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  1. #1
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    Question How do comic book artists ink their sketches without pencil smudges?

    Can anyone tell me how comic book artists do inking on their comics. I would like to know because whenever I try to do inking on any of my sketches the pencil marks and smudges stay there even when I try to erase them. I just use normal A4 printing paper for my sketches. What paper would be recommended for comic art? And for inking I am using a Staedtler 0.1 pigment liner pen is this the right pen for inking? Can anyone tell me what is best for inking and how they professional artists do their inking?
    Thanks in advance

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  3. #2
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    I'm not 100% sure, but I believe they use tissue paper under their hands while going over the lines, or they use india ink and a brush so that their hand never even touches the paper. I could be wrong though...

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  4. #3
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    There's no one right way to draw and ink comics pages, but there are a couple of wrong ways- and I reckon using A4 paper is one of them! Don't you find that the paper gets destroyed too easily if you draw and erase too much on one spot? I'd say find some sturdier paper first. Bristol for example. Something like that.

    For inking there are a wide range of options. From pens to brush-pens to brush and ink to dip-pens. You basically just have to try things until you find something that looks the way you want it to.

    I wouldn't worry too much if you've got some residual pencil marks after inking and erasing. If you are either colouring on the computer or copying in black+white, that pencil should be easy to get rid of. If you're planning on colouring straight on the page it could be an issue. When you're pencilling, are you drawing first with a 3H or 4H pencil (or non-photo-blue), and then drawing finer detail on top of that? That's something worth trying.

    Another technique some people use is to ink on tracing paper laid over top of the pencilled page.

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    Using smooth bristol board will probably make a big difference for you. This guy http://www.conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=6823 talks somewhat about pens he uses for inking and also note his use of a glove for preventing hand smudges on the drawing.

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    You can try a few things. The first I'd recommend is a harder pencil. If you are using a soft pencil (anything in the "B" range) you'll run the risk of smudging. I personally like "F", but experiment with the "H" pencils too and see if you like any of them.

    Using tissue paper to cover your art can work. So can a bridge (an elevated hand rest). You can also try workable fixative spray to set your pencil, but you may want to play with it on throw away sketches before using it on something important first, as I'm not sure if some brands might react poorly with some inks.

    The other thing is just practice. With some effort you can train yourself to not drag your hand on the paper so much. Teach yourself to lift your hand and reposition when you need to.

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    A clean scrap piece of paper under your hand works well. Also, non-repro pencils (aka non-photo or non-print) have less of a tendency to smear than graphite.

    EDIT: If you use any sort of fixative you'll have problems erasing the pencil afterwards if that needs to be done.

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    It's the paper. Cheap printer paper doesn't tend to take erasure well. Good bristol is much more forgiving.


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    There's no "right" way to ink... inkers work with whatever's comfortable for them and gives the line they're looking for. Try a lot of different things to find out what works well for you.

    If you've never done this before, I'd recommend getting a decent brush (WindsorNewton series 7 is the classic... try a #1 or a #2 depending on how big you work) and a bottle of india ink. You can get some amazing line quality with a brush, though it does take some practice.

    An yes, do try working on bristol paper.

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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdalton View Post
    There's no one right way to draw and ink comics pages, but there are a couple of wrong ways- and I reckon using A4 paper is one of them! Don't you find that the paper gets destroyed too easily if you draw and erase too much on one spot? I'd say find some sturdier paper first. Bristol for example. Something like that.

    For inking there are a wide range of options. From pens to brush-pens to brush and ink to dip-pens. You basically just have to try things until you find something that looks the way you want it to.

    I wouldn't worry too much if you've got some residual pencil marks after inking and erasing. If you are either colouring on the computer or copying in black+white, that pencil should be easy to get rid of. If you're planning on colouring straight on the page it could be an issue. When you're pencilling, are you drawing first with a 3H or 4H pencil (or non-photo-blue), and then drawing finer detail on top of that? That's something worth trying.

    Another technique some people use is to ink on tracing paper laid over top of the pencilled page.
    Thanks for the info I would like to know a little bit more about those non-photo-blue pencils. Can you tell me how comic book artists use them? do they first start out drawing the basic shapes with the photo-blue of say a superhero then add the details over the basic shapes with an inking pen? And could you tell me what type of inking pen would be recommended?

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    Fineliners and brushes are fine. We discussed dip pens in pretty good detail in this thread.http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...ghlight=Inking

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    Quote Originally Posted by demonicdude View Post
    Thanks for the info I would like to know a little bit more about those non-photo-blue pencils. Can you tell me how comic book artists use them? do they first start out drawing the basic shapes with the photo-blue of say a superhero then add the details over the basic shapes with an inking pen? And could you tell me what type of inking pen would be recommended?
    They use slightly blue or red markers, the scanner can't see the pencil marks of blue / red marks and doesn't register them.

    Because the scanner has red / green / blue sensor to split the light, when it hits the blue or red pencil marks (or green) it won't reflect them back because..duh..blue material absorbs blue light, red - red etc.

    It doesn't have anything to do with the paper. They still have their pencil marks there, they just make sure the scanner doesn't capture them, or they make them dissapear in PS by playing with filters.

    Last edited by Jem'ennuie; February 9th, 2009 at 07:07 PM.
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    I've followed a number of working methds over the years.

    Initially I'd do rough thumbnails, rough layouts, then blow up layouts and lightbox them to the 2-ply bristol board and proceed to pencil.

    Now I thumbnail with chunky markers so I'm forced to pay more attention to shapes and visual movement. I draw layouts at printed size and usually work out the perspective and all the structural matters as precisely as possible. Complex items that are too detailed to comfortably draw at that size end up as perspective grid shapes so I can detail later. I do nearly all my drawing on translucent bond paper and often use it as a tracing paper so I can redraw and revise on a new sheet if the drawing gets too cluttered or messy. The layout is scanned in and I blow it up to art board size in Pshop. At this stage I start tweaking things - -shrinking and enlarging figures, panels, whatever need to make the page work better. I may even do some redrawing or insert 3D Sketchup objects at this stage. When I'm happy with the layout at full size I usually clean it up a bit then do one of two things: if I'm inking it myself I'll convert the lineart to 25% cyan and print it directly onto the artboard, if another person is inking or the appearance of the final artwork is an issue, I'll print it out as is on 11x17" bond and lightbox the page. So much work has been done before any pencil touches the bristol that there isn't an issue with smudges or grooves worn into the board.
    My studio is really set up to work this way; tabloid scanner, Intuos 3 tablet, 13x19 Epson Photo 1400 printer and the box full of Intel. I really don't even need to use paper as I probably could do everything in Pshop (I know people who do), but I actually like the feel of graphite on paper.

    Without my set up, I'd just do most of my drawing on an 11x14" bond pad then lightbox to the board.
    ***
    Inking tools? As long as it doesn't bleed it's all good. Pigment markers tend to fade after the pencils are erased, so I lean towards nibs & brushes more.

    Good luck!

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    The best advice I could offer, and it's advice I gave to my comics students , draw as much of the work off the comics board as possible. The art board is a production asset and it needs to serve more than the needs of the comics artist drawing on it.

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  15. #13
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    When I ink, I scan and print my pencils darkened a lot on 2 sheets of paper and cobble together so it's art board sized, then tape it to the back of some regular Staples white card stock (11x17) and ink on a lighttable. That way I don't have to erase at all and there's no chance of smudging. The Staples cardstock works better for me because it's thinner than blueline boards so you can see the pencil through it a lot better. Not to mention it comes in packs of hundreds instead of 25

    Oh yeah, note that I have only ever done full art, no one else works on my boards so I'm not too worried about the board as long as they scan all right, and I usually do touch-ups in Photoshop too. My methods may not work for a normal pipeline, i.e. not using proper blueline boards.

    Last edited by nonie; February 9th, 2009 at 07:09 PM.
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