How do you ink a drawing with a brush?
May 19, 2008 9:34 PM   Subscribe

How can I learn to ink drawings using a winsor & newton series 7 brush?

I would like to learn how to ink clean, curving lines over my pencil drawings, and to have control over those lines. I've heard that the best brush to use for this is a Winsor & Newton Series 7. I've also heard that it takes lots of practice. Some of the brush masters I've been studying are Dan Clowes, Charles Burns, and the Hanukas.

I'm having a hard time generating those types of lines, or even finding information about how to create them. Can anyone offer pointers on brush inking technique? Everything from how to hold the brush to loading it with ink, different strokes to practice, etc. Thanks!
posted by pantufla to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I'm no expert (on week six of Beginning Drawing 1 at the local community college) but the Hanukas picture looks like it was done with an ink pen instead of a brush. Something like this.
posted by metahawk at 10:47 PM on May 19, 2008

Don't let ink get into the ferrule; it will cause the bristles to separate and ruin the brush.
Clean your brush regularly.

Every inker is different. Some will tell you to start at the point of the line and add pressure to make the stroke fatter. Others will tell you to start at the fattest part of the line and ease the pressure until you have a fine line. I do both. You'll develop your own way of doing things.
posted by lekvar at 11:27 PM on May 19, 2008

I've heard that the best brush to use for this is a Winsor & Newton Series

It's takes time, lots of time, as in years. You need to keep at it if you want it.

Try other brushes and make up your own mind.

Drawing straight lines: Get a ruler, lay it down lengthwise, lift up one edge and rest your brush against that, while keeping the other edge in contact with the table.

You've seen The Art of Comic Book Inking, right?

You've done a Google search on "comic book inking" right? Lots of links there, including a sites, tips from pros and YouTube video.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:06 AM on May 20, 2008

Hey, you're in Minneapolis. You're in luck. MCAD has a great comic-making extension class, taught by Ryan Kelly; I can't overstate how much I learned from that class, especially about inking. Kelly's one of the best in the business with an ink brush. Take a gander at MCAD's continuing ed schedule and see if it's offered soon. It's a couple hundred bucks, but well worth it if you're interested in making comics.

If the class isn't coming up any time soon, I'd be willing to get together and show you what I know. I'm certainly not a Kelly-class inker, but I can make lines. I think inking's definitely easier to learn from another human being than from a book or YouTube.

Oh, and while I like the Winsor-Newton Series 7, too, as an alternative you might want to check out the Pentel Brush Pen (as far as I know, in the Twin Cities it's only available at Wet Paint in St. Paul, and you have to go to the desk and ask for it). It gives you nearly Series 7-quality lines, with a lot more portability and less cleaning and care (I've been using it for my webcomic- available in my profile- since #19 or so).
posted by COBRA! at 4:30 AM on May 20, 2008

In a previous job, we used Series 7 brushes to produce all of our line art for both licensed art and comic strips. It's definitely something that takes a deft, steady hand and lots of practice. There's simply no way around it. Don't load the brush too heavily. Use a good quality black ink. Practice gently moving the brush onto the board as you trace the line...don't just plop the brush onto the board in one spot and start drawing. That will produce obvious starting points in the line.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:23 AM on May 20, 2008

Best answer: What Thorzdad said. Practice, practice, practice. I would fill up pages with nothing but feathering -- rows and rows of it. That's the best way to develop the control you need. And that is what you need. Practice sketching with the brush, too, until it feels perfectly comfortable in your hand. Go back to your sketchbooks and ink everything in sight until it starts feeling very natural to you. Practice your stippling, too -- that's a really good way to do foliage.

I used to work for Wally Wood as a background artist, and he used Series 7 #4s, so that's what I like. (Croquil pens, too, and SnoPake, but they don't make SnoPake anymore, I believe.) Another thing is, once you lose the point it'll never come back, and ink is very damn hard on a brush, so be prepared to buy a new one every three or four weeks, depending.

There are a couple of good comic artists working out of Mpls, or there used to be -- Reed Waller, Ken Fletcher, Tom Foster... lots of other guys and gals. Of course, that was back in the day.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:51 AM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for the great info! I tried inking like a sign painter, holding the brush vertically, and that seems to offer more control. Time to practice...
posted by pantufla at 8:11 PM on May 20, 2008

« Older Where can I get an Adopt-a-Chicken t-shirt from...   |   Aidez-moi à transcrire! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.