View Full Version : Creating Line Art in Photoshop

12 December 2006, 02:52 AM
Now, this being my first post here, though I've had an account for quite a while, I thought I'd start off with something simple.

I see artwork all over the place with clean and smooth line art, bold black lines without a trace of mistake to be found. What I'm wondering is how it gets to that point. I've been using Photoshop CS2 for a while now, just doodling of course (because I can never seem to get anything done or together, another problem I'm having), and a WACOM Intous 3 tablet. Now, I know that Photoshop isn't the best for tablets, I'm sure Painter would be more handy, but it's all I've got and I'm sure there is a way to get to that stage which I am looking for.

Any tips, links, help, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated; such as what brushes to use, settings, etc. : )

Also, if this happens to be in the wrong forum, please let me know as well.

12 December 2006, 02:47 PM
for clear line arts simply just use the pen tool, or vector instead bitmap in totally!
n for toture go her! (

12 December 2006, 06:11 AM
It's better to do a quick line than a slow one. Whenever possible, draw your lines with swift movements that originate from the arm, not the wrist. Also, don't be afraid to overshoot and let the line continue past its intended "destination." As long as the linework is on a separate layer, you can erase out any excess.

And yes, Painter is better for linework for three reasons:

* You can rotate the image on the fly in order to work at the most convenient angle.
* The brushes feature damping, which smoothens the brush strokes a bit and eliminates unwanted jagginess.
* The thick-to-thin qualities of the tools are generally just...better. The Scratchboard Tool, a Pen variant, is especially nice.

If you can, find a used copy on eBay for a reduced price. You won't regret it.

Pinoy McGee
12 December 2006, 02:18 PM
- Draw and clean-up using real paper, pencils & pens.

- Scan.

- Do minor tweeks in PS using level adjustments, curves, etc. (to make linework bolder, cleaner)

- Color/ paintover below linework layer set to multiply.


Drawing straight in PS is of course doable, but sometimes not an efficient method as above. Specially if your require a complex drawing with lots of line weight variations, shadow feathering a la comic book style, a rotatable canvas, etc.

You could do your rough studies and layouts in PS. Print those out. And trace over your own drawings to get a clean version. Then print and scan that back in for coloring.

12 December 2006, 07:31 PM
trace hand drawing in illustrator, then color in PS

12 December 2006, 08:33 AM
not good really but may help you ;)

12 December 2006, 02:37 PM
In Photoshop, use Pencil tool, not Paintbrush, if you're doing pen and ink simulation (for example, b/w lineart like in comics). I know it looks jagged (aliased) at 100% magnification, but in print it will come out crisp (crisper than Paintbrush anti-aliased line), since those jaggies are to small to print, ink just bleeds over those tiny irregularities and you get smooth and crisp line art. Just make sure that you're using big enough resolution. Your document should be at least 300DPI, 600 or 1200 even better. It would be best to draw at 600 or 1200DPI, and later resize the document at needed resolution (consult your print shop what resolution you should use - for regular 4-color offest printing 300DPI is enough, for black and white lineart higher resolutions are sometimes used, depending on the complexity of drawing, and ammount of tiny details). When you're resizing you b/w document with lineart make sure that you don't use bicubic option, since greys will be added to your lineart (it will become anti-aliased) - you should keep your b/w lineart document aliased all the time.

Another good tip I can give you: draw at larger than 100% magnification - 200%, 300% or even 400%, depending on the detail you're working on. Open additional view for you document, set it at 25% or 50% magnification (if you have dual display setup, which you should have for working with graphic applications btw, put that document view on second display), and zoom to at least 200% on your first document view and work from there. You'll have much more control and precision with tablet that way.

12 December 2006, 09:23 PM
Yeah, Pencil works fine when you're doing uber-high-res work that's intended for print. But if you're working mainly with the intention of displaying the work digitally--and if you, like me, have a dinosaur of a computer that can't handle huge images--the Brush tool gets the job done just fine.

01 January 2007, 05:56 AM
Thanks everyone!

I haven't exactly had the time, given my situation with school exams and a variety of other things, but these are all things I'll be taking heed of. I'm grateful that CGTalk is this responsive and helpful. I may just find myself here for the rest of my digital career if this keeps up. ^_^

Thanks guys!

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