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Mishi's tools for sketching/inking

mishi_hime at 11:50AM, Jan. 20, 2008

What you should use to get the best scans and cleanest lineart.

(4 star average out of 4 votes)

If you're just getting started, and don't own a tablet or fancy digital program, here are some of my favorite tools and tricks you might have an easier time using.


Most people use your standard, everyday pencil. But if you draw long enough you'll find that pencil smudges horribly, and eventually your hands will be covered in it. Even worse, when you go to scan your artwork you'll find even more horrible hidden smudges! Even if you work very neatly you may have to spend more time than you should digitally cleaning up your artwork.

This is why i use a special pencil for all my line work.
It's a light blue pencil commonly referred to as "Non-photo blue"
These blue pencils make inking easier and have many advantages over your standard pencil.

Non-photo blue pencil Advantages

+ because they are a light blue color they appear very light on the page, but not so light you can't see. if you draw with a heavy hand like me, this will be especially useful.

+because its a different color than grey, it will be easier to see things as you ink.

+ they do not smudge like a regular pencil, if at all.

+ non-photo blue pencil is not picked up very well by copiers and scanners.
This makes your sketches practically invisible, and the result is very clean inking.

+ They are easy to find in any craft store.

*Note i wouldn't recommend prismacolor non photo blue pencils, the lead is a bit too thick to draw with.


Picture 2-A simple sketch in non-photo blue pencil
Picture 3 -The same sketch scanned with no digital editing.
Picture 4 -Scanned w/Basic digital editing.
Any basic image program should be able to handle it. Even some scanners may already have some adjustment settings necessary to clean up the remaining blue marks.


You want a smooth fine line pen. They come in a variety of sizes.
Look for "Acid-free, permanent, No Bleed, Archival Quality, Nontoxic" somewhere on the label. Experiment with different brands until you find one you like.There are a lot of sizes to choose from, but you really only need an 01, 03, 05.
*See the picture of the 3 pens below.

Do Not Use
Sharpies - They bleed and are not good for fine detail work.
Microns - They come in a nice variety of sizes BUT they die VERY quickly.*see picture below

Other notes
-All pens and pencils should be used on a smooth paper
-Good brands to buy are prismacolor, Staedtler
-Alway lightly erase dark sketchy areas before scanning.
-Any questions plz PQ mishi_hime



rickrudge at 5:17PM, Jan. 22, 2022

Excellent tutorial, mishi_hime. As an old retired printer, I’ve used non-photo blue pencils a lot. But, frankly, you don’t need to buy those and sometimes a scanner can even pick up the blue. I use a #2 mechanical pencil instead. They’re cheap, easily refillable, draw thin lines, and no need to sharpen them down to a one inch pencil. Yeah, pencil marks will show up from a scanner. After inking, the comics, I use a white polymer eraser. Don’t use the pink pearl eraser. White polymer erasers are able clean up any pencil marks on the paper without any staining and not using much pressure. For inking, I use a good black ink pen. I’ve started getting away from disposable ink pens and tried my hand using the Koh-I-Noor Rapidosketch pens (related to the Rapidograph technical pens). I love those thin lines but they are high maintenance. I’ve moved on to using refillable fountain pens instead. My favorite is the Pilot Kakuno with a good black ink.

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