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<table width="75%" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" align="center" bgcolor="white"><tr><td height="121" align="left" valign="top" bgcolor="white"><img src="…" alt="" / ></td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px; vertical-align: top;">This is a tutorial on how I personally go from a concept sketch, to a finished ink piece. A lot of people have asked me how I ink, so this is pretty much here to explain a few things. DO NOT follow these directions exactly…you will end up with a big mess.

I am by no means a professional inker and I pretty much make it up as I go along. But this is here just to give you the basic idea of how I ink... very differently than most people. I hope this helps some people out in the long run.

Matthew Woodson: aka boyinmidair
</td></tr><tr><td align="left" ></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">Strathmore Bristol Vellum, 11X14 or bigger:
This stuff is great, and cheap…most inkers don't use it because of the rough texture, but it gives me the exact effect I want. There is another type of Bristol Vellum somewhere out there by AquaBee, but I think they are out of business now. If you find this paper, USE it … it's really amazing paper.

Koh-I-Noor Rapidomatic .5mm Mechanical pencil:
I usually sketch with this, its fast, sturdy, and heavy. I guess it's a drafting pencil, but it gives me the lines I want.

Brushes (varying sizes, usually 0/3 and 6):
If I had money, I would buy real sable brushes, but I don't, so I am stuck with synthetic. I don't buy fancy brushes at all, because I go through them so fast…but synth. Sable takes ink well, experiment around if you have the money for it.

Higgins Black Magic Ink:
This stuff is my god. I usually let it sit out with the cap open for a few days before using it, it makes it real think, and real nice for brush work (especially dry brush). It's cheap, dark, and permanent.

Light Box:
I am a light box junkie. I hate erasing things, so if I sketch, and want a new sketch, I just trace through on a new piece of paper. It's why my transitions between pages are so so jumpy. But light boxes are SUPER expensive, so make your own! I used a big tin can, with a lightbulb in it and a piece of plexi-glass over it for almost 5 years.

But eventually I bought an actual lightbox, that has served me quite well. BE CAREFUL in making your own though…you can burn stuff really easily (ie; plexiglass, paper, hands, etc)

Staedtler Mars Plastic Eraser:
They are big, tough, and never get really dirty. These things are intense, and have been known to even erase black magic ink.

Sakura Waterproof Micron pens:
these are cheap, and stupid. I use them to draw borders, and letter things. I just have like one of those trusty 6 packs. I also use the thicker pens to sketch a lot.

PaperMate Liquid Paper:
yeah…uhh, it's just whiteout. Just plain ole' whiteout.

2" Artist's masking tape:
Self explanatory.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr>
<tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">This is the stupidest step, I gotta say. This is my "concept sketch" step. These sketches are never well worked out, and almost always done in class, on a train, or on a bus. And are drawn everywhere, napkins, notebooks, etc. They usually contain stupid things, like homework assignments and stupid cartoon drawings of myself feeling sorry for myself.

I did this one in the middle of my Writing Workshop class, with a Micron 08 pen. Just figuring out perspective, anatomy, and foreshortening of the anatomy for the figure. This was based loosely on a girl that was sitting in front of me at a diner, though I never saw her face…so improvisation came into play. ANY anatomy class will pretty much tell you to begin drawing figures using simple shapes, like I have done here. But proportion is another question entirely, I couldn't tell you how to draw in proportion if I wanted to…it just kinda works out for me in the end to look decent.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr>
<tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">After the "concept sketch" I decide if I like it or not, and if I do I slap it down on a lightbox and redraw it to see what I want out of it. This sketch usually starts spacing out objects, figuring out texture and dark spots. But it is still always sloppy, and never really explains anything.

You can see here that I worked out the hair a bit more, and was working out the foreshortening of the arm too. But other than that it is still very very loose.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">Once again, we go back to the lightbox, and do some drawing. This is where the drawing really comes together. I worked out all the proportions, and dark areas. I also drew in the box around the piece with a Micron Pen (I don't know why I like boxes so much, so don't bother asking). You can also see me putting more detail in the foreground than the background, trying to bring out depth, to an obviously dimensional piece. In this step I get EVERYTHING down that I want, because next comes the inks!</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">INK! Oh sweet sweet ink. Here I take a pretty small brush (0 or 1), and just pretty much layout the larger white areas of the foreground, not worrying too much about detail. There is nothing too exciting going on here…I am not sure why I made this its own step. Laying out the wide open spaces really gives you a sense of where to go next with the ink.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">I LOVE DRAWING HAIR! Pretty much what I do is take the thinnest (3/0) brush I have, and load it up with ink. I do a lot of improvising when it comes to highly textured areas like hair. I layout the dark areas first, being rather sloppy and just making sure that I fill out the dark areas, so I can remember where they are. Then I go at it with the detail…I get asked a lot "how do you get such thin lines?" well…I don't really know what to say, other than patience, and obsessive compulsiveness.

Half the time I hold my breath with each line, because the breathing out could disrupt the line…this is because I am crazy though, and wouldn't recommend this. It can lead to hyperventilation and dizziness. I try to get as LITTLE of the ink and brush to touch the paper as possible, when I am doing things like hair….it is very hard to get used to, but very helpful in the end.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">REMEMBER KIDS! Thick lines in the foreground, thin lines in the background….it gives a sense of depth (why am I telling you this? I usually forget it myself). I have no idea how to do none. I think I was absent that day in high school or something…so I just kinda draw lines until it looks decent. The wood is done the same way as the hair pretty much…just with thinner lines, and a more "woodlike" texture (obviously). I try to make the back of the table more "busy" than the front of the table…kind of the opposite of the "thick lines front, thin lines back" idea…but somehow it works out for me.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">This is my favourite part of all of doing any piece. I take Artist's masking tape, and put it around the edges of the border, and everywhere I don't want ink to get pretty much. If I couldn't get the tape close enough to the line, I then use an Exacto knife to cut off the excess so I can get a clean line (BE CAREFUL though…especially if you are using strathmore paper, not to cut too deep…the paper is very soft, and it will be hard to ink over cut lines). After I have peeled off all the tape that I don't need, I get out one of my fatter brushes (6 or higher), and go to work. I fill in everywhere I want solid black with ink obviously, and then for where I want it "splotchy" I use the dry brush technique. Dry Brush is when you wipe off a lot of ink onto a paper towel or something, and then just lightly place it on the paper... so it gives some visibility to the white paper beneath. A lot of people have weird ways of doing dry brush... but that's how I personally do it. I also sometimes use my fingers to get just a tiny amount of ink where I want it.

I bet you're asking "what the hell are those blotches on her face!?". This is the secret to my work…THE POWER OF WHITEOUT! If I am not satisfied with the balance of contrast, as well as any point of texture, I just start lightly slapping on ink, to be corrected later. Doing this always gives a very "messy" but smooth texture…this is usually done in places where just using a tiny brush won't give the effect I want.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">You can see here, that I have stripped off all my masking tape, and filled in places I had mixed with the large brush, using a smaller brush to get more detail. I have also gone at it with the whiteout, and evened that out with tiny brush strokes (much like the strokes in the hair and wood). I also started experimenting with the smoke with whiteout…trying to see how much light I should put into it.

WHITEOUT is a very very difficult tool to use, and shouldn't be used on anything that you aren't going to scan and change the contrast on a computer program. Whiteout is very shiny, and never the same "tone" as your paper, making it very visible when you are seeing the original piece. But one good thing about whiteout is it works perfectly for covering up inked areas, and it is also very fun to do brush work over. I have been experimenting with other mediums I could use, that would match the paper better (gouache, white ink, etc.) but haven't really found anything that works any better.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">We're done! After some final touch ups with a small brush, some intense erasing, and a little tiny bit of splattering with a small brush (0/3) we are finished.

After I am done with the piece, I scan it into my scanner (usually at about 300dpi) and change the contrast until I am happy with it. Pretty much what you want to do with the contrast is to make it look EXACTLY like the actual piece of paper….lots of scanners can't do this, especially not mine. The original piece is pure white and pure black, and the scanned picture should be as well.</td></tr><tr><td align="left"></td></tr><tr><td valign="top" style="background-color: #DDDDDD; padding: 10px; border: solid #666666 1px;">I hope this helps someone out there. If someone had written this for me when I started out inking, I would have been far too happy for anyone's good. Pretty much just test things out, and see what you like…and of course practice until you can't stand it anymore. The piece that I did for the tutorial took me about 18 hours straight (minus the constant scanning)…I have the amazing ability to sit inking for hours on end, but I know a lot of people don't have this ability.

There are also some books out there that may be worth purchasing, but don't take my word for it (word up Lavar Burton) because I haven't read or purchased them. The books are pretty much "How to ink for comic book artists"…I think there are two different books, that seemed quite good. After looking through them for a few minutes, I noticed some things that I had no idea about….but uhh, don't email me and yell at me if you think you have wasted your money on these books.

Once again, I hope this helps someone out there. If you have any questions (like, serious inking questions) feel free to ask, and I'll see if I can help out there. Also if any of you out there can ink better than I and think I ink like an idiot, feel free to tell me that as well.

Special thanks:
se55- for being extremely patient.
New kids on the block- for giving me stupid step titles.

<center>"Step by step, ooh baby. Gotta' get to you guuuuuuuuuuuuuurrl."</center></td></tr><tr><td align="center" valign="top">Copyright © 2004 deviantART Inc. All Rights Reserved
All inked images used with permission</td></tr></table>
Add a Comment:
Kirasel Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012
Thanks for the tutorial. It's got some great stuff in here! This'll be real helpful...
KevinOlberg Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2007
Where are the pictures ? I only get red X!
citizen-13 Featured By Owner Aug 7, 2007
This was really helpful. Thank you...
negativezerro Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2007  Student General Artist
...I wish I'd read this before spending three days inking a picture. XD
Sheinbein Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2007
Awesome... been looking for something like this for a while!
starflower135 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2007  Hobbyist Interface Designer
cool!!! thanks for sharing! :D
RainIndra Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2006
omg :wow: Awesome work. I'll have to start practising...
Felfreak Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2006
yep, you DO ink like an idiot. ^^ an idiot that knows how to ink and always get it right. this is amazing!

great job!
Wolfgunner01 Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2006
sweet! smoking kills. lol.
xhatexmexlaterx Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2004   Digital Artist
this tut is probably the best one i've ever seen for hands on inking. i've been reading books and looking online for almost a year for a good inking tut that actually helped me... the simple things you mentioned here like the white out and light box make sooo much sense i'm embarrassed now i never thought of them before. you are my god!
stratham Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2004
Wow. liato's comment above really reflects my attitude toward this tutorial. the little things you mentioned make it all more tangible. It's almost as though you're a normal guy who does not in fact possess magical ink powers.

Oh, and the thin lines? I agree.... they are indeed crazy-fun, but somewhat stressful to make.

Whiteout?! I still use it. Gesso just seems the same as white ink. It always comes out looking a little blue. Like Mooncalf's cigarette smoke.

Lovely insight though, Boy.
revolutionmethod Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2004
Cool guide, could prove to be useful.

I was actually inking earlier today but it was in an abstract style where I don't need to use techniques like these ones so I should really try and do something realistic looking to test myself. Er.. yeah, thanks.
darkleena Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2004
if only i could afford all of this stuff...
boyinmidair Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004   Traditional Artist

a lot o things have changed since I did this tutorial…not so much in technique, but in tools…ill try and lay some out for you guys.

you cant really do better than watercolor brushes when it comes to using ink. I have fortunately gained some money and am now able to afford nice brushes. ISABEY Kolinsky sables are fantastic…I use the 6227Z and basically only use the size 2.…but these are expensive (about 20 dollars a piece…the bigger the brush, the more expensive)

I have turned my back on black magic after it started clogging up some of my quills. I have been using Speedball Super Black India Ink, which is smoother and cheaper than black magic ( you can also buy it in HUGE bottles, which is definitely a plus). This stuff doesn’t clog pens or quills and is more lightfast than the Higgins. The only thing you have to be careful with is make sure you give the bottle a little shake before you use it…it can get kind of clumpy.

DOWN WITH MICRON! My new problem with micron is that the ink in the pen is different then that in my bottle…making it a tad lighter than my brush work. I do not like this. So I looked into some drafting pens where I could use the same ink in the pens as I am with the brush. Rotring is great, so is Rapidograph, and always Staedtler Mars pens are the best you can get when it comes to new tech pens. All of these pens have cartridges you fill with ink. BUT they are a pain to use, break a lot, clog a lot, and are mucho expensive. So I have been using drafter’s Ruling Pens…they are cheap, old-timey, reliable, and tough tough tough to use, but they are the best in the business.

whiteout is stupid, yes I have learned this. I use Golding Gesso now…if I use anything. It cleans up inks, but leaves you with a different kind of mess. Sometimes I lay gesso down on my paper before I do the inks…the brush moves so nicely over the gessod paper. Just make sure the gesso is dry before you do any inking over it…I have learned that wet gesso and watercolor bushes are not good friends at all. Ive become a huge art loser. Just say no to whiteout.

That is all for now…over and out.
Tears4No1 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
I am going to have to try this technique...hmm...its gonna be crappy but fun:D
Thanks for the tutorial :hug:
visualriddle Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
great tutorial! good work :)
falingore Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
Definitely one of the most intriguing articles I've read on inking in a long time. I got into inking early in high school. My art teacher said I wasn't too bad and had potential. I liked him, so I tried it. Read articles, took advice, took criticism, never really improved.

I never tried a technique such as this though. It seems much simpler than the long involved steps we used in art class. Perhaps I'll give it a try once again. Thanks for the inspiration and props to a well done piece.
paulmaybury Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004  Professional General Artist
thinking about ALL the art supplies I don't have makes me cry for hours.
dconstruck Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
very nice! thanks for helping out those who need help. like me. :)
Pu2la Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
wow, thats very nice of you to take the time to help us other artists =)
:hug: THank you for your time.
mallpall Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
^_^ That's really really helpful!!! (i'm glad you made step 4 it's own step ^_-) :D even if it's definetly your style, you helped alot with the basics in your explanation. (And your very right about the troublesome self-made light boxes!!)
moglenstar Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004   Interface Designer
well written, well layed out...

... I salute you!
alenacat Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004   Filmographer
really useful! thanks. That's an awesome illustrative style too *yoinks*
dconstruck Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
thanks muchly, very useful!
Angeleece Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004   Writer
I've always done the whole music and poetry thing and now I am starting on art...charcoal mostly, but thanks for helps.
raggabones Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
i have double plied windows at home, so when i needed to trace, id used to take off one of the windows and stick a lamp under it. worked great!
kourinthellama Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004  Professional General Artist
Can someone please explain what's whiteout? :confused:
FaTCaM1 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
its a special type of pen eraser, its basically paperwhite liquid that you blot over your work, once its dry you can even draw on it again.
kourinthellama Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004  Professional General Artist
Aaaah, I see... Thank you! :)
Rove Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004
you rock. I love it.
sticky Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
Very nice tutorial....not that i used it but i read through a lot of them on the net. This one is very clear and i like its style, the font and the images implimented. Good job! Hope finding more tutorials like yours...especially over vector editors. :alien:
Cheers! :coke:
emoxic Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Professional Digital Artist
somehow i ran into this on your site. but a second reading is good. all these wonderful suggestions i will never use. because i'm lazy.
breakbeat Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
:clap: cool information, and glad to see devMAG back:!:
se55 Featured By Owner Mar 10, 2004   Filmographer
devmag isn't back... this is it's little brother.
sciphex Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
Humana Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
very nice tutorial
TONE726 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004   Photographer
wicked! thanks for taking the time to do this mate :)
ebineesey Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
funny titles ;)
neotenist Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Professional General Artist
maddenning detail in the grain of wood,badass! Sweet props to Lavar Burton Too. Big-ups to ReadingRainbow y'all. Take alook,it'sin a book.........
BigBoyBoon Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Professional Digital Artist
wow thankyou for the tip ill give it a try:D
ohnojaylo Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Professional General Artist
What scanner do you use? Mine is tiny, and only allows 8" X 11" portions, and I dont have photoshop (I'm broke dammit!) so I can't meld the pieces together without a nice big line of contrast. Do you have a larger scanner?
Gevurah Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
Now I know how to ink... my life is complete, thank you! Great guide!
junglechink Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
matthew woodson, creating tutorials?
it must have been at gunpoint.
what with the snappy humor and all.

but all in all, a very good tutorial.
thanks, matthew woodson!
aguynamedTom Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
interesting, veeeery interesting, may have to look into this! i looked up the prices and they were so cheap! was like 30 bucks without light box and white out (got tired of looking for it, and the site i looked at had EVERY THING! weird) so i may *pulls out mothers credit card* look into this further, haha
lizstaley Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Professional General Artist
Wow, this was really informative! Thanks for sharing your secrets with the rest of us! I enjoyed this a lot! ^_~
aguynamedTom Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
O M G! u r thee one god i belieave in now, (how ever i am never gunna go out and buy that stuff u have cuz A: no clue where to get it and B:no money, but if i did i would do it in a heart beat, and i do want to, maybe some day) u are great!!!......>!!!!!!!!!
indievout Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
I love this tutorial, I am a fellow inker myself. Love pen ink....(quietly strokes her pen...) Anywho, thanks for puttig this up here.
phoenixdk Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Or, just use Painter, like the rest of us digi-people! No seriously, this is awesome. I don't ink myself, but I can imagine that many people will find this very useful. And the material recommendations are cool too!
ScubaNick86 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004  Hobbyist General Artist
Nice, I draw manga all the time. And most of your brush techniques are very nicely explained.
JELL-0 Featured By Owner Mar 9, 2004
I got a nice set of 4 sable brushes and an entire little stationary kit at the flee market for like $10. You can find some deals if you hunt around. I doubt if they will be the best quality, but mine have held up pretty well so far.
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