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  • Brush and Pen Exercises

    So I just got some brushes and I'm wondering what exercises I can do to improve my brush control and/or dip pen control for that matter.


    Also what books are suggested? Right now I'm stuck between wanting to get the "DC Guide to Comic Book Inking" or "The Art of Comic Book Inking". The latter one seems to have 2 editions with the 2nd one being noticeably more expensive on Amazon; are there major differences?

  • #2
    There's a book called Pen & Ink: The Manga Start-Up Guide that has a "4-week intensive pen training course" that Adam Warren has strongly recommended. I haven't done it myself, but it looks pretty thorough. It's based on Japanese pen nibs like G and Maru, but I don't see why it wouldn't work for standard western nibs.
    http://www.brandonpalas.com

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    • #3
      Thanks, I didn't even know that existed.

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      • #4
        The Art of comic book inking is pretty much all you could ask for a book on inking as far as I'm concerned: it has exercises, practice sheets, and comparative methods from different (established) inkers.
        Don't know about Orphangrinder's suggested book, but it sounds nice too.
        http://jel.deviantart.com

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        • #5
          I got a copy in the Art of Comic Book inking on inter library loan. It seems the version that has both volumes in one will be reprinted this fall. I'll be getting that. In the mean time I'll probably get a copy of the DC Guide to Comic Book Inking as I've read somewhere that it and The Art of Comic book Inking are the only 2 descent book on inking out there. I'll try and pick up a used copy of the book Orphangrinder linked to.

          Knowing me though, I'll probably buy a bunch of book then procrastinate about actually reading them...

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          • #6
            until you get the books these guys have mentioned, i recommend a couple things:

            Textures - try some hatching, dabbing, and scumbling, making different patterns of similar marks. mimic some natural textures. Also try some controlled pull-outs (or pull-ins) to get consistently shaped marks that fade an area from light to dark. try making them flat, then try giving the illusion of them being wrapped around a rounded surface. Control and consistency are key.

            Throwing Lines - drawing a line is more than just drawing a line. Try to get in that zen place where you don't think about every milimeter of the line as you draw it. Place your hand, see the destination, and go. This is how you get those big smooth lines.Try going thin to thick, thick to thin, and various single consistencies.

            Until you're really really comfortable with your tools, these make excellent warm-up exercises to help get your inking hand/brain in the zone.

            -T
            Don't let the smooth taste fool you.

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            • #7
              I finally got the books I ordered. I seem to have gotten too many at once so I'm boucing between DC Guide to Inking Comics and the Manga Startup Guide How to Pen and Ink. One thing I've noticed is that books on American comics art tend to focus heavily on brush and ink while the Japanese ones seem to focus exclusively on dip pens. I'm I imagining this or are manga typically not inked with brushes while Western comics are?

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              • #8
                Don't think about it in terms of "If I am drawing manga I need to use a quill" or "If I am drawing comic art I need to use a brush". It's all about what works best for you. You can get excellent results with either. Check out Mark Morales - he inks exclusively with a quill and has some of the best inks in the comic book world.

                Some people struggle with brush control, so they opt for a quill. Some people prefer the fluidity of the brush, so that's what they prefer. Try and practice with both until you find what you like.
                My deviantART

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CM_Cooza View Post
                  Don't think about it in terms of "If I am drawing manga I need to use a quill" or "If I am drawing comic art I need to use a brush". It's all about what works best for you. You can get excellent results with either. Check out Mark Morales - he inks exclusively with a quill and has some of the best inks in the comic book world.

                  Some people struggle with brush control, so they opt for a quill. Some people prefer the fluidity of the brush, so that's what they prefer. Try and practice with both until you find what you like.
                  I plan on practicing with both. I just find it odd that there seems to be a cultural divide with it comes to inking. Especially considering that Asian brush calligraphy was mentioned in one of the book I was reading as being to basis for some comic inking techniques. Does anyone know of a Mangaka that uses brush and ink?

                  As it stands right now I prefer dip pens as they are easier to use. Thing is, I like to apply Copic Markers tomy drawings and dip pens lay down so much ink that it tends to smear very easily. A brush uses less ink and can be markered over easier, but I'm not very good with one. Oh well practice makes perfect.

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                  • #10
                    I'm fairly sure that Tite Kubo uses a brush for Bleach a fair amount. Also - Brian Lee O'Malley uses a brush for all of Scott Pilgrim...if you consider that 'manga'.
                    My deviantART

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                    • #11
                      I don't doubt that there are a few, but I don't know of any mangaka who use a brush for linework. I'd certainly be interested if anyone has any ideas why that is. Kubo Tite obviously uses a brush, but it's mostly for texture effects -- the linework is probably a G-pen or something like that.

                      Actually, I don't think there are a lot of European comics artists who use a brush, either. More than Japan, certainly, but not nearly as many as North American comics -- and most of the ones who do don't do the typical North American style that we all probably all think of as "what comic book inking looks like" in the lower recesses of our brains.
                      http://www.brandonpalas.com

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                      • #12
                        Interesting. Will that builds my confidence in putting more work into building my dip pen work as opposed to trying to majorly tackle brush right now. Anyone know of a good site to get some of these Japanese pen nibs, to try out?

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                        • #13
                          Akadot Retail has a bunch of them. I bought a few Maru nibs from them a while back, but I never got around to using them much.
                          http://www.brandonpalas.com

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                          • #14
                            After looking at the prices I have to wonder if the equivalent Speedball nibs would work as well. If there are direct equivalents anyway.

                            Edit: Ah screw it, I'll probably get the Japanese nibs anyway just for comparisons sake.
                            Last edited by Ragnorok64; 07-02-2011, 12:13 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I tend to use a Hunts #102 or #107 nib for my dip pen. It's been known as the standard for comic book inking if you prefer quill pens. I also have a couple of G-pen and School nibs, depending on the kind of line I want to make.

                              (My first post here!)

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