View Full Version : Looking for inking critique

09-05-2014, 02:49 PM
I'd like to know what separates a decent inker from a great one.To that end I have attached samples of some of my inks.


here is a link to the original but the artist David Yardin requested his work be linked and not reposted.


I drew this one



09-06-2014, 11:11 AM
I'm still learning myself, so this is coming from a rookie as well but the first things I noticed are a couple of things that were pointed out to me to work on which are:

1) Vary the thickness of your lines more.

In the last panel of the first page (for example) the entire background is done in the same line thickness. That tends to flatten out the image. Think of inking like doing a negative space drawing, where you create the image by using lines of various thickness to highlight the image instead of drawing the actual image.
Here's a better definition with some instruction : http://www.artinstructionblog.com/an-introduction-to-negative-drawing-with-mike-sibley

2) Practice your lines so they're clean.
Quite a few of the lines have a wobble to them which breaks up the flow of the image.

3) Use ink applied with a brush or quill and not markers.
Markers can leave light and dark spots which will also contribute to wavy looking lines.
Brush or quill will be up to you, some people will swear brush only and others will swear that it's both. Get both and practice with them.

Practice 'drawing' and 'throwing' the line.
Drawing means when you do the line bringing your hand to yourself, throwing means when you do your line with the hand moving away from yourself. Believe it or not it does make a difference in how the line looks.
Well, maybe not with the really experienced people, but I noticed a difference in my own stuff when I paid closer attention to that.

Just practice a shit load really.
Not just inking pics but fill page after page with just lines in every direction, contour and varying the thickness.

Couple of good exercises I was told are:
1) Draw two dots on a page and practice drawing a line between them
2) Draw side by side lines varying the thickness from thin to thick back to thin and in reserve.

Both of these will help you control your line.

And just keep at it and keep posting.
It's discouraging when you don't get a lot of replies to your post but just keep posting, practicing and most importantly enjoying your art.

I'm kinda being a phony saying all this because I have a long way to go and I've learned enough now that I'm starting to spot my own weakness, and as soon as I finish something I'll see something I missed and think 'No, not going to post that, but I'm going to watch for ________ on the next piece'

There are some amazing inkers on the site though, just keep opening the page, looking at different artists work and comparing your own to what you see.
It's humbling, but it helps develop your eye to be more critical of your own stuff.

Rob Norton
09-07-2014, 05:57 PM
only looking at the inking on the david yardin page. he is an amazing penciler.

honestly, your stuff is very very rough. its hard to know where to begin.
I don't see anywhere where you tell us what tools you are using, but it seems pretty obviously non digital, which I always applaud. but what tool exactly are you using? pens and markers? brushes? crowquill?

the most glaring thing is a certain lack of experience is obvious. we all have to start somewhere and im guessing its something you will work on. but your lines have no confidence with them. they seem shakey and unsure, and it looks as if you don't really know how you want or need to interpret some of the lines presented to you. specifically stuff in the background where he leave it a bit more vague and up to interpretation. its very muddy and unclear.

in panel 1, I see you adding lines and details that aren't there in the pencils. some inkers have different opinions on this, but in MY opinion, you should be enhancing and refining the pencilers work and intentions. the goggles on catwomans head done really have any shading or highlights in the pencils, but you added all kinds of detals that aren't supposed to be there. you are changing the art. and to me, that's a big no-no.
and then you added some weird random lines on her wrist that aren't in the pencils. why would you do that?

panel 2, again, stuff added that I don't get why its there. on superman, all around his cape and his torso. why all that dark shading? its not there in the pencils. if you are going to be so bold as to alter the artwork you are working on, you REALLY need to be a better, more experienced inker before you should dare to attempt stuff like that. follow what is given you. TRUST the more experienced artist and do what is laid out before you.
also, backgrounds look bad

panel 3, supermans hair is all messed up... not enough line weigh variation on the figures... lines have no confidence

panel 4 the softness and beauty of the lines of her face are all lost in your ink line. especially on the mouth.. look at the pencils, at the lines on her top lip, and then look at yours. his is smooth and soft and clear and confident. yours is shakey and ugly. examples like this all over her face. and again, more details added on her goggles that weren't there before.

panel 5. more of the same. his hair is totally overworked. the slickness of the pencil lines are lost in your inks. more heavy shadows that shouldn't be there.

panel 6. no variation in line weights... dead static inking. and...you added shadows UNDER them. what the fuck did you do that for? don't add stuff that isn't there. you aren't better than Yardin. hes a pro and knows what hes doing. YOU should be learning by tracing his art, adding depth and clarity, refining your skills and learning as you go. changing and adding should be the last thing on your mind.

so...I think there is some more learning to do. I have certainly seen much worse. you are an artist and have an idea of what you are doing. it just needs more work. inking is so much harder than some people give it credit for and its awesome to be giving it a try.

so..for what its worth.. those are my thoughts.


09-08-2014, 05:56 AM
First, work over good quality paper,
Second, read good books on how to ink comics,


And please, try no distort the size of the comics page when scanning it. :kewl:

09-10-2014, 11:12 AM

Solid effort!

Inking is an incredibly difficult thing; you must be pliable, but with a point of view. You're required to be a master of your tools, well versed in various approaches to form and function (style and cosmetics). You have to be a proper craftsman, and it takes a lifetime to master.

I said that to say this...

Your lines are sort of inconsistent. There are places where it looks as though your technique is quite nervous. I think there's room for improvement there. It unfortunately contributes to a skewed sense of depth here.

You've also sort of ignored a great deal of David's pencils in favor of different decisions, not necessarily better decisions.

An inker is meant to add to the existing structure; you've changed his intent and altered the effect of the strip as a result. Made communication less clear, which we never want to do.


I'd be interested to see what you're doing in a few months after careful study and practice. And it really depend on what you want to do, right? Your intent for this work. It's up to you how far you want to go toward a career in comics.

The books Scribbly mentioned below are great for hobbyist and professional alike, they're fantastic; that's a place to start thinking about what you're thinking using ink. Very tough. In order to gain a better footing on fundamentals I would also strongly recommend life drawing as well. Draw everything, reference everything.

Thanks so much for sharing.

Keep going!


11-06-2014, 07:54 AM
Thanks for the c & c's. I used crow quill pens with india ink, a sharpie and photoshop(barely). In hindsight it was arrogant to add a single line that wasn't drawn by the artist. I'll need to practice more and give it another try soon.

11-06-2014, 03:53 PM
Your inks came out even MORE sketchy looking than the pencils. You are new at this, and I would tell most inkers to just quit now because only a very few have a job anymore. Get some confidence in your lines. Don't "sketch" them. Have a confident hand and just trust yourself. It will take a lot of practice to gain that confidence but I have been inking for many years and I still probably throw away more inks than I finish to my own satisfaction. Learn your tools, learn to use them with total confidence, inkers are the daredevils of the comic world, we aren't allowed to be tentative with our lines. Sketching lines is not an option.

11-07-2014, 12:08 PM
It's not a bad attempt at inking for the first time. You asked what separates good inkers from great ones which I will try to answer.

First, David Yardin is a great artist but not some one you would want to attempt to ink as the first try. He has a sketchy style which is great for a seasoned inker but horrid for a newbie. Also I would say to you to grab some regular 8x10 bristol pads and just work on lines. Really get a feel for your tool and play around with them. Once your comfortable with them, then you can start inking.

Now for the question you asked about good vs great inkers. First great inkers are great artists. They generally have a fine arts background in painting. Second great inkers are not called inkers they are called "Finishers". They finish the page by correcting mistakes and putting their amazing style on the pencils. In some cases its honestly the Inker that your the fan of and not the penciler.

As for changing things in the pencils. You have to take in to count that your the third wheel when finding pencil pages to work on. What I mean by this is the penciler and inker are working together and as such there may be a lot of "Shorthand" in the pencils. In some cases the penciler doesn't add line weight, cross hatching, feathering, textures..ect because he lets the inker take care of that end due to deadlines.

Also if you want to ink some one that means you have to be the same caliber "level" as the penciler. If your working with a B artist you need to be a B artist or higher. You don't have to be as good of a penciler as him/her but you need to be as good or better in your craft. An example for myself is I'm not a great comic artist via pencils but my background is in Fine Art Painting via Acrylics, Oil, Watercolor and I also work in pastels. The same pencilers are not at the same level as my fine art skills but we are all artists.

Always remember Inkers "Finishers" are NOT tracers we are Artists.

Duane Korslund
11-07-2014, 12:16 PM
I'm not much of an inker, but one thing that helps me when I ink is keeping this thought in my mind at all times:

You're not inking merely to give the pencils dark lines. You're inking to create shape and contour from the pencils. Inks should help identify solid masses. Each stroke should be done with that in mind.

11-08-2014, 01:27 AM
Thanks a lot guys, you're impressing me with all this info. I'll start doing that line weight variation exercise, sounds like a good one.