View Full Version : Looking for some guidance to learn/improve inking skills.

06-03-2013, 11:36 AM
Gonna pick up the DC guide to inking and set up some stuff for practice, (reading and research are important but practice and practice are the major building blocks to developing a technique properly) an there's a fairly solid online blog I found but other than that any nods in the right direction for good learning info would be appreciated.

Recently completely buggered up an image after pencilling it.
The image flowed pretty nicely when so was drawing it and the pencils were looking solid and then I started inking.
Blammo, with a dew bad strokes the image became flat, lifeless and totally blew all the highlights so it completely threw off the depth I the image.
I know my ink skills are fairly basic, and I was trying to keep within my abilities buuuuut I still blew it.
So, time to get down to basics and start learning from the ground up.

06-03-2013, 05:20 PM
One thing i cant stand is when people claim to be inkers and just trace line for line, even mistakes. I used to think inkers only traced, no skill involved, but after attempting inking my own work, i realised i was wrong.
Post some work, probably get more help. Also practice is lot more important than all the "how to" books combined together.

06-03-2013, 05:39 PM
I will, may even post my screw up as a starter.

Completely agree that good inking is more than just connect the dots, and is far more involved than a casual glance would make it seem.
I've seen plenty of examples on here where inking takes a good piece and punches it up to the next level.
Sadly I've also seen where poor inking takes a piece and kills it.

Rob Norton
06-04-2013, 05:33 PM
as far as inkers, in my opinion, its a fine line between adding something new and staying true to what the penciler intended.

i think an inker should do all he can to properly adapt what the penciler was trying to achieve withOUT changing to much it is no longer identifiable as the pencilers art. i think that happens sometimes to much.

it also depends on what kind of pencils the artist hands off to an inker. David Finch has pretty much the cleanest tightest pencils i have ever seen. some interpret that as not giving the inker much fun, but i see it as an awesome challenege to do it right.

on the other hand, guys like JRJR, his pencils are so loose there is TONS of room to add your own style. but i would say its also easier to totally screw up if the inker cant draw himself, or doesnt understand whats going on.

blah blah blah this is all irrelevant if you are talking about inking your OWN pencils, which i feel is a whole other game. most of the same rules apply, but you are the only one touching it and so can make final adjustments and tweeks as you ink. i find that the case all the time when i do my own stuff. i pencil pretty loosley and/or without much detail most of the time, cause i know i will make final decisions when i ink it. but the confidence to do that only comes with time and practice.


06-05-2013, 09:11 PM
Okay, here's the image I was talking about, (I called it 'Demon Bass Player' when I posted it in Artist Showcase)


When I first started inking it I made the mistake of using one mid size line and just started outlining.
Killed it completely.

Then I came back to it and started using a variety of line sizes and began working the negative instead of just outlining everything.
Three things I learned, 1) Line variation DOES make a huge impact in inking, 2) You should take as much time, (or more) on the inks as you do/did on the pencils, 3) Starting with a straight outline can completely flatten out the image. Work the surrounding area and let the outline develop, then add any definition lines to tie the image together.
After all, in real life any outlines we see are implied by the surroundings and not real.

Long way to go and only about a billion more hours of practice before I start to feel like I'm getting good at inking.
This was a great start because I felt like I really learned a lot, not from what I did right, but from what i did wrong and took the time to ask myself what went wrong.

Rob Norton
06-05-2013, 09:16 PM
well first off...i would say that it appears that this image wasnt prime inking material anyway, becuase of how super loose the pencil lines were. it doesnt look like they were in any way layed down with any thought of what an inker would do with it. and so trying to ink sketchy loose lines like that makes for a super challenging task even if you are an experienced inker.


06-05-2013, 09:30 PM
Just so I understand the difference with what you mean with a loose and a tighter pencilling for inking do you have some examples?

That sounds like it's good Inking101 info.

Rob Norton
06-06-2013, 03:06 AM
Just so I understand the difference with what you mean with a loose and a tighter pencilling for inking do you have some examples?

That sounds like it's good Inking101 info.

sure... here are some visual examples

first...here is a jim lee sketch. very nice. cool. but its very very rough. not refined as far as pencils for an inker would be preferred. only a really confident skilled inker could do something with this, and no matter how good he is, he has to add all kinds of his own interpretation to the image, and it may not be what the penciler wanted. which is why he would pencil tighter and cleaner.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/robnor/dw6_zps1d77691e.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/robnor/media/dw6_zps1d77691e.jpg.html)

now how about tight pencils. well...there are tons of artists to choose from, but i will go with David Finch. some of the tightest cleanest pencils around. you can see that he defines everything. lights, shadows, line weights. he doesnt take any short cuts. an inker, i think, would have a very clear path in front of him. not exactly easier, but clearer...if that makes any sense.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/robnor/dw4_zps65de823e.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/robnor/media/dw4_zps65de823e.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/robnor/dw3_zpsfccb66b3.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/robnor/media/dw3_zpsfccb66b3.jpg.html)

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/robnor/dw1_zpsa2f45588.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/robnor/media/dw1_zpsa2f45588.jpg.html)

and here is a side by side comparison. you can see choices the inker (scott williams) made on the pencil art. fabulous work if you ask me
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v481/robnor/dw5_zpsb4fa7e1d.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/user/robnor/media/dw5_zpsb4fa7e1d.jpg.html)

and another favorite of mine, Jonathan Glapion, the inker in Greg Capullo on the batman book. he has a youtube page with a few how to ink videos with him talking about what he does while he does it. watch him ink that OWL splash page. its so amazing what he does.

so these are just some examples. there are all kinds of artists to check out and all kinds of approaches to how you ink. but you are right, practice is the best.


06-06-2013, 11:35 AM
Cheers, much appreciated.