Filling in Blacks and Process of Inking

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  12 December 2012
Question Filling in Blacks and Process of Inking

Hi everyone!

Long story short, I've been more motivated lately to go back into drawing more frequently after a (non-art) teacher saw my work. I guess that gave me an extra boost to work a little bit harder on my technique and fixing the things I have been avoiding (like get a better concept of anatomy, learn to draw feet, hands, heads properly). Whether or not I do any of these is a different story, but for the time being I'm really motivated.

I haven't posted in a while, but I really liked the reception I had gotten from CGSociety when I did, especially considering my art style, so I'll post my question.

I was looking at: for example, I really like it. When I first started drawing I was already inking using a nib. After not doing it for years and now considering pushing my boundaries more in order push myself away from using 'ink' only for lineart, but to also define my work by learning the potential of the medium, something occurred to me: Do inkers trace over the penciller's work and then redraw it on a new sheet in order to ink? I have been seeing a trend that the technique to fill in blacks either consists of pencil-shaded areas, like the example above, or little x's in the spaces. Sometimes with either of the two, the final product slightly deviates from the original in terms of composition, so obviously some modifications had occurred prior to inking....

It's a novice question, but I guess from experience I remember when I could still see my pencils after erasing and the fact that I ink better when I can barely see my pencils. I essentially want to go back to my 'roots' then working my way up to using monochromatic color schemes and then work my way up to define my painting skills traditionally before going digital. Part of my goal is to stop being afraid of learning how to paint, but I think it would help me more to use inking as a way to confirm in my mind my understanding of shadows without worrying about the tones in between... yet.
  01 January 2013
I didn't see an actual question?

I used to ink a lot (worked full-time in comics for 8 years), and no, inking doesn't necessarily teach you anything about painting or values and lighting. The penciler is the one that decides on the lighting--the inker just does what the penciler dictates. If you are doing both, then working out the lighting is part of your drawing process.

If you want to learn about values and lighting, then you need to just focus on learning lighting and values. What medium you use makes no difference--you're going to have to understand lighting and values no matter what. Whether you use charcoal, graphite, watercolor, ink, oils, or digital--it really doesn't matter. What you need to grasp is the dynamic range of values and how to manage it (such as working with limited values of say, 5 steps mainly, and only add more when absolutely necessary), and how light and shadow behaves (light quality, light source, bounced light, radiosity, cast shadow, form shadow, etc).

If you want to learn how to paint, then you simply need to learn how to handle the medium you're painting with. The physical act of painting is separate from the foundational knowledge like composition, perspective, lighting, values, colors, anatomy, figure, etc. Mediums are simply tools, and you can learn how to use the tools fairly quickly--it's the artistic knowledge and insights that takes years to learn and master.
  01 January 2013
Sorry for the late reply. You answered the question (so you did see it embedded in a wall of text)! I just wanted verification on my thinking. Anyway, thank you for the insight!
  01 January 2013
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