View Full Version : Learning to ink

08-10-2013, 01:01 PM
Picked up DC Comics Guide to Inking and working my way through it, so I'll be updating this as I go.

A few practice strokes, have a small book set aside as I know that practicing lines is a life long commitment


A pencil piece from my sketchbook that I played around with, mostly experimenting with different line weights


Definately looking for crits and advice as I go.

08-10-2013, 08:10 PM
Welcome to the wonderful world of inking John.

What tools are you playing around with?

08-10-2013, 08:37 PM
Brushes, pens and markers.

Gonna change my ink because the one I have, (Liquitex INK!) seems to have a brownish tinge to it.
Big Jay suggested Sumi ink in another thread, and in the book Janson suggests either Higgins India Black or Pelican Drawing Ink.

Abandoning Sharpie markers as they aren't very consistent, although their pens are pretty decent.
Tried Staedtler pigment liners and found the tip moves too much for me, or my experience level.
Pigma Micron pens and brush pens are really consistent and easy to work with.
Still exploring different brushes and haven't tried nib pens yet.

Any suggestions would be more than welcome.

08-11-2013, 08:34 PM
More practice.

Did a quick pencil sketch of Juggernaut


Using a 0.7 I did a quick outline


Then started blocking in some heavier shadows


And got carried away


Used some white gauche to erase a bulk of it to redo, (probably completely unacceptable in the real word, but for sake of learning it's probably fine) and started using a nib pen to begin adding lines.


Tried adding some thin white to some dark areas, (not a great idea) and continued developing lines with brushes and nib pen.


08-11-2013, 08:50 PM
If I may offer some advice and some resources that may help you.
First try and stay away from cross hatching so much. Here is a book that helped me alot The Art Of Comic-Book Inking (http://www.amazon.com/The-Art-Comic-Book-Inking-Edition/dp/1593074050) It really goes in depth and is very accessible.

Here are PITT Brush Pens (http://www.cheapjoes.com/faber-castell-pitt-artist-pen-black-wallet-set-of-4-various-nibs.html?gclid=CJWs7crV9rgCFSpk7AodCXsA_w) This is a nice starter set, I use the old brushes with ink sometimes but these give a nice effect of a brush, the line weights and such. The Bold is really good and has thick and thin capabilities. The replacement pens can be found online for as cheap as 2bucks apiece if you buy many.

This is just advice, I really think you have a good start here. I would also get a Light Box and light box some drawings onto Bristol so as to cut down on smudges and heavy pencils. Give these resources a look if you want I think they would be beneficial.

Big Jay
08-11-2013, 08:54 PM
higgins is ok and i deplore pelikan inks. i dont find either to be consistent in quality. I've also been using maru pens and nibs with my inks, i find i have a better feel for them than most other nibs i've tried.I keep thin sharpies and i big bic marker for bigger black areas and i also use blicks black cat ink for fills.It all comes down to personal preference and what you get a feel for the best.. practice and more practice is key with inking. Here's a link for sean website it's loaded with pencils for inkers..


also here's my deviant check it out let me know what you think...

keep at it and you'll see improvements before you know it!!!!!

08-11-2013, 09:06 PM
Thanks guys.

The nib pen is surprisingly easy to use, my biggest concern was it dragging and tearing the paper as I'm still developing a lighter touch.
Still gonna keep a few thin markers around but for right now I really like how the nib pen responds.
Brushing ink, well that's a whole other beast right now but nothing a few million hours of practice won't cure.

I think for now I'm just gonna practice basic outline and light shadows as I seem to get too heavy handed with the larger ones.
CoInkaDink - avoid so much cross hatching, got it.
Big Jay - thanks for the link, I'll take a look through there for stuff that works to my skill level.

I know that a lot of people see inking as second rate pencil work, but so far it really seems to be a major skill on it's own.
Right now I'm feeling in over my head, so that's usually a sign to slow down and take baby steps.

08-12-2013, 08:02 PM
Just printed off the Tron2.0 by Gabe Bridewell and Red Sonya by Eduardo Garcia from the Sean Ellery site.
I'll give those a try in the next day or so and see how they turn out.

08-12-2013, 10:50 PM
First up is Tron 2.0.
Inked over a print off of pencils by Gabe Bridewell





Just did a trace because it's such a clean looking image and I didn't want to bugger it up with lack of experience and over enthusiasm.

For the woman I used Higgins Black Magic ink and a nib pen with a fine point as well as a 0.01 Steadtler marker, (I kept it straight up and down to keep the tip from moving).
For the man I used Liquitex Carbon Black ink and a 0 brush.
The Liquitex isn't as deep as the Higgins, and I thought that using an ink that is lighter as well as a brush it would soften the image slightly and help push it behind the woman more. I was aiming to try and achieve more depth in the finished image, as opposed to the same ink strength for both characters which I was concerned would put them both on the same plane.

Had to do a couple of touch ups with an 00 brush and some Windsor Newton Permanent White gauche , to cover a few spots where I pressed to hard and had a bit of a blotch.
Couple of noticeable blunders on the disc where I rushed.

Rob Norton
08-13-2013, 01:02 AM
I would also suggest looking up inker jonathan glapion (if i spelled his last name right). Hes inking greg capullo on batman. He has a youtube channel where he shows himself inking and talks about it as he goes. I learned a lot from watching him. Watch the video of him inking that Owl splash page. It looks so simple and yet we know its not.

Also..if you can find it, watch the tutorial video by Joe Weems. Hes one of the best ever and after watching him ink that david finch peice, i realized ive been using the hunt 102 totally wrong for years now, and completely changed how i use it. But its damn hard.

Your work shows strong progression in my opinion. Keep sharing..


08-13-2013, 08:15 AM
Just looked up Joe Weems, wow, hope I can find that tutorial.

08-13-2013, 11:02 PM
Inked a mummy pic drawn by our own CoInkaDink today.

His pencils:


Ink :


Used Higgins Black Magic ink with a 0 brush and nip pen.

08-14-2013, 09:56 PM
Inks over another CoInkaDink drawing


Used a 56 & 102 nib as well as a 0 brush.

He has a great retro feel in this image and I tried to emulate some inking from from the era, so I chose to use the work of Joe Geilla from the 50's as a guide.

08-14-2013, 10:05 PM
One thing you must do, draw your strokes away from your body, so if you need to spin the artwork around do it. The reason to draw away from the body is more control of where the lines start and end. Always draw your lines from light to dark and spotted black areas to get the proper feathering efx. If you use a brush make sure the bristles are saturated with ink and the point is fine. As you move from light to dark press down a bit to thicken the line so when it hits the spotted blacks it wil have that thin to thick efx and when done with a lot more lines it will have the effect of looking like the figure or structure has dimension.

08-14-2013, 10:09 PM
When inking keep in mind that both sides of the inked line has to be clean. The black ink line is called a holding line which is there to define shape. Always think of shapes when inking. organics aren't flat for the most part.

08-14-2013, 10:17 PM
Great info, thanks.

08-14-2013, 10:23 PM
Also always keep in mind directional light source. The pencils should indicate this but if they don't and this is sequential work check with other panels to see if there is a light source indicated. This will determine line thickness. Thinner lines in direct light heavier thicker lines in the unlit areas.

08-14-2013, 10:28 PM
What about using line thickness for separating planes and creating depth and distance?

08-14-2013, 10:39 PM
What about using line thickness for separating planes and creating depth and distance?

A given, but it's not so much line thickness as detail more detail up front less in the BG. I know it seems like I'm talking down but believe me it's hard to know these things unless you know these things.See how I inked the hair on Witchblade that's the thin to thick method and the gray buildings are what i mean by less detail.

08-14-2013, 10:44 PM
I used a #2 round sable hair to ink both Variant covers with a little hlp from the hunts 102 quill nib. The gray is just watered down ink use in a wash.

08-14-2013, 10:48 PM
Again Mostly #2 brush over printed out bluelines from The Dodsons.
Then we have Jim Lee bluelines inked with 103 quill.

08-14-2013, 10:52 PM
Here is a Dale Keown pencil pinup I posted for those who want to print em out and try doing some inks. I converted them to blueline and resized and printed them onto bristol at 8.5x11" on my good ole hp printer and then inked em so even though these would normally be 11"x17" i had to use what i had.
the file is large.

08-15-2013, 08:24 PM
Scribbly's Jonah Hex:


Used a felt tip pen to do the outline, then a 00 brush and and a chisel tip marker.
Tried experimenting with feathering with the chisel tip to see what sort of result it would give.
Took Justice41's advice and brushed away from myself, turning the artwork as I went.
Definitely not a pro job, but a great learning experience to apply the advice that's been given and play with the tools at the same time.

08-15-2013, 09:34 PM
One more tip. Use pro pencils to work over. The bad pencils will add to the bad inking. Clean clear crisp pencils will help do better inks. Markers and stuff not really good for doing comics style inking except to fill in blacks.

08-15-2013, 10:20 PM
Originally I grabbed the marker to even out the large black area on the hat and then just started playing.
Definitely would use it for a piece that I was gonna present to someone, but I would use it for quick layout ideas.

08-20-2013, 03:51 PM
Next image is inking over an Eduardo Garcia pencil image of Red Sonya.

Garcia's pencils:


using a o.1 Staedtler marker, (I was gonna throw it out until I managed to get the hand of it) a 102 nib as well as a 56 nib (for bolder lines) I inked the main character:


Then using the marker, (after practicing pressure on the page) I did the mid ground :


Then diluted the ink and used a 0 brush to do the back ground and add some depth to different areas through out:


Gonna take some time do do some original work and some more studies though before my next class begins in a few weeks.

08-20-2013, 08:39 PM
Overall much better but a heavier outline around RS would bring her forward more. There are some pencil indicators you may not know about. sometimes what an artist draws may not be as simple as tracing some hatchwork may be indicated as crosshatch feathering or other methods of inking. Remember light source. The undersides of all those coins should have a thicker line as well as her legs . Markers produce a dead line and a wobbly line try not to use them until you're comfortable using traditional tools. It takes some many years to get good with the brush and quill, throwing in a dead line marker will just cause ou to take evn longer to get where you want to get.

08-20-2013, 10:16 PM
Before I try to ink another image I'm gonna spend some time doing practice strokes to get a feel and flow with both brush and quill for better control.

08-24-2013, 07:41 PM
Did an original tattoo design for some one today:


Detail of the symbol, was going for a cracked marble look:


Used a 102 nib, then a 56 nib to thicken up the foreground lines to make them stand out more.
Did the details with a 0 brush.
Then layered the drop shadows using the 0 brush, and diluted the ink to three different ratios.
Added a few strokes of thinned white on the swords for more of a metallic look.

If the guy likes it then his next step is to take it to the tattoo artist so they can set up and adjust the image for his back.
Up next for me is a demonic skull design for a different person for a chest piece.

08-25-2013, 11:40 AM
Your hands are not steady enough yet. Get a Windsor-Newton #2 round sable brush and learn it, get confident with it. The brush can be used for everything from thicker lines to thinner ones. The only times I don't use the brush are when inking mech or architecture (tech pens) and long sweeping "speed lines" (quill).

08-25-2013, 02:00 PM
I have an 0 brush and am doing a practice piece using it now, I guess with experience I'll steady my hands and know when and where to use the different tools.

09-01-2013, 11:02 PM

This helped me a lot when I was first starting inking. I still do this everyday. :)

09-02-2013, 06:50 AM
That's excellent, thanks.

09-07-2013, 08:20 AM
Again from the Sean Ellery site, inks over a Clayton Henry pencil of Rogue as Magneto.





Did a warm up piece first and practiced lines, (like in the YouTube tutorial above).
Tried tackling the piece straight off, but realized after a couple of lines that it was a bad idea so I should warm up first.
0 Brush,102 quill, .03 technical pen, Higgins Black Magic ink (full strength and diluted and a marker (for large areas) on bristol board were the weapons of choice.
Switched back and forth between brush and quill playing with the line and getting a feel for texture.

09-09-2013, 12:52 AM
This one was mostly brush work with an 00 and an 0 brush and a 102 quill for some of the right shoulder details.
Did this on a tinted heavy bond parchment so if I made a mistake I wouldn't be able to touch it out.

Jimbo's pencils:


My inks:


Started off just intending to only trace, but decided to add some lines using 50% diluted ink for effect.

09-12-2013, 01:18 AM
Just finished this one.
Pencils of Green Sorceress by Carlos Barberi:


The inks I did:


(apologies for the lighting blotch in the lower left)

Straight trace, no embellishments.

Used a 150 lb paper that's marketed for comic book use and changed the image to light blue before inking.
The figure is all brush work, (did pooch the belt a bit) with some 102 quill work for the hair.
Used technical pens for most of the debris and gears in the back with the exception being the shading on the gears, where I used a 102 quill.