Pen and Ink Techniques of the Masters

I recently posted a list of books recommended for comic creators. But for as long as the web has been around, artists have been freely posting how-to’s and step-by-step process shots. Study the masters in any way that you can.

Instagram, Youtube and Twitter have become a goldmine for drawing technique videos and photos. I’ve selected some of my favorites. Let me know about other ones in the comments.

The Artists

Jock Draws Batman

Here’s a quick 3-step ink drawing from Jock. He posts a lot of detail shots on his Instagram page.

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That was a bit quick. Here’s a video of Jock doing his thing.

Mike Hawthorne’s Venom Red Skull

Check out the process shots for Marvel artist, Mike Hawthorne’s Venom Red Skull. Cool right?

Sean Phillips Page Breakdown on The Fade Out

Sean Phillips has been very generous with sharing knowledge on his site. He went the extra mile with this step by step that he presented on The Fade Out.

Ed Brubaker script page from The Fade Out

After receiving the script from Ed Brubaker, Sean makes a thumbnail sketch in his sketchbook – just for storytelling purposes. From there he’ll shoot any photos and research out any other references needed for the pages.

thumnail art by sean phillips

Then it’s over to the Cintiq using Manga Studio to start pencilling. His reference photos are pasted up on another monitor and he sketches from them freehand. For the final panel he dropped the photo reference right into the page, along with a background in the first panel. This was ensure better accuracy on the finished drawing.

Then, on another layer he inks the pencils with a couple of Ray Frenden‘s Manga Studio brushes. And then draws in some grey tones on seperate layer to finish the page.

sean phillips digital inks manga studio Sean Phillips grey tones

The flattened page is then sent to Elizabeth Breitweiser to color in Adobe Photoshop.

Elizabeth Breitweiser colors for The Fade Out

Sean then adds the color file to the lettering and panel borders that he’s previously created in Adobe Illustrator finishing the page.

Sean Phillips lettering

Jason Shawn Alexander 9-Step Empty Zone Panel Breakdown

Here’s a very detailed step-by-step demo from Jason Shawn Alexander – following the progress of an illustration from his Empty Zone comic series.

Progress shots of 2 page spread from #emptyzone 9. #imagecomics @imagecomics

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Paul Pope’s Japanese Snow Woman

Feast your eyes on this Japanese Snow Woman by Paul Pope.

Yuko Shimizu Draws Big

Yuko is a world-reknowned illustrator and an instructor at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. You can take her Skillshare course—Ink Drawing Techniques: Brush, Nib, and Pen Style—and up your inking game.

Happy Halloween, and happy last day of #inktober2017 Have you had a lot of fun this year? Today I want to talk about how big you should draw. Well, there is no right answer for this, but there are various things you want to consider. + If you are making a ink drawing for a work project, then the first thing to consider is how big the image will get printed. Here is one of my largest paper. I draw this size for most of poster projects. Most of us illustrators draw larger than the print size, because lines look crisp and nicer when the image gets printed shrunk down. + Even if you are not a professional artist, there are things you can consider to make the size work for you. For example, how big is the most important part of the picture? If I am drawing a closeup of a face, I don’t need to draw big. I can get plenty of details with smaller canvas than usual. Besides, it is easier to see the whole composition when the paper is smaller. But if, say, the main character I am drawing is full figured and much smaller inside the canvas, I may use a larger paper, so the character would look good, and I can get enough details. + Another aspect can be very personal. We all have our comfortable size. Some artists draw better in larger canvas, and some do better with much smaller canvas. My canvas size is bigger than average. I draw better with whole arm, instead of just with the movement of my hand. I get frustrated when a canvas is too small. And the opposite may apply to some of you. One of the best ways to figure this out is to draw a very small self-portrait, and a life-size one. I got this as a homework during art school, and it helped me figure out what kind of artist I was. + This is it for this year’s inktober, but all this year’s inktober tips are archived under #yukoinkingtips This hashtag only works on my Instagram, for those of you who are seeing this post on another platform. My Instagram handle is @yukoart And you know, I will be posting more tips time to time. Cheers!

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First inking video of 2018. I’m drawing a gargoyle today. Downloaded a whole bunch of references from all over Europe. Then started drawing mixing things together from various references. It’s not based on ‘a’ gargoyle. As an illustrator, copyright issue does become important matter to keep in mind. I always use references, but learned over the years how to collage them together to come up with results that does not resemble any of them. If you are aspiring to be a pro, this is a skill I suggest you start learning early on. And, as you may know already, @skillshare is having a New year sale. 3months of trial, including but not just my classes, is offered at just $0.99USD. Follow link on my Instagram profile to redeem, or to access. Happy Resolution Month! #yukoinkingtips #yukoillustrationtips #inkingtips

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Practical Drawing Tips from Greg Smallwood

If you search through the #comicprotip hashtag on Twitter, you’ll unearth a long stream of indispensable advice for creators.

Sakura Pigma Drawing Pens Demo | Drawing a realistic skull – Alphonso Dunn

How to draw a skull with Sakura pigma ink drawing pens. This video demonstrates Sakura of America’s wide array of ink drawing materials including the pigma microns, graphic pens, mechanical pencils, brush pen, and electric eraser.

Here’s Jim Lee Drawing the Joker

Jim drew this Joker sketch during his Twitch stream [] and gave it away to one lucky viewer.

THE PROCESS: Inking Old-School

Shane White shares a few techniques for inking with a brush.

HOW to INK! Supplies & Techniques

Mary Doodles: “Here’s the inking video of my How to Art series! I’m gonna go over the supplies & materials I use to draw & paint with liquid black india ink. I’m also gonna show you some techniques you can use.”

Kim Jung gi

Kim Jung gi with the Pentel Pocket Brush

Here’s Kim Jung gi drawing using a Pentel pocket brush pen and a Pentel Color Brush on Korean traditional paper mounts on wood.

Jae Lee Drawing and Inking Wolverine

How To Create and Develop YOUR comic style

Ever wonder how to assimilate your favorite artists into your own unique style? This video shows you how to use textures, and different approaches to start building that all up. Examples include a few David Finch pieces, Chris Bachalo art, and a really nice Leinil Yu Red Skull piece.

The feature image ‘Ink Pens‘ by TMAB2003 was used under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license.


About Jason Thibault

Jason Thibault  is a writer, artist, & owner of boutique content marketing agency Massive Kontent. Follow him on Twitter (@jasonthibault) and Instagram (@jay_thibs).