Small note about "Undo" and the "History" window:
If you ever want to undo something you have just done, you can do so by pressing "Ctrl+Z". However, this only works if you use it immediately after. If you want something that you did further back, you can use the "History" window (Window>>History). Don't be too dependent on it though, most of the time, you can only undo about 15 steps back. So save often!
First, I'm going to need to set up a brush for inking purposes. I go to my brushes window (Window>>Brushes if its not visible). I choose the following settings:
Under Brush Tip Shape:
Under Shape Dynamics:
Size Jitter: 0%
Control: Pen Pressure
Minimum Diameter: 1%
Angle Jitter: 0%
Roundness Jitter: 0%
Opacity Jitter: 0%
Flow Jitter: 0%
The shape of the brush used in this tutorial is round, but since then I have switch to using a slightly oval one since it seems to mimic real pen strokes better. Try it out and see what works better for you!
Now, I don't want to go through this set up every time I need to ink, so I save this brush as a "preset" by clicking on the little down arrow right next to the brush icon shown in the following image. Then I click on the arrow pointing to the right to open another menu and select "New Tool Preset..."
I give it a name like "INKS" and make sure that "Include color" in unselected. This way, every time I need to ink a drawing, I just go to the preset menu and select "INKS". All the settings I mentioned earlier will be selected automatically. (It makes feel all efficient and stuff)
Now then, if I need the brush "tip" to be smaller or bigger, I make sure to change the size by using the "[ ]" keys or the little slider called "Master Diameter" to change it. I don't use the brush gallery because that will reset the brush settings.
Now! Finally! Let's ink.
For inking digitally I use both a Wacom Tablet and an optical mouse. One is for fine detail and fluid lines and the other one for straight lines and for use with the "Pen" tool. You don't really need a tablet to be able to do color work on photoshop. It makes things a lot easier once you get used to it, but its not indispensable. I could do the entire thing with my mouse, but I have very weak and spoiled wrists.
Anyways, once I make sure my brush settings are where they should be, I select the "Pen" tool. Why am I using the pen tool (P) instead of the brush tool (B) which I just went through the whole trouble of setting up? You'll see in a second.
The pen tool looks like this: You can select it by either clicking on it or by pressing the letter "P" on your keyboard. I make sure my settings look like this:
With my Inks layer selected I select a spot where to start inking. Because I want this to be a stand alone picture that will pop out of whatever background it gets put on, I decided to make the outline thicker than the rest of the lineart. I zoom in my drawing, using the zoom tool (Z) , to make it easier on me to follow my original sketch.
Each time I click with my pen tool selected a new "point" appears, like this:
I want that line to curve, so it follows my sketch's shape, so I click on a spot between my first two:
I hold down my "Ctrl" key and my pen icon turns into a white arrow. While still holding down the Ctrl key, I drag the point I just added making the line curve. If it doesn't do it, press "Ctrl+Z" to undo this last step and try again. I drag my point until I get close to the curve I want.
Sometimes one control point isn't enough, so don't be afraid to add as many as you need. Remember to hold the Ctrl key while you're adjusting them. In this case, I added another one.
If you feel you added too many, you can always just click on them again to erase them. If the whole thing doesn't work and need to start over again, right click and a little menu will appear, select "Delete path" (that's what the line you created is called) to erase the whole thing and start over. Sadly, it happens often. It certainly does to me.
Ok, once I have my "path" right where I want it, I make sure that my foreground color is black, if its not, I hit "D" to reset the colors back to black and white. Then I right click to make the little menu appear again. This time, however, I select "Stroke Path".
A little window will appear asking what tool to use. I select "brush". That's why I set it up ahead of time. I leave "Simulate pressure" unselected but you can try it out to see what kind of result you will get. You can always hit "Ctrl+Z" to undo it and try again.
See? by leaving "Simulate pressure" unselected I got a nice uniform line which is what I want at this time.
This is what it would look like if I had selected "Simulate pressure"
Since I don't need that path anymore, I right click again and select "Delete Path" and move on to another part of the drawing and repeat the whole process again. It can get tedious after a while, so take breaks!
Ultimately, of course, is up to you to decide what looks/works best for your drawing. The best way to learn the pen tool is to experiment with it. If you want a thinner line, select a smaller diameter for your brush tip. In my drawing, I used a combination of brush tips that went from 8px for the outline to 4px for the inside lines. Personally, I only like to use the pen tool for big areas like the body and long strands of hair. Otherwise, I use my tablet to ink stuff like the eyes and mouth. Sometimes I will even go over the pen tool lines and "manually" fill out corners or taper off lines.
Also, see how making my sketch blue allows me to see how my inks clearly? Even at this stage I make corrections on the lineart, using the brush with my "inks" settings.
Since I want to make sure my inks are nice and solid, I duplicate the Inks layer by right clicking on it and selecting "Duplicate layer"
Then I merge them down by using "Ctrl+E" or going to Layer>>Merge down. This is optional.
I also want to get rid of some of the fuzziness, so while the inks layer is still selected, I go to Filter>>Sharpen>>Sharpen. This also optional.
We're pretty much done with the linework at this point. I lock the layer's transparency by clicking on the little white and grey grid on the top of the layers window. What this means is that you won't be able to color anywhere but the "painted" areas of the linework, in this case, the black lines. This will be very useful later on.
I click on the "Background" layer and fill it with white by pressing "D" (to reset the colors to black and white) then "X" (to make white the foreground color) then Alt+Backspace (to fill in the layer with the foreground color).
Now, I have a nice linework layer to color!
(Trust me, this is actually a lot more complicated to explain that it is to do!)
Disclaimers and Copyrights: