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

    I thought A4 was the size, not the quality, i see what you mean though, some good feedback there.

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    Eplains a lot of the "no smudges questions" you have too. I have no clue how you guys call that in English.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jem'ennuie View Post

    Eplains a lot of the "no smudges questions" you have too. I have no clue how you guys call that in English.
    In English we call it a light desk, or in the case of portable desktop units, a light box.

    I have one (light box) for hand drawn animation... you can pick up an OK one for 25-30 bucks off of Amazon.

    That is the traditional way comic book artists ink. Rough pencils to tight pencils, then use the light box and a clean sheet of paper to ink the drawing. Nowadays they either use that method, or scan it into the computer. Some even ink just straight onto a clean sheet, only using a rough pencil sketch to look at on the side for reference, but those guys are super talented.

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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?
    Yes, you can either lay down the basic shapes in NP-blue/red/3H pencil and then ink right over top of it, or you can lay down basic shapes and then go back over them in a darker pencil (2B or thereabouts) and then ink as a third step- it's more work but this way you avoid drawing too much (dark) stuff that needs to be erased while still having the option to erase when needed.

    As for inking pens, really, just use anything that works. There are no comicker police to come rummage through your art supplies and make sure they're up to code. I use Microns and a Pentel brush pen, but (and I'm copying this list out of a book now) other people use brushes (Windsor-Newton Series 7, anything made of sable), nib pens (Crowquill, Hunt, Zebra, Tachikawa, Nikko, Rotring), regular pens (Koh-I-Noor, Rotring, Staedtler, Copic), or ink digitally. I even know someone who uses ball-point pen for all her inking. 8-/

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    There is manny equations involving why lead smudges, but if you work asa inker you cant really tell a artist to use harder lead if they like to work with soft with lead, for avoid smudges there is manyn ways, lightboard/table is one solution, another is to have soemthing under your hand protecting the pencill work like a sheet of paper or tisue, the other and one is to use a glove.

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    or just use a cheap fabric glove with cut out fingers. no harm to that.

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    i simply put a piece of paper under my hand. thats it. if you still have a smudge, simply erase it after inking. i draw with a 2 or 3h. limited smudging

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonZ_ View Post
    or just use a cheap fabric glove with cut out fingers. no harm to that.
    this also is a very good way to ink your pages.. specially in summer where sweaty hands cause grease spots..where no ink will go..!

    i usually use an F or H pencil in summer on comic pages and draw with a lite touch..

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    I'm a comic book artist and we avoid smudges by using the best materials. You don't have to erase non-repro blue and it doesn't smudge. Harder graphite doesn't smudge. You have to get everything in place to ink - paper, pencil, erasers, ink, brushes and nibs.

    Paper

    Three-ply bristol board with a kid finish is the best to use. A kid finish has enough tooth (roughness) in the paper for the pencil and is smooth enough to lay down india ink. Plate finish is too smooth for pencil work. A rough paper needs a fast, fluid ink. A smooth plate glossy paper requires a slow ink.

    While three-ply is the best; for economic reasons two-ply is used by most companies. But you can still be economical and use the best paper. Bristol board is available in large sheets. Buy it this way and cut it down to size. The art store may cut the paper to size for you in the store; if you are nice and say pretty please. This is the cheapest way to buy paper and get more bang for your buck.

    Comic books are usually drawn on two-ply bristol board. A rough finish may make some pen nibs catch on the tooth if you apply pressure. Ink takes longer to dry on the smooth plate finish, so be careful not to touch it.

    There is a difference between different brands of paper. Cheaper brands are less reliable.

    Pencil

    A non-repro blue pencil is great to use because you don't have to erase it. Anything that saves you time is an asset.

    Now if for some reason you do not want to use a non-repro blue pencil, then you can use a regular gray pencil. Even though pencils are referred to as having lead, it is really mostly graphite.

    Art pencils use the English scale to grade graphite which is a combination of numbers and letters with "B" standing for soft graphite that gets blacker the softer it is and much messier. The higher the number the softer the graphite and the more it smears.

    "H" stand for hardness of the graphite. The higher the number, the harder the graphite and the lighter the pencil mark made.

    "F" stands for fine point. As you start from F to 9H the pencil is able to hold a fine point longer.

    The fun of art is exploring and playing with the tools to see what they can do. Run away from anyone that tells you you should use an HB or 2B pencil. Buy every pencil grade and draw with them all and see what works for you.

    Erasers

    Pink Pearl, plastic, art gum, kneaded and erasers are the kinds most often used. You don't want to let your palm touch the paper while you're drawing. Hand oils and sweat harm the paper surface and can make it difficult to erase and to lay down ink. So you certainly don't want to buy an eraser that has oil in it.

    All of the above erasers have oil in them which I stated is not good for the paper. So what is an artist to do?

    The answer is simple use something that doesn't have oil, which is POSTER ADHESIVE (poster putty). This is the removable/reusable adhesive used to hang posters and papers sold in most drug and stationery stores. The actual ingredients are corporate secrets. The important thing is it contains no oil!

    Ink

    You want to use ink that is waterproof.

    Brushes

    Be prepared to spend lots of money on good brushes. Invest in a good brush! Wet the hair and make sure it will come to a point in the store. Hands down the brush to buy is Windsor·Newton series 7. Number 2 and 3 are good sizes to own.

    Pen Nibs

    A narrow nib must use a fluid, fast ink and gives the best performance.
    Broad nibs must use slow inks with higher viscosity.

    Fast ink will leave the nib before or at first contact with the paper. A slow ink will stick to the nib and will not want to leave like a adult living in their parent's basement.

    If your style does not rely on thin and thick strokes, then NEVER touch the nib to the paper. Let your nib hover closely above the paper and let the ink forming on the nib provide the contact.

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    I don't know why this thread was originally revived. (Last post before dutchmonkies was 2009)

    But at least Symsons post was very helpful and detailed so it was for a good cause in the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    I don't know why this thread was originally revived. (Last post before dutchmonkies was 2009)

    But at least Symsons post was very helpful and detailed so it was for a good cause in the end.
    OOoopsies! I didn't realize this was an old post. I responded because it showed up in New Posts search.

    I'm glad it was helpful.

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    We need a Thread Necro icon.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Symson View Post
    OOoopsies! I didn't realize this was an old post. I responded because it showed up in New Posts search.

    I'm glad it was helpful.
    Yours wasnt the one that necro'd the thread. There were indeed newer posts before that.
    Its no biggie, just wanted to highlight that even necros can lead to good contributions.

    Sometimes...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Star Eater View Post
    Yours wasnt the one that necro'd the thread. There were indeed newer posts before that.
    Its no biggie, just wanted to highlight that even necros can lead to good contributions.

    Sometimes...
    Maybe I should put this information in TUTORIALS, TIPS & TRICKS so it will be easier to access?

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    Good idea. You create the thread and I will sticky it so it remains visible.

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    below is a selection of materials i am using

    for comic strips..

    it may be of interest..




    daler A4 and A3 laytout pads

    fabriano a4 lisci ..large sheets and 5 metre roll

    schoellerhammer drawing paper A1 sheets bought in packs of ten

    arches 80lb hot pressed or 160 hp . A1sheets for cover illustrations ..packs of ten

    windsor and newton 80lb hot pressed A1 sheets packs of ten..

    A3 rowney smooth surface bristol board pads..


    steadtler .05 mechanical pencil .. h and hb leads

    berol trad pencil hb

    edding 1800 fibretip .05 and 01

    gillot 303 nibs

    gillot 1950 fine nibs

    windsor and newton brushes ..series 33 school of art

    for black in anymore expensive brush is a waste of money aso for acrylic ink..

    and series 7 for watercolour


    windsor and newton black ink

    rotring ink black

    rotring mechanical pen ink black


    putty rubbers, rowney ,winsdor and newton

    steadtler plastic rubber
    large number of plastic metric rulers (they get lost easily)
    cotton fingerless gloves

    sensible chair ..not swivel ..lightbox.. 2 daylight lamps and daylight bulbs (i live in the north )

    best wishes to all young comic strip artists ..

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