Inking practice and finding the right tool

For one reason or another, I used to have a constant unease with my inking practice. I have spent a long time trying to decide on the best tools to ink with even though I know it doesn't really matter, you just have to choose one. I keep coming back to my trusty tech pen. It's what I draw the most with and it's what I enjoy drawing the most with, but there's a problem. When I pencil and then ink the page with this pen I'm unhappy with the result, the lines are a little too stiff and there's not enough detail...but if I draw a comic without penciling then I am happier with the lines overall. For the most part, I try to always draw without a pencil, I have more fun with drawing, and I can be surprised by the result. But when I'm drawing a comic this approach only gets me so far, especially if the scene to draw is complex in some way.


I have experimented with the GFKP brush been and I have been moderately happy with the results. My general, method is to sketch out in pencil (mostly a light H) refine the pencil drawing somewhat, and then ink with the brush. I have drawn two comics in this fashion, George Bloop and Imagined Mysteries.

But when I draw my autobiographical stories the brush seems too slick and not personal enough. I have also tried inking with a nib, but I find this can take too long to finish a page and can also look a little stiff.

Overall I think my problem boils down to the mentality when inking and not the inking tool itself. When I pencil and then ink over it I can't help but be lazy, just going over lines 1by one until they are all done, when I go straight to ink with no pencil, it's exciting, challenging and my full attention is going into the drawing.

More recently I have moved to digital drawing (and in turn inking). It took me a little time to get comfortable with the medium. This took practice but more importantly finding the right brush. Once I discovered how great the crispy inker brush from True Grit Texture was, I haven't looked back. I made some small modifications to the original, and I also found having the right document size made a big difference. The brushes looked and worked much better on higher-resolution documents. 

After years of wondering if looking for the right tool was just a distraction I have realised it was an it wasn't. On one hand you do need to ind a tool that suits you and tht you can master, but on the other hand sometime that takes years and in the meantime tou should be practicing your craft with anything you can get your hands on. 

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