each other, stuff like that. I find it works very well for me. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:22PM
Jabali at 5:13AM, July 4, 2008
posts: 81
joined: 3-28-2008
…When I do some traditional now, I use brush pens, Faber Castell makes a good one…

I'm all traditional. I use brushes and rapidographs once in a while. I agree with Matt, Faber Castell pen brushes are great and the ‘nib’ is very durable. About brushes, you really need to get a “good one” W&N series 7 is the best there is but sadly very difficult to find where I live. Lucky for me the “Royal Majestic” is a very similar quality brush and an adequate alternative for W&N series 7.

The only ‘draw-back’ of brushes, specially good ones, is that they're pricey (7 to 10 U.S. dollars) but totally worth the price IMHO.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:05PM
Spiderbaby at 10:27AM, July 19, 2008
posts: 15
joined: 2-28-2006
I ink traditionally with a size 0 brush and some india ink. I sometimes use pens as well if I want a more angular look, but I generally don't ink digitally, even though I have a tablet.

I just don't like it. There's a much better feel to actually sitting down and doing the thing physhically than to the slippery, plasticky wacom. I never get lines right on the first time and have to correct them again and again, which isn't fun. Messing up with brush and ink occurs rarer, and can be fixed in the computer anyway, which is where I use my wacom.

More importantly, I can usually tell if somethings been created traditionally or digitally, and I just prefer the “look” of the old-school approach.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:54PM
JoeL_CQB at 11:00PM, July 19, 2008
posts: 546
joined: 4-17-2007
i use a ball point pen for everything, or mostly everything

Scott McCloud also states in “Making Comics” that it doesn't really matter what you use to draw. You just have to master it, and not the other way around.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:10PM
Sean C at 2:07PM, July 20, 2008
posts: 23
joined: 12-24-2006
01 Micron pens on 300 Strathmore Smooth Bristol Paper. It works really well for inks, and erases great if you keep your pencils light.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:24PM
Ryuthehedgewolf at 8:46AM, July 21, 2008
posts: 1,340
joined: 9-2-2007
I pencil my comic fairly lightly, mostly because I don't have any fancy paper, or any light boxes or anything, but my inks are all traditional. I used to use Microns, but I then switched to Staedtler. But I found my comic looks better with thinner lines, so I'm switching back to Micron. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:15PM
Jinachi at 12:17PM, July 21, 2008
posts: 83
joined: 1-21-2007
Digitally on the Tablet.
Yeah it does need some time to get used to the weirdness of it but its worth it!
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:09PM
korosu at 9:07PM, July 22, 2008
posts: 1,063
joined: 1-28-2006
I do everything on PS! *fistpump* But back in the day, I used Sakura micron pens. They worked pretty well. (But of course, I'm not exactly a big pen connoisseur, so I wouldn't really know the difference. :P)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:21PM
Skullbie at 9:53AM, July 23, 2008
posts: 4,805
joined: 12-9-2007
Oh my god i just switched to inking the digital way today- it's amazing it beats the crap out of traditional >_< (And i'm a huge fan of the traditional)

I do it with my Wacom bamboo in photoshop cs2. The pen tool helps me make circular things better and my lines aren't scratchy anymore,
i'd strongly recommend people get a couple months of traditional down before switching- since a tablet doesn't magically make you into an artist, it's simply another pen. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:46PM
ttyler at 7:17PM, July 23, 2008
posts: 441
joined: 3-20-2008
I'm a caveman……I ink the old way….Pentel color Brush, Microns, Rapidiographs for dead wieght lines…..I do very little in photoshop. I even paste up my own lettering on the original before scanning. There's lots of money to be made in originals….and most people, want the word baloons on there, exactly as it appears in the printed book.
I admire anyone who can do it all on the comp though……..I just haven't learned how to do it……..dang caveman brain!!!
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:34PM
lothar at 5:03AM, July 27, 2008
posts: 1,299
joined: 1-3-2006
i get bored , so i'm always switching
pencil, ballpoints, sharpies, and those kind of pens you dip in the bottle of ink. and a tablet. but the plastic tip on my comp tablet is worn down and makes it jump around and i spilled drinks on it too many times. i don't realy like to spend a lot of time on a page so whatever seems like it's gunna be faster realy , prolly tottaly unhelpfull

the lothar way = the wrong way, only faster !
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:45PM
Jellomix at 8:18PM, July 28, 2008
posts: 112
joined: 7-27-2008
Hey, I don't think anyone has mentioned using a mouse!
Yeah, it's not the ideal way to ink… (if you can call it inking for me). It's probably why I hate inking actually.

I'd like to go traditional if it didn't require me buying the ink all the time and if I weren't so scared of messing up. I need the undo button or at least an eraser of some sort!

Never tried a tablet. I'm thinking of just using a standard ballpoint pen or something in the future…
Sig? Yeah, I'll get to it. >_<
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:07PM
warefish at 5:13AM, Aug. 1, 2008
posts: 570
joined: 5-25-2007
I use a pencil to draw everything on a cheap A4 peice of paper and then I go over it with a thin ink pen, rub out the pencil lines, and go over it again with a bunch of different sized sharpies. Then I scan it and change the contrast, to get rid of the brown or purple tint, and then I edit it on Paint!
But I'm going to continue this until I can find a reasonable graphics pad. And speaking of which, does anyone know of a “reasonable graphics pad” to use?

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:45PM
Skullbie at 8:03AM, Aug. 1, 2008
posts: 4,805
joined: 12-9-2007
But I'm going to continue this until I can find a reasonable graphics pad. And speaking of which, does anyone know of a “reasonable graphics pad” to use?
You mean a….tablet? If so, anything by wacom is perfect. You can go cheap with wacom bamboo fun at 90$ and when you decide to get serious with you art switch to more expensive intuos3.
But there's no point in getting a tablet if you use mspaint, it's useless. You need photoshop to fully use ‘pressure points’ and gimp can only do minimal with pressure points.

But if anybody in this threads hands start hurting when you're using a mouse you should get a tablet for your own health. *o* (my pain went right away since)
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:46PM
skets at 5:37PM, Aug. 1, 2008
posts: 15
joined: 1-11-2006
Liquid ink and a paintbrush.
It is the best stuff ever, you get a much smoother and more flowing line than you do with a pen. Well, I do anyway.
And I pop it in Photoshop to up the contrast and add the speech bubbles.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:38PM
warefish at 6:36PM, Aug. 1, 2008
posts: 570
joined: 5-25-2007
Thanks Skullbie! And yes I meant a tablet, I just call them graphics pads (I reckon it sounds cooler).
But about the mspaint I'm using, I agree, It's very useless. But I just got a new laptop so I thought that instead of buying paintshop, I could borrow my friends. Problem is, he doesn't know where he put the disk…

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:45PM
cartoonprofessor at 8:05PM, Aug. 2, 2008
posts: 396
joined: 9-2-2007
Wacom Cintiq.
Expensive but well worth every penny.
I draw every day in my clases on whiteboards so the ‘slippery’ feel wasn't such a shock to me.
Anyhoo, I use the ‘pencil’ nib in my wacom pen… it gives you a fair bit of ‘feel’ on the glass screen.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:36AM

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