Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Drawing with Ink

Angela recently took a class on inking from Nils Osmar (actually, it was in November) and I thought now would be a good time to gather our collected knowledge. So here goes.
Angela has used a few different black inks. Sumi is a great color of black and you can buy great big bottles. It is water soluable, so you can make any gray you need. It is not waterproof though, so if you are using it with watercolors, you must do the watercolor and ink it after it dries.
There is also India ink, which is waterproof. Angela’s preference is for Speedball. The Higgens and the Pen & Ink are too gray and tend to spider easily. Of course. There are many more inks and these are just Angela’s experiences.
Graphic Pen
This is a lot like a fat technical pen with the capability for my dynamics. I haven’t used it much, but it actually gives a look I like a lot. Especially when used to feather or lightly hatch. They seem to come in different sizes. The one Angela has is a 1, that is 1.0mm.

Lady drawn in a graphic pen

Technical Pen
Angela uses Rapidograph pens an awful lot. They are great because you can refill them so they are a little “greener” than other technical pens, like the Copic Multiliner and the Pigma pens. However, sometimes the Rapidographs leak. Angela doesn’t mind as she seems to like having ink on her fingers. The Rapidograph is filled with a particular ink that comes in a little squirt bottle.
The sizes of the nibs range from fine to thick but the line it draws is not really variable. To change the line thickness, you must change pens. Angela uses the Rapidographs fro hatching. On The Jerks and most others, she uses a size 1 for borders, text, and the outline of main characters; 0 for faces and clothes and foreground items; 00 for background outlines and detail; and 000 for hatching.
Rapidograph drawing of a lady

Brush Pen
Supposedly, the brush pen is not as dynamic as an actual brush. But the brush pen is very travelable. I like the brush pens a lot. You can fill a water brush pen with sumi ink for a fairly dynamic line. Even better, you can mix the sumi ink with water to get a gray ink.
The Pentel Pocket Brush is quite nice and seems to be a popular one among cartoonists. You can refill the cartridges too. The ink you use to refill the Rapidograph pens works to refill the Pentel Pocket Brush cartridges. Or you can buy more cartridges. I like the ink that comes in the cartridges.
The brush is quite lovely to use but requires refilling quite often. From what I hear, to get really good at it, you need lots of practice. Angela will start practicing on Spaz Hands in a while, when her current notebook for Spaz Hands is full. The paper in the current sketch book is too rough.
From her class with Nils, Angela finally learned how to fill a brush with ink. Poor a small amount of ink into something shallow. Like a watercolor tray or a medicine bottle lid. Then dip the tip into the ink and let it soak the ink up. As opposed to just dunking the brush in the ink bottle.
Lady drawn with a brush

Crow quill
These are the pen and nibs that Angela originally started working with. They are similar to a technical pen but more dynamic, depending on the nib. You have to dip them, similar to using a brush. Angela switched to the Rapidographs because she got sick of dipping.
The other problem is that a sharp nib can get stuck in the paper and splash ink everywhere.
When you first buy a nib, you have to prepare it. From the factory, it comes with an oil on it that you will want to remove before using ink. There are a couple methods we have heard of. You can soak it in vinegar for 5 minutes. But if you leave it in too long (like 30 minutes), you can ruin the nib. The vinegar will eat right at the metal. Or you can hold it in the flame of a match for a few seconds. Just a few. And don’t burn your fingers.
Fountain pen
Angela has an awesome Noodlers Inc fountain pen. Talking to the sales lady at the UW Art Store, she said the pen Angela got is one of the only fountain pens that comes with a flexible nib, which makes it great for art. The ink comes out a little sporadically  but she is probably still learning. It is super easy to refill. Two pumps of the piston with the nib dipped in Noodlers ink. And you can replace the nibs.
Happy New Year’s dodo birds drawn with a fountain pen

Hatching is a way to make “gray” when using just black and white. Like the shadows on The Jerks. I suppose, technically, The Jerks is an example of cross-hatching because the lines go in two directions across each other.
You can do a graphic style where all the lines go in the same direction like you can see in The Jerks. Of you can do a more illustrative style where the hatching goes in all directions. The original illustrations of Alice in Wonderland are a good example of illustrative. The illustrative style is more difficult than I expected.
Feathering is actually a simple idea. You create the brush strokes always in the direction of the light.
Three ways of shading a box

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