Best brush size for line art?
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    Best brush size for line art?

    Hello all,

    Can anyone give some advice as to which brush size is most suitable for line art-ing comic books? I'll be using Painter for this, and I've chosen a customized pencil variant for this. But I guess the tool doesn't matter, I just need to know the size.

    I ask this because having switched to digital media (and with all privileges of zooming in and out) I find it hard to see what size is suitable for line art and keep things consistent. My line art looks too thick, even when drawing with a brush at 0.1px. Is there a way to view the brush size adjuster in mm? Atleast that way I can keep track as to how it might look when printed.

    Back in the day when I was a more traditional pen-on-paper guy, I remember how choosing the right pen size (0.01, 0.1, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 and so on...) was all it took to get the right line widths on an A4 paper.

    Thanks.

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    I don't do comic books or much line art but...

    In general, if you are working on a canvas that is, for example 118 pixels per centimetre (this is the equivalent of 300ppi), and you want a 1mm line, then you would need a brush size of approximately 11 pixels. However, Painter's brushes have their own "personalities" and I find that often, when compared to Photoshop's, they appear to make lines -roughly- double the thickness, i.e. an 11px brush in Ps produces a similar line to a 5px brush in Painter. To be honest, I don't even know if Painter's brush size refers to pixels. But this means that a Painter brush of size 4 or 5 would be produce a 1mm line width on a canvas of 300ppi. Again, a lot depends on the brushes you use.

    Aside from that, I'd suggest making some lines of varying thickness on a typical canvas size and printing them out to see which size is closest to your desired thickness.

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    Here's my advice. Draw something with traditional ink and paper and scan it in at 300 ppi. Open it up in Painter and then try to copy the line work. You'll then work out what size is best. It's really up to the resolution of the image.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Ross View Post
    Here's my advice. Draw something with traditional ink and paper and scan it in at 300 ppi. Open it up in Painter and then try to copy the line work. You'll then work out what size is best. It's really up to the resolution of the image.
    Thanks, that's a really good idea! Why didn't I think of that before?!...

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    Well you kinda know when you draw. You can tell when it's too big by...drawing. It's not like you can't resize it if the line is too big or small.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arshes Nei View Post
    Well you kinda know when you draw. You can tell when it's too big by...drawing. It's not like you can't resize it if the line is too big or small.
    Well, it does sound that simple. But I'm not getting into details right now.

    For now, Jason Ross's advice solved my problems. So I kind of feel embarrassed, especially when the solution is something as simple as scanning a page! I was expecting something more technical, etc. Haha.

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    Well the reason I say that is that it entirely depends what you're doing this for. Scanning a page isn't always the right solution if you need a certain resolution for your client.

    Or are you doing this for web?

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    Its for print, roughly an A4 at 300ppi. For now the inking is quite matching up to my expectations. I know I shouldn't be making a big deal out of this, cause as you mentioned before, I can just simply control the brush size as I draw along. But I feel I should avoid this, since I have a habit of zooming in and out, the next thing I know I got thick lines on one area and thin ones on another...

    Cause with a real pen, the size won't change, no matter how far or close you put your face to the paper. That's my theory anyway.

    But yeah, I might eventually plan to upload this in some webcomic site or something. Would reducing the file size to 72ppi lose its quality? I did an experiment, it didn't look so bad, but the lettering got all fuzzy because of the shrinking.

    Crazy, but maybe I'll have to re-letter everything so that the words maintain crisp. I use Illustrator for the lettering.

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    Well there's no reason to upload at 300 ppi unless it's for print. So you can work larger and reduce down to 72 ppi for web. Also, the fuzziness can be attributed to what format you're saving your work in, not so much the file reduction.

    I'm not sure why the analogy for a traditional pen changing size though. Inkers use brushes which can change in size for dynamic lines.

    Basically, let's say your file size is at a higher resolution. We'll say 300 ppi. At 1/4 of that is 75 ppi. When you zoom out at 25% does it still look good?

    It also depends on how large the canvas is as well. Obviously you want the size to be viewable to the user. If you work on a canvas size that is 4000 pixels in width and height at 72ppi and reduce the size of the canvas in half at 2000x2000 (save it with as much loss-less quality as possible) if it looks good at half that size there you go.

    Work zoomed out for basics, then zoom in when necessary. That's probably your problem.

    Work at sizes 100%, 75%, 50% 25% (especially if 25% is going to be the size you'll post at). If they look good on those sizes, correctly saving them in a lossless format you'll be fine.

    I usually port over the product to Photoshop and use Save for Web (which even Photoshop Elements has) to compress it into a jpg for more reasonable downloading/viewing.

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