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How I mine for ink?

MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin techRegistered User regular
edited February 2008 in Artist's Corner
In this thread I'd like to learn how to ink, k? I'm using filthy cheat mode (ie. doing it digitally) but screw you, that's what I bought a tablet for.

Ok, exhibit 1 is a quick thing I did without any planning. I must say I'm pretty glad with the inking, though any input is still welcome.
simp1.jpg

Exibit 2 is a sketch I wanted to ink. I like it too!
simp2.jpg

Exhibit 3 is the above image inked. It is a horrid monstrosity that makes me puke. I have no idea how to get it right.
simp3.jpg

Exhibit 4 is the sketch and the inks combined. I guess this looks ok for me.
simp4.jpg

OK, so how to get it to look good?

Mayday on
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Posts

  • Darkblade_1Darkblade_1 __BANNED USERS regular
    edited February 2008
    Hey! I am too!

    High Fives!

    Darkblade_1 on
    iveseenvivstits.gif
    You're drawn to my eccentric Brawl Code: 4596 9143 4529
  • multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Practice and extra practice. Try experimenting with holding your pen at different angles and at different pressures - and by that, I mean actually pressing it down harder and lighter on the tablet. Applying more pressure to the middle of lines and less at the ends, combined with a sweeping movement, gives the nice, sharp tapered lines most cartoons have (and what it looks like you're trying to achieve). As I'm sure you're aware, inking is an art and not a science, so there's no real hard and fast rules other than try a lot of different things and do what feels best.

    This isn't what you want to hear, but it's da troof: learning to ink traditionally makes learning ti ink digitally easier, and plus you'll also learn how to ink traditionally! I'm not saying ditch the tablet, but buy a few cheap-ish brushes/pens/brush pens (my personal favorite inking tool), and practice and experiment till your thumbs bleed. THEN DO IT SOME MORE! It really is about perfecting the movement of your arm rather than using any special 'tricks'. It looks like you're spending a lot of time on each line, and it's making it look uneven and a little choppy. What you want is the ability to put down a line really quickly and effortlessly which will result in the line being smoother, which comes from (say it with me) practice.

    Edited for clarity.

    multimoog on
  • in_absentiain_absentia Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    For the art, it seems like you're giving your characters a very flat look. The black lines need a more variance in places. I don't know if you've seen the Team Special Olympics tutorial on inking (http://www.teamspecialolympics.com/tutorials.php?id=12921) , but I personally found it very helpful for getting the basic concepts of inking. I also think that the shading technique you using on the colors could be better. Again, it makes them seems flat but, in this case its because the lines are all straight. If you curved them to follow the face, I think it would help. And, if that doesn't help much either, regular shading is always good to fall back on :)

    I have to agree with multimoog on the brush pen. I was kind of skeptical of it until one was included in a 4 pack of pens that was cheaper than the 3 pack of the same model (crazy Hobby Lobby...).

    In the end, I tried the brush pen just for giggles but ended up loving it. I honestly haven't used the other pens in the four pack since then because I keep finding new ways to use that brush.

    That said, they probably aren't for everybody (I've found a few things not to like... so I think I'll be digging out the other pens soon to make up for the brush's deficency) but they are definately worth a shot.

    in_absentia on
  • AwkAwk Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Very helpful for beginners multimoog, thank you. same to you in_absentia, great link.

    Any suggestions for brush pens that are possibly purchasable from the internet since i live in the middle of nowhere?

    Awk on
  • LlyLly Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Mayday that looks like it was done in flash. If so, then you either need to not use flash, or do it at a much larger scale and then shrink it down. Flash doesn't give you enough control over the lines to get the accuracy that you'll want for inking.

    Lly on
  • multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Awk wrote: »
    Any suggestions for brush pens that are possibly purchasable from the internet since i live in the middle of nowhere?

    These are my favorites:

    Faber-Castell PITT black brush pen - it has a nice fine tip for doing detailed yet brushy work:
    http://www.pearlpaint.com/shop_search.htm?keywords=black+PITT+brush+tip+pen&Submit=Go

    Tombow black brush pen - it has a bigger, thicker tip for doing larger, broader lines, it's also double-tipped with a traditional felt-tip marker for doing straight, even lines - it's what I use for inking comic panel borders:
    http://www.utrechtart.com/dsp_view_product.cfm?classId=1517&subclassID=151711&brandname=&item=56621

    Those two types of pens have become indispensible to my supplies, they're the first things I restock on after pencils. It took a while to get really comfortable with them, but they're fucking fantastic.

    multimoog on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I'm by no means great at inking BUT i have found it's all in the practice.
    You seem to be trying to ink like gabe so check these out.
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=QNREP5l4xTw&feature=related
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=K01Z-QX1KAg&feature=related

    no fancy tricks, just practice and a steady hand.

    NakedZergling on
  • Headspace CoolsHeadspace Cools Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Make sure your image size is massive and ink in long fluid strokes.

    If you're going for the outside-edge bolded look (that was around for a few years in PA comics) you can get a better effect with layer filters once your actual inking is complete (in other words; ink the image with equal line widths, thicks-to-thins all throughout, then fatten the outside edge via layer properties).

    Headspace Cools on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    LLy: nope, that's photoshop. I was indeed working with a small sized image (that elf is 100%) so maybe that's why it's so shaky?
    And HC: that's sounds rather boring :/ It wasn't my intention to have a thick outline around. I was just trying to reproduce the way the little goblin looks.

    Mayday on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    also the dpi....work on 400 dpi or higher for crisp results.

    NakedZergling on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    whuh? I always thought dpi only matters when printing!

    Mayday on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    nooooo not at all. I mean it does matter when printing but it also matters when working on stuff. The blending works better, everything is less pixilated. Work on something like 400 dpi, then save a copy at 72 dpi to show on the web.
    Seriously work on something at 400 dpi and you'll see how much crisper everything looks ESPECIALLY when you shrink it down!

    NakedZergling on
  • RavenshadowRavenshadow Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Mayday wrote: »
    whuh? I always thought dpi only matters when printing!

    in general work as large as you can. You can always shrink it later. Alot of the wobblyness of your lines will be almost undetectable if you use a big ass canvas then shrink it down when you're done.

    Ravenshadow on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Will do.
    BUT I just did a test and dpi has indeed no meaning at all. It's the resolution (in pixels) that matters.

    Mayday on
  • bombardierbombardier Moderator mod
    edited February 2008
    DPI is relevant to printing. It makes no difference when working purely digitally, which, as you said, is the resolution that matters. Having a 'canvas size' of say, 5x10 inches, with a dpi of 72 is going to give you a document resolution of 360x720 pixels. Having a same 'canvas size' with a dpi of 400 is going to give you a resolution of 2000x4000.

    The DPI is just a multiplier and only comes into play when printing stuff.

    I tried explaining this to the guy I used to work with at city hall who was the city's webmaster and head computer support guy.

    He got frustrated and told me I was an idiot.

    So basically what zergling is saying is use a gigantic canvas and then shrink it down later. I know wakkawa does that.

    bombardier on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Bombsy: yes, that's what I always though so I got weirded out when Zergie started talking about dpi.
    And I'll definitely try a bigger canvas now.

    Mayday on
  • mullymully Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I always ink at twice the canvas size that I desire in the end.
    And like others have said, long fluid lines. Don't get that line right?
    Ctrl+ Alt + Z.
    Get used to those three buttons, allow them to merge with your very fingertips.
    They will be your precious babies.

    mully on
  • FantasyrogueFantasyrogue Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    mully wrote: »
    Ctrl+ Alt + Z.
    Get used to those three buttons, allow them to merge with your very fingertips.
    They will be your precious babies.

    Until one day you're drawing something in real life and draw some lines and your first response to a wrong line is to mentally try and hit ctrl-alt-z and realize this doesn't work in real life.

    I'm not much of an inking expert, but I agree with the above posters about working with a large canvas. It is nice :)

    Fantasyrogue on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Until one day you're drawing something in real life and draw some lines and your first response to a wrong line is to mentally try and hit ctrl-alt-z and realize this doesn't work in real life.

    Yeahhhh... I also ink traditionally from time to time so I actually hope I won't pick up this nasty habit.

    Mayday on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    This is what i was getting at. Basically if you work 10 inches by 10 inches at 72 dpi the resolution will blow compared to 10X10 at 400 dpi....thats the easies way i could think to change it...rather than working on a 30inch by 30 inche at like 100 dpi..or am i wrong?

    bombardier wrote: »
    DPI is relevant to printing. It makes no difference when working purely digitally, which, as you said, is the resolution that matters. Having a 'canvas size' of say, 5x10 inches, with a dpi of 72 is going to give you a document resolution of 360x720 pixels. Having a same 'canvas size' with a dpi of 400 is going to give you a resolution of 2000x4000.

    The DPI is just a multiplier and only comes into play when printing stuff.

    I tried explaining this to the guy I used to work with at city hall who was the city's webmaster and head computer support guy.

    He got frustrated and told me I was an idiot.

    So basically what zergling is saying is use a gigantic canvas and then shrink it down later. I know wakkawa does that.

    NakedZergling on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    On a related DPI note, DPIs are strongly tied to LPI (that is the lines per inch used to print on paper media). It's not always a matter of throwing 300 dpi at everything... the proper way to do it is to find out the intended LPI for the media you're using and multiplying said LPI by 1.5 times (some say 2 times) which will give you the optimum DPI you should set your images to.

    But Bombs is dead on as usual; DPI is useless for on screen anything.


    If anyone is interested in pre-press procedures I highly recommend Claudia McCue's Print Production. It's an excellent and funny book!

    Edit:

    Let's blow this whole screen DPI out of the water here. As Bombs said, DPI is pretty much for print only. You can change the DPI on an on-screen image till you die, it won't do anything. Look at these images for example, they both have a canvas of 1000 pixels, though I've set them to different DPI.

    This is 300DPI @ 1000px wide
    oldman300dpiez5.jpg

    This is 1DPI @ 1000px wide
    oldman1dpiqv5.jpg

    The image remains the same because the screen doesn't care what resolution it is, it only cares about canvas width in pixels. DPI is information meant to be interpreted by a printing RIP.

    MagicToaster on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    thats the easies way i could think to change it...or am i wrong?

    Uhhh... the easiest way to change it when working on screen with no intention of printing is to just change the pixel dimensions of the canvas.

    Mayday on
  • NakedZerglingNakedZergling A more apocalyptic post apocalypse Portland OregonRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    i always work with the intent i might print it though...

    NakedZergling on
  • AgentofOrangeAgentofOrange Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I am interested in inking as well, always lurking on tips to keep in mind. Not meaning to hijack, but I have a question or two.
    For digital inking, what program do you suppose is ideal? I sort of feel like this is a dumb question, I'm half expecting several "Photoshop" responses, but I actually am interested in what can be discussed. I am inclined to believe that my favortism towards Adobe Illustrator is simply due to my familiarity and comfort with its application; I really don't understand a lot about that little Photoshop icon on my desktop, and have almost completely ignored it.
    While this could probably make a new thread all together, I am asking about digital inking.
    I have a drawing tablet, and really I can't find much use in a vector based program, is this reserved for Photoshop?

    AgentofOrange on
  • LlyLly Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I am interested in inking as well, always lurking on tips to keep in mind. Not meaning to hijack, but I have a question or two.
    For digital inking, what program do you suppose is ideal? I sort of feel like this is a dumb question, I'm half expecting several "Photoshop" responses, but I actually am interested in what can be discussed. I am inclined to believe that my favortism towards Adobe Illustrator is simply due to my familiarity and comfort with its application; I really don't understand a lot about that little Photoshop icon on my desktop, and have almost completely ignored it.
    While this could probably make a new thread all together, I am asking about digital inking.
    I have a drawing tablet, and really I can't find much use in a vector based program, is this reserved for Photoshop?

    Illustrator is good, but i find it way too slow. Photoshop makes it much easier to get nice intuitive line thickness variation due to the pressure sensitivity on the tablet. Not sure if that's possible/easy in illustrator or not. Flash is fun for quick and dirty inking but you can't get as much detail and you lose some control. Never tried painter or Open Canvas.

    Lly on
  • multimoogmultimoog Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I know Beavotron has put up a good tutorial for inking and coloring in Photoshop, but to me working in vectors has an insanely high learning curve. If someone is just starting to ink digitally, I'd say stick to Photoshop as using the brushes there is about as easy as it gets. It's also what's kind of an industry standard, more people are experienced with it, so there's tons of info available.

    multimoog on
  • in_absentiain_absentia Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Well, I have Corel Painter Essentials (came with my tablet) and although the brush set is very limited, I find that it makes lines more consistently than photoshop, but I can't tell if that is because I've had it longer, or if the program is what makes the difference.

    Open Canvas is pretty cool especially for being free. For now, I think I'd have to say that OC is slighly above Photoshop in the inking department but that could also just be because I don't know what I'm doing in photoshop that well. I've only had PS for about 2 weeks now, so take that as you will :)

    in_absentia on
  • AgentofOrangeAgentofOrange Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    See, I'm totally comfortable with spending hours in Illustrator with the pen tool to work on a single idea. I only draw when I get into a fanatical art rage that simply cannot be subdued by traditional weapons; forced into a mental corner, I must complete my thought or abandon it forever. While I'm alright with this sort of set up, I'm very interested and willing to challenge my method. I suppose I just wanted to see what peoples opinions were of the various programs available and the digital inking that is performed on them.

    AgentofOrange on
  • CyberMonkeytron3000CyberMonkeytron3000 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I don't no why some people have the hates for inking in flash. I've used it on several occasions and it worked out alright. Sure it's a little screwy and like most digital inking- it takes forever to get 'the perfect line', but it really helped me with the one thing that I struggle with in my analogue inking, and that's variation in line thickness. It's a little tricky to get a handle on it to begin with, but once you do your away laughing. And it exports it as vector lines- so they come out silky smooth.

    CyberMonkeytron3000 on
  • LlyLly Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I don't no why some people have the hates for inking in flash. I've used it on several occasions and it worked out alright. Sure it's a little screwy and like most digital inking- it takes forever to get 'the perfect line', but it really helped me with the one thing that I struggle with in my analogue inking, and that's variation in line thickness. It's a little tricky to get a handle on it to begin with, but once you do your away laughing. And it exports it as vector lines- so they come out silky smooth.

    I like flash, i really do, but the way it "interprets" your lines (in order to keep down on the number of points in the flash presumably) just irritates me. I just find getting variation of line thinkness in PS much easier. Having said that Mr Dave used to use flash for his inking and look how good his stuff is. I guess it's what you're used to.

    I do agree about the vectors being a huge plus though.

    Lly on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Ugh... I'll never be able to bring myself to use vectors for 2d. It just feels like boring work to me :/

    Mayday on
  • CyberMonkeytron3000CyberMonkeytron3000 Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Lly wrote:
    I like flash, i really do, but the way it "interprets" your lines (in order to keep down on the number of points in the flash presumably) just irritates me. I just find getting variation of line thinkness in PS much easier. Having said that Mr Dave used to use flash for his inking and look how good his stuff is. I guess it's what you're used to.

    I do agree about the vectors being a huge plus though.

    Yeah, it does a few things that I wish it wouldn't. No quick keys to change the size of the brushes is one. And the size of the brush doesn't stay the relative size of the image when you zoom (so the closer you zoom- the smaller your brush is). But I like not having to physically create the different line thickness- with the stroke function on- it does it all for me, but I'm just lazy like that. It really is a personal preference though as you were saying- you dig it or you don't :)
    Mayday wrote:
    Ugh... I'll never be able to bring myself to use vectors for 2d. It just feels like boring work to me :/
    You don't have to do any of the Illustrator type work with flash- you don't have to manually change curves etc. Its kinda like a slightly better Illustrator brush tool. To be fair I haven't used Illustrator enough to know all the ins and outs of it, but flash seemed slightly more intuitive for me to use.

    Maybe not the best example, but I inked this in flash
    Spoilered for big and art pimping
    omegafinal2xy6.jpg

    It would have taken me a whole lot longer to get my lines to look the same in Photoshop

    CyberMonkeytron3000 on
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hmmmm... interesting. I might give it a try after all.
    My reluctance was caused mostly by my image of vector art as "playing with bezier curves".

    Mayday on
  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    edited February 2008
    What's wrong with bezier curves?

    MagicToaster on
  • MykonosMykonos Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    i just got myself adobe illustrator, and while I have no idea what to do with it I did find myself doing some incredibly clean line work...and the tracing cool is pretty.

    Again I have no idea how to use the thing or whats its really for, but it may have some tools or whatnot to help u.

    But i don't want to set u down a wronge path by telling you this so by all means listen to what the others are advocating and practice practice practice

    Mykonos on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    The reason the inked version of the sketch looks worse is because it suddenly became high contrast because you put in a full black, and the form shadows you had put into the sketch became much less noticable. In any case what you are doing isn't really inking, it is outlining. To learn about inking don't ink your own work for the love of god. You aren't going to learn shit that way. At least not very quickly. Do some master studies.

    http://www.amazon.com/Joseph-Clement-Coll-Art-Adventure/dp/0972375813/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1203023328&sr=8-3

    Buy this book, doe studies from it. Joseph Clement Coll is argueably the best inker of all time. Frazetta was also an amazing inker, unfortunately it is hard to find a lot of his inks because his paintings are so popular. Anyways, studying from masters is the way to go.

    Sorry if I am a bit frank, (haha) but really this is how you learn to ink. In fact, learning to do just about anything involves studying the people who are good at it. Just do copies of their work. Literally copies. You dont even have to draw them first, find a projector and project the drawing with a pencil onto your work surface. And then ink on top of that, trying to match his work stroke for stroke to get a feel for how he is describing form and handling the ink.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • GreatnationGreatnation Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    "Joseph Clement Coll is argueably the best inker of all time"

    just vomitted a little. Cake, dude, you're very skilled and smart, but this whole "one way to do things" attitude just kind of sucks. It doesnt take into acount personal taste or sensibilities. I just want it to be clear that your approach is a specific kind of approach, but that there are other valid ways to go about learning as well. Its like when your learning photoshop, and you go to the webz and you ask everyone for tips. Yeah, everyone says "look at all these great images for guidance, here are some tuts." But the key point thats always made is that the best way to learn it is just by fooling around on it by yourself. And I would say this goes even more so for inking. Yeah you do studies and you look towards the masters, but the core of your work as to be your own exploration. Look at just about every successful illustrator right now that uses inking as a core bit in their style. Mathew Woodson, Frank Stockton, Josh Cochran, Mattias Adolfsson, Jesse Ledoux, Sam Weber. Even historically, style defining inkers like Franklin Boothe and Charles Gibson descovered their own methods.

    Point being- a well rounded approach is more likely to feel comfortable and assist creative exploration than a rigid one, no matter what level you are at.

    Greatnation on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    There is a difference between successful and good. Pollack was successful. Picasso was successful, even though he renounced his own work later in life as a big joke that he didn't feel good about at the end of the day. And most of those illustrators you just linked are good at what they do, but that is all they can do. And on top of that, it is so stylistic that it has a limited window of use. In 10 years the illustrative styles that are cool today will probably have changed, and someone with a solid foundation in skill will have a better chance of evolving with the times. Without color and digital their work wouldn't hold up at all in most cases. I am not saying you have to draw like Coll, or Frazetta or Gibson or Boothe, but if you want to get down to the core of it that is where you need to go. Learn from them, and then apply what you have learn to your own work once you have that level of control. But the truth is most people will never reach the level of control where they can pick and choose how they want their completed illustration to look. I know maybe three guys capable of that, and I am not even on the radar in that department.

    When I post on this forum I guess my advice should not be taken by those who just want to mess around with art. But if you want to get good, really good. Where inking is concerned especially, study the masters.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
  • MaydayMayday Cutting edge goblin tech Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Well, interesting points are being raised, I've gotta say.
    I started this thread wondering if there are maybe specific mistakes I'm making or specific information I'm lacking. At this point inking is not what I want to master- I want my inking to do it's job and look good while doing it. I WILL check out the mentioned artists at least and I always try to recreate ANY interesting effect I find. I have a folder full of images saved specifically for that reason, with sketches, inks, colours, everything. So I assume Clement's work will be valuable.

    Mayday on
  • rtsrts Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Mayday wrote: »
    Well, interesting points are being raised, I've gotta say.
    I started this thread wondering if there are maybe specific mistakes I'm making or specific information I'm lacking. At this point inking is not what I want to master- I want my inking to do it's job and look good while doing it. I WILL check out the mentioned artists at least and I always try to recreate ANY interesting effect I find. I have a folder full of images saved specifically for that reason, with sketches, inks, colours, everything. So I assume Clement's work will be valuable.

    Glad to hear it, sorry to get all serious in your thread chief.

    rts on
    skype: rtschutter
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