Improve and Understanding Inking Techniques


In this tutorial, I'll be sharing to you how to get better on your inking and tries to understand it so that it will be easy for you to apply it on different situations not just by randomly adding different stuff anywhere.

Take note that this can be applied to both Traditional and Digital.

Video Tutorial

For other ways of tutorial, visit my youtube video.

Introduction to Line Art Improvement

It is always fine to do a line art like as long as you finish it with crazy coloring with all the elements of lighting and shadows.
Something plain equal thickness lines and no line weight applied.

But since we're not doing colors here, let's forget about the colors and focus on Line Drawing.

Adding Line Weight can make your Line Art better but when do we really need to add some line weight and where should we add it?

Line Weight (Emphasize the Figure)

This is when you don't put line weight to the subject. The subject blends in to the background especially when the background is very detailed.

But by adding line weight to the subject can help it to separate to the background just like on this next photo.

You can also add line weight to the overlapping area just like his arm. It will help your eyes see the detail of the subject and identify that this is a person. It will emphasize some areas to make the subject readable to our eyes despite of having too much details on a single illustration.

Line Weight (Distance Difference)

The more closer the subject, the thicker line it gets.

But take note that details on the farther objects of background has lesser details.

You don't necessarily need to draw all the details even on a detailed subject on the background. less is better if it is farther so that your eye won't be distracted to other things on the background.

In fact, this one still a little bit detailed. You can still make it lesser.

Line Weight (Ambient Occlusion)

Might some of you are new to this word.
Ambient Occlusion is use mostly on 3D, but what is it?

It is the darkest area of the shadow.

For me, this is the important detail on adding line weight.

Line Art is another way of showing Ambient Occlusion.

Ambient Occlusion to every corners and it helps us see things being separated and create depth just like how Line Art acts.
Reality doesn't have Line Art so Ambient Occlusion takes over but on drawing, we are free to do anything.
To help us see things being separated, we apply Line Art.

Adding more Line Weight to corners where Ambient Occlusion mostly exist will helps us see more depth on the area.

This is also the reason why there's a gap between anime lips.
You can't see the Ambient Occlusion all the time because sometimes, when stuff are overlapping each other, some edges are blending in together behind it, so that is why you don't have to put too much details on background.

Introduction on Black and White Shading

Since we're done with the Line Art Techniques. You might be interested on doing some shading with just pen and ink just like on Manga and Comics.

There are a lot of ways on shading but will be sharing at least 4 popular techniques.

This can be applied to both Digital and Traditional.

But before we proceed, make sure all the dark colors are turned into Black.

1A. Hatching

Hatching is one of the most popular pen and ink shading.
A shading with closely drawn parallel lines and make sure they are going on same direction.
Avoid the other lines going to different directions.

Adding Initial Line Drawing where you want your shadow to stop can help you make more precise shadow especially when you are doing this traditionally.

1B. Hatching Hacks on Digital

In digital art, it will be easier for you to do this by adding parallel lines on top of the entire illustration and add a Layer Mask to it and then hide all the unnecessary areas.

The Blue highlights are the areas were being hidden and the ones not being highlighted are the ones being shown on the canvas.

And this is how it looks like on the Layers.

2. Cross-Hatching

Same as hatching but with 2 or more different angle overlapping.

The darker the area, the more angles you apply.

For me, cross hatching are good on polygonal object but still can be applied to rounded objects of course.
Though, there's a best hatching you can use on rounded objects, especially on human body which most edges are round.

3. Contour Hatching | Cross-Contour Hatching

This is very similar to cross hatching but more on following the shape of the object.

Some artist thinks they are doing cross hatching but they are actually using contour hatching.

In cross hatching, we have more freedom on hatching direction but it doesn't mean that you have to apply it in random.

You have to at least go to the direction that can emphasize an object.

Doing it in wrong direction can kill the object's shape so you must be careful.

Hatching alone is good, but adding a different technique can help too.

4. Solid Shading

I am sure you've been seeing this mostly on black and white comics.

Just think of a Line Weight but more thicker and occupied at least half of the shadow.

It can get a great effect on Dark scene like at night but it can also be applied on daylight too.

Make sure to set the light on a good direction because that always matters on doing a shadow.

Final Words

Some might failed to do this technique but trying it again and again can lead you more to better result. We are not perfect and mistakes are normal to occur and that's the time we can learn stuff by fixing the current mistakes.
Make sure to practice more on lighting because it is always the key on having a better shading. Adding the light on the wrong direction can put the drawing into mess so be careful for it.
Plan the things you add before you make it. Decide and think ahead of time.
If you have changes later on, don't be afraid because that is normal.

To be more better on Inking, make sure to follow some artist who are good at it. That wouldn't be me though but I am sure there's a lot of them in the internet especially those professional artist who makes comics.

Keep on seeing great artworks and I can guarantee that it can help you improve more.


Related articles


New Official Articles