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Andrew Hussie: Inking tutorial
The ones who only know Hussie by his outrageously popular MS Paint Adventures may not know he is truly talented in the realm of inking badass shit. A fellow forumer of mine has preserved his old Inking Tutorial online, You should familiarize yourself with it, because even if you don’t like the style, the principals are the fundamentals of inking.
This is merely half of the tutorial, check it out on http://smokinghippo.com/TSOtutes/inking_tutorial.html
So you’ve drawn something cool, and now you’d like to ink it. Inking is easy. It’s pretty much just tracing the lines of your drawing with a pen, right? Sure. Whatever you say!
You start with your pencil sketch. In this case, done with a non-photo blue pencil. After inking, the scanner can be set up to ignore blue lines, leaving only your ink.
Then you trace it with your pen. Man, that was easy!
Now don’t get me wrong. The above drawing is fairly clean and accurate. Maybe it’s suitable forâ€¦something. Like a coloring book. But make no mistake. This is a bad job of inking.
So what is it missing? Neatness aside, and all things being equal, what’s the difference between a bad ink job and a good one? Simple. Varying line thickness. I only used one line thickness to ink that whole thing.
So you’re saying, “Ohhh. Ok. Give me just one minute.” You reemerge from your desk with something like this:
Yeah, nice try. That sucks almost as much as the first one. You knew you had to get at least one more line thickness in there, but it’s clear you were confused over the criteria by which you decide to thicken some lines over others. While giving the drawing a heavy, fat-ass perimeter approaches some vaguely cogent methodology, it’s just not going to cut it.
Above is a good example of a good diversity of line thickness, applied with a sense rhyme and reason. Thick lines make certain aspects of the drawing more emphatic when needed, while thinner lines understate other aspects. The lines have energy. They play with each other. This is the difference between good inking and bad. This is my natural inking style (honestly, it was a lot easier for me to ink that than the first example). Speaking of style, this brings me to a good point. A simple definition of inking style:
A personal inking style is dictated entirely by the methods used to vary your line thickness, and the criteria by which you vary it.
Ok, sure, there are some other factors, like how one feathers and shades and such. But in my opinion, all these factors are pretty strongly overshadowed by that basic definition.
So you’re now saying, “Ok, fine, it’s really important. But how should I do it, and when? I mean, I tried that fat perimeter thing already. I’m out of ideas.”
This is a pretty complicated question to answer. There are tons of reasons to change up your line thickness, many of them serving utility in the drawing, and many just boiling down to personal taste and preference (just as I said, it and personal style are essentially one and the same). I’ll discuss it in further depth later, but just to give you a taste of one idea, falling under the â€œutilityâ€ category, see the drawing below. You’ll note how the lines in the arms get thicker gradually, the closer they extend towards you. Here, line thickness is helping to show distance. Near objects have heavy lines, far objects are finer.
Let’s talk briefly about the tools of the trade. Or at least the tools of this tutorial. Micron pens:
I generally keep on hand 02, 01, and 005 (from thickest to finest). It’s nice to have an array, but don’t get suckered in to thinking you need it. I did virtually all inking in this tutorial with an 02, to illustrate a point. You can make very fine marks with even a very fat marker if your touch is light enough.
Note, you can also ink with a brush, or a brush-tipped marker. This is an inking with a pen tutorial, not an inking with a brush tutorial. Inking with a pen and a brush are totally different animals. With a pen, the mark is confined to a single point. Thus complete control over the mark is much easier, because all you have to do is control one point in space with your fingers. A brush tip by nature is bigger and floppier, and mastery takes considerably more grace, I think. The results of brush inking tend to be more organic and free-flowing, and can be totally mind-blowing if done well, but those skills exceed the scope of this tutorial.
You’ll also need an eraser, if you choose to pencil with graphite, ink over it, then erase it later. This is how I do 95% of my work. Here’s what I use. Probably the best eraser I’ve ever used for erasing pencil.
Thickening your lines
Before we get into why you would thicken, let’s talk about how. Seems trivial, drawing thick lines, but maybe there’s more to it than you think. You might suggest, â€œHell, if I need to draw a really thick line, I’ll bust out my really thick marker.â€ That’s a silly line of reasoning, and I advise you to dispense with it. Remember, I’m only using an 02 for this whole thing. Switching to a really thick marker would rob you of some finesse, which I suggest you will need, even when you are doing thick lines.
Method 1: Draw boundaries, then fill
Drawing one thick line is actually the same thing and drawing two very thin lines.
Color in between. That’s the easy part. Note, you can now switch to a thicker marker if you desire for the fill, rather than wasting the ink of your finer markers. You’ll note I’m not following that advice here (though I often do).
Method 2: Thicken as you fill
This is the method I use far more often. I make lots of little sweeping strokes quickly until the thickness and contour feels right. To me, this practice injects a little of the life and energy from rough sketching into a process that is otherwise quite technical and exacting.
Varying line thickness doesn’t just mean making some lines thicker than others. You can of course vary the thickness within the same line. This is in fact an excellent thing to do for most of your lines (given you apply some method to your madness, which is something that takes practice). A tapered line is almost universally more attractive and energetic than an ordinary line. I can’t tell you how to draw these. It just takes practice, and a light touch. But I will say if you adhere to method 2 above, it makes it a much easier, fluid move to go from drawing an ordinary line to a tapered one.
People were requesting rebloggable Flash Inking tips
Can I ask you a question about Flash? I was looking through your flash puppets, and I was wondering how you got the lines to look so NICE. Like…just looking at the linework on the hands of the bob puppet. Is there a pen setting you use? Because I can’t seem to get things to look so good.
start with a round brush, size 3 or 4 (or 5, Windows and Mac have different brush sizes) with pressure turned on.
Jut as a barometer of how smoothing works;
The more smoothing you use, the more flash sort of corrects your hand wobble and tries to fix things out for you. But at really high smoothing it kind of over corrects things and starts to just invent things you didn’t want to draw. really low smoothing adds every little bump you make, but it makes INSANE huge files, because it’s got so much information to remember for every line you draw. It looks cool if you can make it work, though, we used it for that Assassin’s creed trailer because it has almost like a pen-on-paper look when it moves.
Remember that no matter how much you zoom, the pen will always be the same size. This what a size three brush (Mac version) looks like if you draw at various zoom levels, and then go back to look at it at 100%
Because of this it’s important not to zoom in and out a lot, it’s best to pick one size and stay around that like, ink at 400, don’t zoom out more than 200 or in more than 600. When we did Ugly Americans, every scene was labeled with the zoom level everything had to be inked at, and if anything was resized it had to be retraced. It’s tempting to zoom closer and closer to get little, hard to reach details, but like they said “you can’t zoom on paper, don’t do it in Flash”.
Then there’s this Modify > Shape > Smooth option
Basically just lets you smooth lines after the fact. A lot of people kind of give up on it because they don’t know how to use it right. Like they think it’s a magic FIX LINE ART button, then get disappointed that it doesn’t work when they select all the line art at once and say “okay smooth button GO!”.
It works best if you get in close and just select small fragments to smooth.
And you can kind of just polish off any little quirky bits that bug you.
(it can be kind of hard to tell at a glance, but it adds some polish)
I’ll also add to go slow! If you draw too fast, Flash panics and starts ad-libbing your pen strokes and making weirdly geometric lines, Just take it slow if it starts freaking out on curves and stuff.
Introduction to Dip Pens
A bit of a rehash of a guide I wrote two years back. Hopefully people will find it useful and interesting.
Using dip pens is fun and easy. Most cartoonists and comic artists have used dip pens, and many still do. Here’s an introduction to the dip pen, including (hopefully) everything you may or may not have wanted to know about them.
Why bother? There are a lot of good reasons to use dip pens. Most nibs allow a certain amount of line width variation, so add a good deal of character to your ink work that may otherwise only be obtainable through the use of brushes. However, decent nibs are relatively cheap compared to decent brushes, and at least in my opinion less of a hassle to use.
Dip pens can also use very strong and thick inks and paints that would clog or destroy other types of pens. So if you haven’t at least tried inking with a nib you owe it to yourself to experiment, it’s relatively cheap to get into.
This article is meant to provide a first time user with some tips and hints that will hopefully make using a dip pen for the first time a painless experience.