Tracing the lines

March 4, 2012 at 00:46 (Blog, Comic, Drawing) (, , , , )

I’ve inked quite a bit, but always my own work. For some reason I got the urge to try inking over someone else’s pencils today and started googling for something I could use. After a few minutes I found a topic at the Penciljack forums that led me here. I picked one of the boards from the “Fear Agent” series.

I knew it would be a challenge, and not just because it’s another mans work I’d be inking over. It was also much more detailed than anything else I’d done before AND had anatomically correct figures in it (with one very huge exception). So I opened the file in Photoshop and used the colorize option in the Hue/Saturation panel to change the linework to light blue, then printed it out on some relatively sturdy paper. Not bristol board, but not far off in quality either.
I’ve come to several conclusions while working on this piece:

– Inking takes time. I only had one panel finished after several hours work.
– I need some new brushes. The one’s I have start to split.
– I need some serious practice on my feathering technique.
– Inking requires more than just writing on top of the lines.

That last part I was actually aware of from before, but never more so than when I was working on a drawing I hadn’t designed myself. Pencils leave soft marks, something  difficult to emulate with ink, and sometimes the penciler forget to add something that makes a part really jarring and you have to add it yourself (or vica versa).

I had planned on inking using a brush, but it seems none of my brushes has survived months of abuse. This became apparent when I started on the hair of the lady in the upper left. I couldn’t get the brush to a pine enough point, so I ended up switching to a  nib pen instead.

I started drawing at the upper left and progressed down and reight from there, and if you study my work thoroughly (click the image below for full size) you can see the change in techniques and results as I experiment to find a style that suits me. This is most apparent on the smudges in the background where the leftmost smudge has a line around it while the other smudges does not.

Please, take a look, study what you see, and let me know what you think and which parts I could have done better.

As you can see I botched the lines of the panel border. I also made a few lines outside it. I chose not to edit them away so you could see the true result. The only editing I did to the ink is to make the black a little darker (scanning seems to gray it out quite a bit).

By the way, I should probably mention that small X’es in the penciling is a hint to the inker that these areas should be filled in with black. Saves time when you don’t have to shade huge areas.

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