View Full Version : Need some inking advice

08-11-2004, 02:37 PM
OK, this is a quick sketch I did this morning then I inked it with a technical pen. I have a very shakey hand. What is the best way to get clear smooth inked lines? I have a couple methods I use in photoshop to get lines extremly clean adna uniform 4 pixels wide, but that is a very long painful process.


08-11-2004, 02:58 PM
Chrysis -

You can get software....Adobe Streamline is specificaly used for this. Here is a link:


Or....you can use a variety of templates, french curves, and other "hard edges" although, these may not be much faster at first. To get fast with any tool you gotta continually practice.....but I'm sure you know that.

I use technical pens all the time and am familiar with all these tools. I'll attach a photo with some samples.

08-11-2004, 03:34 PM
What is the final intent of your work?
I've used pen & ink for over 40 years, but in recent years, since the advent of computers, I've taken to doing my "ink" drawings in pencil. This way the line quality can be finely crafted to exactly the shape you want. Then you scan the drawing, crank up the contrast and voila! beautiful, black "ink" lines. This is basically the way drawn animation is done.
I also use Streamline if I want the file to be vector rather than raster, and I quite like the look it gives, though it usually requires some cleaning up in Illustrator. The scanned pencil work usually needs some tweaking too...erasing smudges and fine-smoothing. But this all supposes that your drawing is going to be used for something other than being sold as a pen & ink drawing.

08-11-2004, 03:59 PM
I usally draw in pencil, then ink, then scan at around 300 DPI. Once I have it scanned in I take it into photoshop and do image> adjustments > Levels toget rid os as much gray around the lines as possible.

I generally color it in photoshop afterwards. This was not for anything specific, just practice.

08-11-2004, 04:16 PM
I usally draw in pencil, then ink, then scan at around 300 DPI. Once I have it scanned in I take it into photoshop and do image> adjustments > Levels toget rid os as much gray around the lines as possible.

Well then, unless you have some emotional attachment to the ink, I'd skip it and concentrate on refining the line quality with sharp pencils. Once you scan it into Photoshop you can adjust the brightness and contrast until it looks like ink. Y'know that "Captain Casserole" thing I did? All pencil... and colored in Photoshop.

08-11-2004, 04:59 PM
Nah, no attachment to ink, I just have a very heavy hand, I tend to blur my pencil work quite a bit. I never remember to cover it with another peice of paper.

08-11-2004, 05:58 PM
Some basic things, which you may already know... the friction between the pen and the paper can affect the flow of your hand; try smoother paper and/or smoother pens. Turning the paper so that, with curved lines, you hand is coming toward you rather than away. Working at least 150% larger than the illustration will appear in print... when reduced, this makes the lines appear smoother.

Lots of great tips at this site regarding inking:


I think your drawing looks pretty clean. It also helps quite a bit to warm up first... spend a few minutes doing cross-hatching, drawing quick circles, etc. Quite a few inkers, and especially calligraphers do this.

Mr. Nauss
08-20-2004, 02:58 PM
I like to pencil my lines before ink as well but in my experience there are always mistakes that need fixing. I like to make my inked drawing into a separate layer in Photoshop and crop the entire image on the outside using the straight edged lasso tool, if you are zoomed in when you do this the finished quality will not appear as a scissor like cut out but will be crisp and smooth. This gives me the freedom to go heavy and ink like a maniac because I know I can always fix it later. I equal out the line weight from the outside in and then color in photoshop. If you close all your ink lines and create shapes as segments you can select them individually with the magic wand > fill with color > and then shadow or lighten edges with the burn / dodge tool. This reduces the visibility of the inside lines rough nature and brings the image to life. I know this is a pain staking process (as my wrists will tell you) but I believe the end result is worth it.

PS: I also agree with TedDawsons' suggestion of warming up and if your hands feel tight I suggest running them under warm water for a few minutes.