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Comic Book Cover Art: Cyber-Spectre Inks

Establishing The Outline And Working With Line Weights

In this demonstration we continue with the comic book cover illustration for Richard Emm’s “Cyber Spectre”, as we enter into the inking stage. Watch the first part of the Cyber-Spectre video series here: 

Comic Book Cover Art: Cyber Spectre Pencils | Drafting, Composing and Establishing the Layout

With the foundations down and the draft completed, we’re ready to begin inking over the pencils. You’ve notice though that I’ve left the pencils quite loose. You couldn’t even really call them the finished pencils. They’re more comparable to a rough draft if anything.

So why do I enter the inking stage when the pencils are still so unrefined?

I do this for a few reasons, but the main one is that it greatly optimizes my work flow, allowing me to complete a fully inked illustration in half the time it would normally take. This is because previously, I’d take just as much time polishing the pencils as I did inking the final line art. That made no sense, since the pencils would never be seen in the final product.

So I decided to skip the middle man altogether, leaving just enough information in the penciled drawing to confidently enter the inking stage and bring the illustration through to completion.

The unexpected outcome from taking this approach was that the inks came out looking way more organic. There was a greater level of authenticity in the line art. I believe this is because by working over a roughly drawn draft, the inks become a form of progression within the illustration, rather than a carbon copy of the already refined pencils, which was very much the case with my previous workflow.

In the end there were two major advantages to jumping straight from the draft to the inks – I was able to get my comic art finished twice as fast, and the end result looked much better.

This demonstration primarily covers the first stages of inking where we’ll establish the key contours within the illustration. Essentially all this means is that we’ll be articulating the main out line around the characters and the buildings in the background.

The outlining stage is relatively straight forward. With a very steady hand, our aim is to carefully establish the contours for every element within the illustration. As we do this, we’ll consider the weight variation and thickness of the line to indicate depth within the line art, emphasize key focal points inside the composition and suggest the lighting conditions.

Line weights alone are able to emulate all of these visuals despite the lack of rendering, tone and value. When done right, this can create an incredible amount of immersion within your illustration as the distance between the overlapping elements is emphasized to generate an additional sense of space, form and atmosphere.

In the next and final video in the Cyber-Spectre demonstration series, we’ll wrap up this inks for this illustration by using crosshatch rendering techniques to add shading, and incorporate additional texture and material details to make each element appear more solid and distinct.


I hope you enjoy the video! Thanks for watching!



Software Used: Manga Studio


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