Inking Tips (Looking for yours!)

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JGrubber
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Inking Tips (Looking for yours!)

Post by JGrubber » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:16 pm

Hi folks,

I am looking to gather together tips and lessons people have learned while inking the old fashioned way.

For example:

1 - I found the site of MAD illustrator, and his tip was to leave a slight gap between depth layers of characters or foreground/midground/background- it helps separate the images, pulling some foreward and pushing some backward

Heres the tutorial
http://www.tomrichmond.com/blog/?p=181 ... nks, john

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Og
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Post by Og » Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:25 pm

Those two tips you just listed are my top two, certainly.

Others would be -

- Vary your line.
Use bold outlines on subjects in the foreground and thinner lines for background elements.

- Know your finished medium.
If someone (even you) will be coloring the drawing, leave room for the color. (Even Mike Mignola, with all that sexy black, leaves those big, empty flat places as room for the color. You don't need to crosshatch it to death.) By the same token, if it's not going to be colored, pay attention to the way you ink it and consider whether you need to model it with stippling, crosshatching or other shading methods, or whether your linewidths and variations can suggest the shading for you.

- Consider your pivot.

When you're trying to draw large, smooth lines, try lifting your hand off the drawing surface and drawing from your shoulder. For smaller and less elegant curves, put your elbow at your side or on your drawing board, and draw from your elbow. For fine work, wrest the heel of your hand on your drawing surface and draw from your wrist, and for details, lay the side of your hand on the drawing surface and draw from your fingers.

I probably have more, but these are the ones in addition to yours that I can think of off the bat. Great subject!
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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Mon Jul 21, 2008 1:48 am

Inking's not my strong suit, but...

1.) Try different mediums (brush, pen, etc.). It's okay to use more than one inking method on a single panel.

2.) If you're trying to draw a perfectly straight line, make sure the pencil line is perfectly straight before you trace it. It's easier to fix it in pencil and your inks will never be 100% where your pencils were. I never ink with a ruler because it's hard to stop at just the right spot.

3.) Random technique from East Asian painting/calligraphy: hold the brush completely perpendicular to the paper and you can move your brush in any direction with pleasant results.
Jonathon Dalton
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inverce
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Post by inverce » Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:51 am

Wow- I found all this incredibly helpful! Thanks guys!

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Harry Myland (IV)
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Post by Harry Myland (IV) » Tue Jul 29, 2008 5:14 am

Wow, I'm SO bookmarking that Mad Inking tutorial and adding it to my No, You Suck sketch blog resources.

Thanks, mate!

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Scott Hallett
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Post by Scott Hallett » Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:17 pm

I'd like to chime in as Devil's advocate and say that all those rules can be broken :)

Your method and medium dictate your style to a degree and breaking and bending the rules can sometimes be exactly what you need to shift style in the direction you want.

One lesson I'd say I've learned though... don't be afraid to free-hand a drawing in pure ink. You'll get a great appreciation for the medium when you don't have pencils underneath to guide you.

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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:25 pm

Scott Hallett wrote:I'd like to chime in as Devil's advocate and say that all those rules can be broken :)
I'd like to chime in and say that this is the only rule that can't be broken. :-P
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Frank Stockton
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my tips

Post by Frank Stockton » Wed Jul 30, 2008 9:33 pm

first of all there are a million +1 ways to do everything, and inking is no different.

I ink with a quill pen, so that's the angle I'm coming from: Hunt 101 nibs, Sennelier india ink.

1) when you first start learning to use a nib, try the Gillott #2, or 202... i can't quite remember, but it's stiff enough to where you won't break 10,000 of them while you're learning, and flexible enough to where you have a bit of thickness to play with. The Hunt 101, in my opinion, offers the most flexibility and strength for the way I draw, but you're guaranteed to bust a whole lot of them before you can use them well.

2) always "pull' with your strokes. You'll learn how to draw so that your wrist naturally turns with the curves. Until that day comes youwill be busting nibs and going the wrong way getting splatters flicked all over the page.

3) when you first buy the nib, wet it with water, wipe it down. Then, dip it in ink up to the reservoir and let it dry. This is because fresh from the factory, nibs tend to have a silicon-like substance on them, or something. Maybe it's not silicone, but whatever it is, it causes the nib to not work right at first. Letting some ink dry on it takes care of the problem

4) I clean the nib every few minutes by stabbing it into some styrofoam. you should, too. It keeps the ink from gunking up.

+++

as for the aesthetic stuff...

the tendency for someone just starting out inking is to take advantage of the nib's flexibility and make strokes that start thin, get fat in the middle, then go thin again... on every line.

I find that the best inkers keep their lines mostly consistent in width with every stroke, save a few exceptions. What that means is that the line doesn't have the big obvious taper from beginning to end.

That's really difficult to do; when you can do that you will have really good control over the quill pen. There's something magical about it because there's variation as opposed to how a rapidograph looks, which is completely consistent... I dunno, that's just my favorite way to do it.

Other than that, everything else is just getting the aesthetic you want. I think pretty much everyone who is good with a nib does the things I just mentioned to some degree.


good luck.


f.
"I do not get discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward"
--Thomas Edison

http://www.frankstockton.com

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Sskessa
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Post by Sskessa » Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:36 pm

3) when you first buy the nib, wet it with water, wipe it down. Then, dip it in ink up to the reservoir and let it dry. This is because fresh from the factory, nibs tend to have a silicon-like substance on them, or something. Maybe it's not silicone, but whatever it is, it causes the nib to not work right at first. Letting some ink dry on it takes care of the problem
Yeah, there's a coating on them when you first buy nibs. I believe it's wax. You can also remove it by dipping the nib in boiling water and then wiping it off.

This is a lot of great advice for making clean, precise lines and it's advice I myself follow. But...sometimes I get frustrated with clean lines and I wish I could make my inking more expressive and emotional, more like Ralph Steadman's work. Anybody have any advice on how to give your lines more feeling?
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