Comics Style Lines



i am interested in drawing and coloring my comic directly in Photoshop. but using the tablet pen in Photoshop results in only rough lines, which is ok for the sketches but not for the final lines.

Does any have a proven approach for drawing smooth clean comic-book style lines (like the lines that would usually be made by inking a sketch) directly in Photoshop? or links to tutorials?

or is this not plausible within Photoshop?

thanks for your help.


im not trying to showcase my art. but every line in this was done using this method

create a layer, use the line tool set it to fill pixels. on your new layer, start tracing over your sketch with the line tool. if you need like really round precision just zoom in. i have always done this , it gets increibley clean results, but if you have a scanner i would just ink it now days. but just exp.


nice pic…you’re the man i need to be speaking to.

although i would still be looking for a little bit more variation between thin and thickness along the line (actually this would be a criticism i would have for you that could probably improve the level of your work into the stratosphere since you’re already so talented visually) you’re the only person so far who has an idea of what i’m going on about.

could you please clarify how you’re using the line tool with fill pixels mode? When i use this it makes only straight lines, which means i would have to simply click from point to point along all my curves, but then i couldn’t vary the thickness at all like the way it’s done in comics.


hi quizboy, i fyou want to vary the thickness i would reccomend doing a few things.

  1. have certain ink layers. exp 1 layer is your ink for your arm. then ctrl+lmb click that layer, it selects everything in the layer, then do like a stroke . you see this effect on a ton of stufff.

if you want like varying widths. like from the elbow to the wrist. at the elbow lets say your line is 4 px, and at the wrist it ends up at 2. then you are just going to have to draw that and fill in with like the brush tool . but in comics, if you look at any of joe madureira’s stuff. he does all his pencil drawings with lots of thickiness on almost everything. he is just drawing that, and filling in. its the same thing, except in photoshop its mor etime consuming. does that help. i know its not the answer you watned, but you really cant just get varying thickness, you have to do that manually. same as on paper.




yeah same here, I am so crap with my tablet and get all the wiggly lines everywhere if i ever attempt any inking, actually anything in PS.
What Levitateme suggested is like the method used in illustrator, I tried that, too much work !! i guess i just don’t have the patience or the skills.
So i use flash, it works well with wacom maybe coz i am used to it. and you can take it directly to illustrator afterwards but even this takes time. I think you just can’t avoid the fact it will take long time to ink anything.

BTW nice drawing, he looks in pain.

I would also like to know more about how you go on about it, so tell us!



that’s cool. thanks…

now at least i know while i’m slaving away to manually adjust every line that at least there’s no better way that everybody else in the world uses except for dumbass me.

cheers for the help. i’ll heads you up when i’ve got something done…


hi bumskee, its actually really fast process, i have a time lapse of a image i did recently of my friends step mom its 10 mb, i could zip and send to you guys. wait. its 10 min, im sure the file size is lower then 10 mb. but if you guys want i could send, see how the line stuff works. cause its not slow.

also the wacom stuff depending on your tablet, thebigger the tablet the better control you have. when you have a small tablet , it picks up every little nuance, “cant spell” my 18x12 is like drawing on paper. its because you are drawing in a scaled down size, its not hard to figrue out why. but i rarley sketch on computer anymore anyway.

“I would also like to know more about how you go on about it, so tell us!”???


me again,

Now, this thread is interesting, coz as a newbie (me) the inking process has always been a mystery, all those tuts online dun tell you too much! or maybe i missed the big message. :rolleyes:
It’s great you are sharing yours with us, thanx!

10 minutes?? wow that’s quick, yeah true about the size of wacom, ( i am gonna blam e my wacom!!) yeah mine is like the smallest and cheapest ever, since i am so poor. But planning on getting 9X12 next month, i am alreay excited!~.

I would love to see ur work, but where can you send it to?? my email is crap and can’t handle anything above 2megs, crapz. I think i saw ur “stepmom” work at 2d section, comical as I recall.



i would definitely like to see that. how would you go about sending it to us?

i could send you an e-mail of my ftp site and you can drop it in there if it’s too big for standard e-mail.


bumskee - we’re going to get this inking thing down once and for all this week!

as far as i’ve weaned from playing around with simple lines over here in the meanwhile this will be the process for me:

  1. make my rough sketch in Photoshop
  2. import the sketch into Illustrator and draw over it to define the important lines with smooth, clean vectors.
  3. Back in Photoshop, use my pressure sensitive tablet todraw over the vector lines getting variations thickness.
  4. Since these lines won’t be all that great, zoom closer in where i have to and use a combination of the eraser tool and the paintbrush to manual make the lines flow from thick to thin where needed. using the vectors as guides
  5. Color, shade, and highlight in Photoshop…

Does this sound right?


ok, 3am here - have to sleep. just e-mail me:

both you levi and bumskee too, that way when i wake up in a few hours i’ll send you back the address and password for my ftp site to take a look at levi’s step-by-stepmom.



Thanx Quizboy!

siiiiiiiiik man, so that’s how you do it, seems like a long process.
i don’t like inking and you can guess why, but if i had to
i do it on flash as i said before and usually end up colouring it in flash! never coloured much in PS, too scared. Or i think i exported it to EPS and then coloured it in PS before, but I was crap so i stuffed that, hehehe.

well here’s a something of mine in flash, that’s only decent colour work from me, i am just hopeless.:cry:
( i think del http:// or something should work.)

yeah so no magic with how i work, coz i am crap!! :applause:

I will DEFINATELY be sending you the email, i need to see how Levi work, it will be a great inspiration, i hope.

cheers mate,


i doubt anyone is looking forward to this, but here is the timelapse. i would have put on sooner but i had to finish a animation for work, im still not done! but im online if anyone has questions. i doubt anyone will find this interesting. ciao



i dig u this fine exelent link that no one told u about :slight_smile:

they have lots on drawing and coloring

How to color lineart in Photoshop via Channels
Photoshop Effects

Speedlines via Custom Brushes
Displacement Maps
Faking Comic Tones
Getting Realistic SkinTones
Lens Flares
Metal Objects
Energy Blasts
FireBall / Plasma Ball
Neon Signs

just say the magic words “begone”


thanks NileshXYZ, but i think some of the techniques there using there are easier work arounds. like the ink layer using for a mask? one way to get around that is by doing what i have mostly seen done by comic artists. like they set there color layers above the ink layer and multiply. thats just what i do.


thanx for the .avi levitateme,
I had a look at ur work or the way you work. pretty fast if u ask me, :rolleyes:
looked hectic, how long did it take all up?
it will be a while before i get to ur level i think, but thanx for sharing it with us.

I had a look at polycarbon a while back, but it’s a lil different to the what levi posted. i mean there are other sites with similar tuts, maybe polycarbon has changed since then. well thanx anyway.



i like this tutorial. it might help someone out here?


hi bumskee, that pici think took 9 hrs. only becuase when i color, i have a layer for almost every seperate color. if i do this i can have more control later on. also like once i put down my skin color, i can use that as a mask for the dark skin layer. i get benifits from it, but if anyone watches it they might think its to much. but later on when its done im left with like 3 layers. sketch, ink, color. if anyone has any questions just ask im online on icq and all that crap, i use trillian. ciao


Levi - thanks for the time lapse, man. i agree with you that more layers is always better even if more time consuming. that’s the whole benefit of doing it in the computer is to have flexibility. One day i’ll be like you…

bumskee - your flash cartoon is pretty decent, and you do have thick and thin linework going on there, so how did you do that?


bumskee, i downloaded your .jpg, but i cant view it. do i have to do soemthing to it?