Inking with...Pencils?

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briantaylor
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Inking with...Pencils?

Post by briantaylor » Thu Feb 22, 2007 8:46 pm

Hi,

Anyone here skipping the inking phase altogether and simply doing finished "inks" with pencil instead? I ask because my art tends to look more lively when not inked and I plan on scanning in and manipulating it in Photoshop.

I've noticed a few comics in flight and elsewhere that were not inked and I was wondering if this was something that was being done more.

I remember back in the early 90's when I first got into comics that it was a BIG no-no to NOT ink your stuff. It wasn't considered finished and most publishers wouldn't touch it. Have times changed?

-Brian

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Threshold
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Post by Threshold » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:07 pm

I had the privilege of attending a MegaCon panel with Steve McNiven, David Finch, and some of the other big pencillers at Marvel. They told us that the reason for inking was originally a technical limitation. But now, it's a layer of finish - supposedly pencillers don't need to vary their line width, etc. - that's the inker's job. So in short, if you have a polished, energetic look with pencils, don't kill that for the sake of conformity, so long as you're not just looking to shortcut.

Besides, if you want to get into pencilling, most publishers don't want your stuff inked or colored - mistakes there reflect badly on your pencils.

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Kazu
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Post by Kazu » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:54 pm

I just pencil it twice. Once in blue and then I scan that and print it out larger for me to pencil with graphite on top of it. I basically just "ink" with pencil, but I don't skip a stage in the process. I find that the pencil lines are much more lively when applying color to the images. (I actually tried inking Amulet with a crow quill and then scrapped the process in favor of pencils)
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Og
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Post by Og » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:21 pm

Sometimes I "ink" with pencil for just the reason you're exploring... keeping energy in the line.

Here's an example.
ImageImage

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Ganter
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Post by Ganter » Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:57 pm

inking was done so that the image would hold up if it had to be photocopied a lot (I think??). Now that there's digital printing it's all a stylistic choice. I still enjoy the sharp clarity of inked linework, but if you like the look of pencil better, go for it! I don't think it's the tool you're using but the way you do it that makes something look finished or unfinished.

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smaragddrache
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Post by smaragddrache » Fri Feb 23, 2007 10:07 am

Oh man, I hate inking. I'm terrible at it. Pencilling to "ink" = happy me.

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Scott Hallett
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Post by Scott Hallett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 11:57 am

Maybe someone can point me in the right direction with this...when I color (in Photoshop) I like to use colored lines to show more depth. If I ink a picture, I can use 'Threshold' to create solid lines and remove the white (and then color the lines).

The same technique does not hold up for pencilled lines. Setting the pencils multiply doesn't seem to work well either because it still doesn't allow you to properly color just the lines (I normally just lock transparency on the linework and color the lines I want).

I like my pencilled work, sometimes more than my inks, but it's this little catch that's stopped me from doing it. Any suggestions?

Rad Sechrist
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re

Post by Rad Sechrist » Fri Feb 23, 2007 12:00 pm

Pencils work better with digital painting. Inking works better with flatter colors. Back in the day, there was no digital painting.

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Og
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Post by Og » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:59 pm

Scott - I invert the pencils, save them as an alpha channel (ie, white lines on black background), load that as a selection, fill in an empty layer and then I have the lines just by themselves. From there, I can lock the layer and paint over the lines, changing their colours as I go.

I've saved you a Photoshop file HERE if you want a sample... the zip file's got one I did from an inked line, and one from a pencilled line...
ImageImage

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Scott Hallett
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Post by Scott Hallett » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:30 pm

Thanks Steve, that makes total sense. I never would have thought to do it that way. This will really help!

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Tony
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Post by Tony » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:08 pm

I'd recommend using at least a 2B pencil, sharpen often, and make your line quality/darkness as consistent as possible. I find that sometimes lines I thought were just as dark as their neighbours can turn out to be too light or fuzzy when they come through the scanning and photoshop grinding.

I made a tutorialfor this like three years ago (oh em gee, that's a long time) covering a bunch of this stuff.

Scott, there's also a really solid technique for creating coloured lines really easily, and your lines don't need to be threshold-ed first, so you can use fuzzy pencil lines. Just check out some of the earlier steps so the file's set up appropriately.

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Sarah Mensinga
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Post by Sarah Mensinga » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:12 pm

I don't ink stuff either :) I used to, but realized I'm much more confident with pencils. I also like using painter and as Rad mentioned, pencils and digital painting go together very nicely.
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dik pose
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Post by dik pose » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:58 pm

I love inking... I love the look of older comics, I love good brush work!

but like everyone else said, depends on style and all that... I tend to not like "pencil only" art, at least the ones where you can tell the artist is just not confident enough to really make a mark on the page.

anyways, time and a place for everything, and sometimes art calls for strong ink lines, sometimes for warm pencil lines.

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Matt Bernier
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Post by Matt Bernier » Thu Mar 08, 2007 6:37 pm

In theory I have nothing against using pencils for finished work. I've often heard the complaint from artists that their pencils lose a certain vibrancy or life when inked. Perosonally, my pencils are ugly, stiff, and lifeless, and convey none of the goodness of my inked art whatsoever.

I'd also have to say that with the exception of Renee French and a few others, I loathe the look of pencil finished art. I seem to be in a growing minority, but even in the case of someone very skilled and talented like Kazu, I have to actively work to forget how the drawing looks in order to enjoy the work, because my distaste for the painted pencil work is so distracting to me.

I've seen some digital artists who forgo outlines almost altogether, in favor of using blocks of color in their drawings, (Lost colony for example, or like in the backgrounds of Kazu's comics, or in Kazu's digital paintings), and I have to say I find the effect infinitely more pleasing.

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megrar
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Post by megrar » Fri Mar 09, 2007 12:38 pm

i love penciled comics, when they're done right, and I favor my own work in pencils--i never have found a thin enough pen nib to satisfy me.

however, i do want my penciled comics to be clean. it is distracting to see the crossed placement lines on faces of characters. if someone is doing a comic in a nontraditional manner, they should take care to clean up their lines. i loved Pride of Bagdad, for example, but the art irritated me because of how sketchy everything was. it looked lazy (i know it wasn't pencil).

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