Im­prove your ink­ing tech­niques

Tan Hui Tian ex­plains how to ef­fec­tively use Clip Stu­dio Paint to ink a sketch, us­ing tools such as the Curve tool and Pat­tern brushes

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Issue 142 Christmas 2016 -

Get more from Clip Stu­dio Paint, with Tan Hui Tian.

The ink­ing process in Clip Stu­dio Paint is more in­tu­itive than in other soft­ware such as Pho­to­shop. As ex­pected of a manga-fo­cused draw­ing soft­ware, the kind of setup and tools favour manga draw­ing, so there’s a huge fo­cus on ink­ing tools.

But be­yond the ob­vi­ous manga-fo­cused tools, I find do­ing line art in Clip Stu­dio Paint more re­spon­sive be­cause of the abil­ity to ad­just the pres­sure curve, an­tialias­ing and sta­bil­i­sa­tion for ink­ing brushes. What that means is that you can make crisper, sleeker lines with a lessstable hand than in Pho­to­shop. Ink­ing be­comes a much more pain­less process in Clip Stu­dio Paint, and for that rea­son alone would be the soft­ware I’d rec­om­mend to be­gin­ners.

There’s a mis­con­cep­tion among some artists that comic inkers merely trace over the lines of the pen­cillers. This is far from the truth. Ink­ing is an art form of its own, and inkers not only have to cor­rect mis­takes in the sketches, but the qual­ity and style of ink­ing can make or break the art­work as well. Just look at the va­ri­ety of ink­ing styles pre­sented in comics and manga: from Mike Mig­nola’s in­tense spot­ted blacks to Take­hiko Inoue’s vir­tu­oso de­tailed ink­ing.

While this ar­ti­cle fo­cuses more on how to use the soft­ware for an ef­fi­cient ink­ing process, a gen­eral tip for study­ing ink­ing is to find an artist you like and dis­sect their tech­niques and thought process.

1 Turn­ing a sketch non-photo blue

For those used to work­ing tra­di­tion­ally on non-photo blue lines, there’s a quick way to con­vert sketches (scanned or dig­i­tal) into dig­i­tal, by us­ing the ‘Change colour of line to draw­ing’ com­mand. You can se­lect other colours, but the logic is that you don’t get your (usu­ally) black ink lines mud­dled with the grey pen­cil lines.

2 Gen­eral brush set­tings

Good brush set­tings save you time. On each of the Pen tools, you can ac­cess ad­di­tional set­tings, in Source Set­tings. Non anti-aliased brushes are great for crisp graph­ics such as pixel art and I like to use the se­cond set­ting for crisper lines.

3 Stroke sta­bi­liza­tion

Pump up the Stroke Sta­bi­liza­tion for cleaner line art. The top ex­am­ple is done with a value of 100 for Sta­bi­liza­tion and the bot­tom with 0. You won’t nor­mally need much; six is the de­fault. But if you’re draw­ing cal­li­graphic ele­ments or smooth lines, it can be use­ful.

4 Us­ing the Curve Line tool

For curves that are more geo­met­ric, you can use the Curve tools found un­der the Fig­ure op­tion. You can cus­tomise the brush so that it has sharp ends, too. For artists who aren’t us­ing a pen tablet, the Fig­ure tools (the equiv­a­lent of the Pen tool in Pho­to­shop) is an ex­cel­lent al­ter­na­tive for ink­ing.

5 Spot­ting and screen­tones

If you’re draw­ing the art­work for a comic or as a black and white il­lus­tra­tion, black spot­ting and screen­tone would make it look fin­ished. You can save some time if you don’t want to man­u­ally cross­hatch or draw the tex­tures, by us­ing the Dec­o­ra­tion tool. I sim­ply use the Auto Se­lect tool to se­lect the area I want to spot or tex­ture. It’s a very quick process.

Make sure the Opac­ity is 100 for clean line art.

You can ad­just the Pres­sure curve man­u­ally like this.

You can make your sketch back­ground trans­par­ent with this func­tion. Choose your colour be­fore click­ing the com­mand.

Ex­per­i­ment with Con­tin­u­ous curve for more com­plex curves. Ad­just the Brush tip shapes here.

Use a Com­bine mode on Erase to use the same tex­ture for eras­ing. You can down­load or cre­ate your own pat­terns here.

Wonky strokes add char­ac­ter to line art, so don’t elim­i­nate them com­pletely.

You can click here to in­sert val­ues man­u­ally.

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