I keep looking at Ephemeral (because it's so incredible gorgeous and emotional ;3;) and one of the aspects of the piece that really stood out to me (probably because of the minimalist coloring) was the line art/inking. I know for me, and *hopefully* others, line art is especially hard (I'm still not entirely sure that what I do actually counts as line art...) and I was wondering if you had any tips or tutorials that you could recommend?
Thank you for the kind words! :) I’m happy that you like the line art and inking, because frankly that’s my favorite part of drawing :) I used Manga Studio Ex for this, which basically simulates comic-drawing pen nibs, so the feel would be different from actually handling the drawing tools in hand. In this case, I actually prefer the digital version since (strangely enough) I simply cannot stand the scratchy sound the dip G-pen and Maru pen nibs make on paper. That, and because the ease of CTRL-Z on the PC :P
But I still do analog line art and inking for my marker art (or comic pages that are finished digitally), just with a different set of preferred drawing tools:
- Technical pens: I have them from size .005 to .08, in a variety of brands such as Sakura Pigma Microns and Mitsubishi Unipin. These are affordable individually and provide a variety of line widths to choose from.
- Tachikawa Comic Nib fountain pen: This is one of my main weapons of choice, since it combines the line variety and versatility of a G-pen nib with portability. Downside is that it can get clogged easily if I accidentally left the cap loose, which can get expensive if it happens often (it does ;_;)
- Pentel Pocket Calligraphy brush: Another must-have in my arsenal, it’s like having a brush and ink reservoir on the go. The long brush tip takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get the hang of controlling hand pressure, line width magic is at your fingertips. It lasts quite a while (I still use the one I bought in 2007), so the one-time somewhat steep price is worth the investment.
- Kolinsky Sable Brush: Now this, this is the Big Kahuna of line art drawing, IMO. They are expensive (my Winsor & Newton Series 7 0 & 1 brushes are GBP10 each, my Raphael 02 brush is roughly USD20…these are tiny tip brushes, mind you), and the natural fur sable tip needs extra care to make sure they last. But they are worth every single cent and maintenence effort, because the ink lines flow like silky smooth butter. Once you feel comfortable and confident drawing your line art, I would highly recommend investing in one or two of these. If you do inking for marker art, I would suggest pairing the brush with Winsor & Newton’s Black India Ink, because it doesn’t smear when you use Copics on it (unlike other acrylic-based inks).
As for tips and tricks, I’d say the main one would be to observe and practice. I am a self-taught artist, so I had to learn through much trial and error, sometimes figuring what works through sheer wonderful accidents. I’ve learnt a lot through observing other artists’ work and trying to replicate their inking to see what techniques work. Among my favorite line art maestros to study are:
- Becky Cloonan
- Karl Kerschl
- Stuart Immonen
- Olivier Coipel
- Alex Alice
- Chris Samnee
- Will Eisner
For a starting point in the theory in the application of line art in (comic) art, I would recommend reading Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud.
And of course, Youtube is a great resource nowadays with artists putting up their processes, so it’s a great learning resource as well. How about starting with these vids:
These are just touch & go, obviously there’s a lot more line-art drawing knowledge and resources out there to learn from. I hope these nerd ramblings are helpful in some way :)
#line art drawing
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