4 Different Techniques for Digital Inking (and Coloring)

Collection of 4 quality youtube tutorials on different approaches to digital inking (and some coloring). Targets mostly Adobe Illustrator.

To ink drawings is a common task in game development. Game assets like 2D sprites, backgrounds; concepts arts; or marketing assets (e.g. icons, feature graphics) are just a view examples were you have you have to turn your sketches into high quality works of digital art. After watching lots of youtube on the subject, I decided to summarize those video tutorials that I found most helpful. As I learned, there are different techniques that you can use. The trade-off is more effort and more control vs. less effort and less control (i.e. more skill/training required).

The following tutorial shows you the basic shapes of brushes needed for inking (this is very meaningful for all techniques and tutrials). These different brushes give you full control over shape and thickness of your lines. Lines can be drawn with a drawing tablet or with Bezier curves for even more control.

The next tutorial only uses one brush: thin at the beginning and end of a stroke and broader in the middle. This creates the typical “ink-line”. The tutorial presents an interesting technique, where you overshoot lines on purpose to create different line shapes. The overshot ends of a line are later removed with an easy to apply Illustrator trick. This allows to create great results in less time. Still gives you a lot of control. It is most reasonable with a drawing tablet. There is a short version (first) and a long version (second).

The third tutorial only makes sense with a drawing tablet. Using a simple calligraphic brush, different line shapes are created via pressure variations on the drawing tablet. This requires some skill, otherwise you have no control over the lines. If you are patient enough to develop the necessary skill, this produces astonishing results. If you are not patient enough, you better stick to the previous tutorials.

The last one applies the techniques of the previous tutorial to Photoshop. Independent of the uses tool and techniques, this tutorial contains some great general tips for inking and coloring. It is also fun to watch, since the produced example art is astonishing.