My latest quest is to figure out digital inking. I really like working with india ink, and I like the look of a well-inked piece. Part of my problem is that I’ve reached a certain skill level with pen and ink, and I’m resisting having to relearn: I want my skill with digital inking to be immediate!

There seems to be two main schools of digital inking: the brush school and the pen school. Here’s a pen example:

And here’s a brush example:

One of the things that stands out to me is that all of the examples I see of pen tool inking is that the pencils are really tight, and the inkers are basing their pen lines on the weights suggested by the pencils. (Ty always says that “Inkers don’t make lines, they make decisions” The pen users seem to be closer to the “making lines” end of that spectrum). The brush examples sometimes have looser pencils — I notice that the artist in the brush video above tends to “find the line” a lot. They’ll draw a line, mentally ask, “Is that the line?” Decide, “no” and then undo and try it again five or six times for each line. Interesting.

Part of me wonders to what extent art style plays a role, here. The pen method seems to work nicely with a more cartoony style (although, obviously, the brush example I provided is plenty cartoony).

This video, here:

seems to argue that Photoshop isn’t that great for inking — he dumps his images into Illustrator and inks there. So, hm. Not sure what to make of that. I notice that the only times I see really nice sawtooth strokes, the artists seem to be using Illustrator.

Take this one for example:

Nice sawtooth (see around 3:45).

Figuring out an ideal workflow is an interesting exercise.

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