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Inking Your Sketch

Inking Your Sketch


    The next step is to make a new layerunder the panels layers but above the sketch itself.  Using the pen tool, and choosing a width, go ahead an ink.  Your settings will options called Stroke In and Stroke Out.  I like these settings; It means the lines you make will be smaller (Or bigger, if you change it that way) when you go into the line, or begin in, and when you go out, or stop.  I like this as this is how real materials work, just like how handwriting has very fine lines and pressure points, where a stroke begins or ends.  Turning these off will give you a thick, uniform line, which looks to computer-generated for my own taste.  It's really your choice.

  Do not use the pen tool to color in solid blacks; Those solid blacks are a tone, not the pen tool.  Don't use the pen tool, you'll only waste time.

  Do use new layers for each stage of inking.  I typically go through a page and ink, for example, all the eyes at once, then make a new layer and ink all the hair.  Why?  Say I keep messing up a stroke; When I erase it, I don't need to worry that I'll erase part of something else.  Everything is isolated to it's own layer.

  You may notice I use different line widths for different things; Eyes are the smallest, with hair being thicker (As it tends to be the bulk of the head.)  This lets people know what's close or far; Julian's hair, being thick, usually takes up some of the foreground of his face, but this has to do with Julian's specific hair type, style, and consistency.  Wavy hair is generally thicker and tends to kind of sit; It doesn't flow in the wind like someone with thin, straight hair, would.  Hence, Julian's style is mostly a face-frame, which is one of the few things wavy hair lends itself to (And if you're lucky enough to find a stylist who can work with it.)  So while some people might find this wrong, and they probably will e-mail me to tell me Julian's hair should be thin and everytime the wind blows, it should separate into a million strands to be blown around in, his isn't the same as, say, Sailor Moon's, a character with hair more along these lines; His is more like, to compare within the same series, Sailor Neptune's, also thick and wavy.  Julian's hair is also shaped, something, yes, very real and very easily archived by a stylist.  Because his hair is thicker, it tangles more, and when the wind blows it doesn't move each strand so much as it does the whole as a mass, as many strands flow and make a wave together, having some friction.

  But this doesn't apply to Ezra, who you'll notice has more high-lighting on his hair; Because of his genetics, his hair would blow in the wind into a billion strands.  Not all inking methods, or types of pen width, apply to the same for each character.

  I keep eyes on a small pen, so I can get loads of itty-bitty details with it's shape and lash line.


  Skin is tricky; You'll probably want to give it a bold line, but I advise against it.  Line doesn't really exist when it comes to our forms; Lines are, at best, created from light, shadow, hue, saturation.  In life, people are not out-lined.  A thick line isn't really needed, because there aren't lines in reality.  At best, a thin line, caused by one shape and color overlapping another, can somewhat be ascertained if you squint really hard.  Hence, I use thin lines, personally.  I feel like they let me get a lot of little details, like Julian's hand wrinkling on it's palm as he holds it in such a way.


  Also, notice Julian's hand is in the foreground, so it's drawn bigger, almost the size of Julian's face*.  


*We're fairly positive that the ratio of one's hand to face is not a good means to diagnosing cancer, but it is​ a good means of someone punching you in the face with your own hand.  Don't fall for this.


A Notes on Faces


  People have a habit of giving characters huge, or very long, faces to allow for all the features.  This is so common as it's the result of human nature; We focus on the face, and as humans, we see it as so important, we grossly overestimate how much room these features actually need.

  A class I took once required Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain as a text; This is a book for people who cannot draw at all and if you get into a class with it, you might need to scoot on up to Drawing 2.  Regardless, it helps many people, and had a good exercise for faces.

  If you can, go to a mirror with a magic or eraser-board marker, so you won't like, incur your parents/roommates/housemates/landlord's wrath.  Look at your own face and draw a line at the top of your eyebrows, right where they begin, and the bottom of your lip.  Step on back and measure this with a ruler; You'll be surprised, probably, to find the room from your eyebrows to lip is probably about 3 to 4 inches.  And this is my face, which is long; Most people's will be smaller.

  The reality is, most facial space is occupied by forehead, chin, and cheeks.  Try to leave room for them, okay?


A Note on Shadows


  Inking in the lines for where you want shadows or high-lights isn't a great move; It kind of leaves an amateur feel.  Try to make those marks, if you need them, only on the sketch layer.  You can get away with this only in small amounts; You'll see I often ink a shadow beside the nose, especially, but later this is toned around enough to let it go; It looks detailed, when toned right, as opposed to someone looking like they were worried of forgetting where to tone.  Don't let your readers think you're unsure of what you're doing!

 Next, The "Fun" Part; Tones.


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