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You've done the sketches, you've got the piece, and now you want to ink it. No problem! Follow along to learn how to ink pencil drawings in traditional media - using technical pens, brushes, and good old India Ink.
- Clean up your pencil drawing as much as possible. It's okay to leave a few lines to show where shading/color will go, but for the most part, you want to have a clean pencil drawing with only the base lines present. The picture to the right shows how our drawing looks before we start adding the ink.
- Put down the base - first inking. Go over your drawing, tracing over the major lines with a pen. A pen with a fine nib works best here, as this is simply another step to clean up the drawing as much as possible. When you're done, you should have a clean outline of your drawing. Don't worry about line thickness yet - just outline, erase the pencil, and move on to the next step.
- Add depth and smoothness - second inking. Once all the pencil lines are gone, go over your drawing a second time, darkening the lines, making them smooth, and adding thickness. Use a brush, a brush pen, or a technical pen of any nib size here. There are many ways to decide which lines should be thicker. Some people only thicken the lines that separate the subject from the background, leaving detail lines thin. In this drawing, the artist thickened the lines meant to delineate shadow. Experiment with different nibs, methods, and styles to determine which you like best.
- Add texture. Using a variety of strokes - including but not limited to: hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, scumbling, etc. - add texture to the different parts of your drawing. This is where an eye for detail comes in useful. Once again, you can get a plethora of different strokes from a brush pen, and layer them to add depth and dynamics to a piece. Alternatively, you may choose to use pre-manufactured tones, as is often done in manga.
- Add tone. Finish up the piece by adding definition to shadows and contours, smoothing lines, and generally cleaning up your ink work.
- Work slowly and don't rush. While sketching is the fast and furious side of drawing, inking is slow and methodical. Rushing is a sure way to make mistakes.
- When laying down your first and second layers, try to draw using your arm, not just your wrist, to make the lines smoother.
- Small mistakes can be cleaned up with white ink. Don't use white out - it will ruin your paper.
- Stippling can be tedious - try stippling to music, dotting with the beat. It will keep you interested and keep you from turning your dots into dot-dashes.
- If you want to color your work, consider using watercolor. It works well with waterproof India Ink and can add a whole new level of depth to your piece.
Things You'll Need
- A finished pencil drawing
- Technical pens in a variety of sizes
- Brush pens (optional)
- Brush and ink (optional)
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