Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
A lot of people have asked me since I started posting more inkwork what tools I use, and I am SUPREMELY happy to spread the word, but I feel like it needs to come with a disclaimer on USAGE for the tools I'm promoting, and all that doesn't quite fit in a comment box, so I decided to cobble together a little journal to link to when it comes up.

There are people out there with feelings about paper.  Frankly, I don't care as much.  I care about the paper I PAINT on, but for inkwork, it's more about the brush for me.  For the record, I generally use bristol board, which is common for comics, but right now I'm using Fabriano series 4 drafting paper, rough, cause that's what I can get in Rome!

I use a Windsor Newton, Series 7, Size 3 brush.  Started out with a size 2, which is great for slick lines but I find if I want the full range of expressive lines, I need the chunkier, sexier size 3.  This is the only tool I have heard praised by 3 different teachers as "the only tool that will actually make you a better artist."  WN series 7 is the best brush out there, and sizes 2 and 3 are ideal for ink work because of the spring and point.  The Kolinsky sable hair maintains a truly heavenly point, and even though there's a dud in every batch, the series 7 is the most consistently well-made brush.  The thing about the series 7 is, it's really expensive.  (If you're looking to save a few bucks, I've also heard good things about the Raphael designer sable hair brushes but I've never tried them myself.)  HOWEVER IF you take good care of it, which is super easy, it's WAY worth shelling out.  

Here is a really excellent basic tutorial: (It's the video on the right)
That's the brush I use!  Don't freak out when you go to buy one and see how big it is, thinking "but I'm a detail person!"  It is actually 10X easier to make smaller marks with this brush than a smaller one because it HOLDS its point, which goes down to like a single hair.  Also the bigger brush holds more ink so you won't have to fill as often which, as you see in the tutorial, is something of a process.

A little technique, a lot of this is mentioned in the tutorial, and this is all the stuff I do as well:

Notice how you can actually hear him making strokes in the video?  That's cause his hand is resting on the paper.  This is super important.  Your anchor point (where you rest your weight,) should be at base of your palm or, if you are making big strokes, on your forearm.  NOT YOUR FINGERS.  Keeping weight on your hand will help free up the brush to make really clean marks, lifting your arm or putting pressure on your fingers results in woogly inconsistent and unmanageable lines.  You can see in the video the way he makes the big marks made up of lots of little ones- I don't do that.  I prefer the one-line aesthetic to sketchy style but that is personal.  If you like sort of juicier, slicker lines, like me, that is when you would rest your weight on your forearm and do it in one big line!

Another thing that's super important is the DIRECTION.  Always brush in an up-and-away-from-your-center direction.  Plant your elbow on the table and swing your forearm- that is your natural stroke.  Keep turning your paper so that you are always inking in that direction.  

The last thing is, in terms of care, he's spot on in the video.  If, however, you are a messier inker (like me,) and you get inky buildup, use a little brush soap on your fingers and pull it through the brush hairs, always downwards, super gently.  Don't rub, just pull.  Rinse well, and then lick it!  That's not an eccentricity, it's actually really useful in terms of preserving your brush- keeps your brush trained in a crisp point instead of getting all feathery when it dries.

Okay I think that's it hopefully now when you try it you won't get scared off cause it looks like dooky, that totally happened to me the first time I tried brush but it was just cause I didn't know how!

Good luck and show me what you dooooooooo I wanna seeeeeeeeeeee! :heart:
  • Mood: Optimism
  • Drinking: guess! (yes, it is tea.)
Add a Comment:
Gabriela-Isabela Featured By Owner Mar 11, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
what kind of ink do you use? I use windsor newton but it tends to bleed when I try to color it.
Milosflaca Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2011  Professional Filmographer
I did try the brush and it's awesome. I figured I was impaired for inking or something, but I guess I never had the right tool for it. Just one question though. I've been looking for a good ink to use with watercolor but so far no luck. I've seen you ink your Watercolors -or maybe I am mistaken- and I would like to know just out of curiosity which one you use. I tried W&N watercolor, but sometimes it washes off as soon as I apply the first layer of paint.
Again, maybe I'm doing it wrong (I'm self taught, so there's a huge chance I'm doing this wrong). I usually paint with W&N watercolor or Ph martins. I'm dying to ink my drawings but so far I'd had no luck. So I thought I'd ask you, since the brush was really like THE tip of the decade for me.
Thanks for sharing this valuable information.
toerning Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011
Watercolor is tricky town because it's so much more particular than ink. I use Speedball superblack ink and W&N Cotman (the cheaper kind) watercolors. Whenever I watercolor and ink a piece both, I ink on the bottom and paint on top, but I don't think this will work for you because you paint WAAAAY thinner than I do, and if you use a water-resistant ink, thin washes get repelled from the edges of the ink line. So you probably SHOULD do ink on top hrmmmm

As far as the washing of after the first layer goes, that usually happens under a combination of 2 conditions 1: your paper sucks. 2: You're painting into it while it's wet, or scrubbing with your brush. When you're painting thin like you do, you have to be prepared to just lay your color on in a big puddle really gently and then wait until it is bone dry before going over it again. If you think this might be your problem, get a hairdryer haha.

IN CONCLUSION do you stretch your paper? I have found that when I ink, then soak my paper, when I paint on top, it's much more accepting of watercolor. For soaking, I would suggest a sheet of 140 lb. Arches watercolor paper.

Wow that was a lot of questionably unhelpful info. Hope that helps at all!
Milosflaca Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2011  Professional Filmographer
Well, ok, let me organize my thoughts. I'm just trying to recall which paper I used for ink and watercolor back then.
O.k then, I used half pan W&N cotman watercolors. I tried once to ink the drawing, let it dry and then applied the first wash. I don't know why but the ink got smudged a bit (I don't know if this is AT ALL normal). I figured I should ink it on top and retouch all those areas that got a bit faded in the color -the edges mainly-, but I wasn't sure about it. I had been puzzled about this because I thought waterproof meant: no smudging. now that I think of it I did try it first with a cardboard (we call it over here: illustration paper and it's mainly used with acrylic. I had a couple of those lying around because I used to paint using airbrush, and then I read a tutorial by one japanese artist that she inked and applied watercolor on the cardboard without much fuzz. maybe that's why it got all weird and stuff.

As for paper I use arches, actually. Cold Press 300gms (140lbs). Since I like detail and build many layers, I find this kind of paper to be ideal.
I don't like wet/wet watercolors. so much messier. I like the dry technique. or in any case I do wet the surface I'm going to work on and so on. But then again, I did not ink. You say you wet your paper before you ink? How so?
Also, do you use masking fluid. I found out that if you ink first the masking fluid gets the ink off the paper once you remove it (I usually do it with masking tape, but for small areas masking fluid is always helpful).
I'm thinking all of this happened because I used that cardboard. can't be sure about this.

And hey, no! thanks for replying. it's always nice when artists share their knowledge. very valuable and appreciated :) if it wasn't for you I think I would still believe that I wasn't born for inking. thank you so very much. :heart:
purplerebecca Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2010  Professional General Artist
Direct link to vid is: [link]

Thanks for your tips, too!
I keep wanting to try inking with a brush, but every time I try it comes out just too out of control. Need to try again, and get myself one of those good brushes. :)
Rburrows Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2010  Hobbyist Filmographer
GreenSprite Featured By Owner Aug 29, 2010
Thank you for this, it's valuable advice to me. I've been inking with a brush for a while now (well, as part of the many techniques I keep experimenting) but being self-taught I often don't know what I'm doing, and what materials are best. Too bad that the video seems to have been replaced. Thanks again! :heart:
Hoperin Featured By Owner Jul 3, 2010
Wow, thank you for this! Very informative! I've never tried inking with a brush before, just pens&nibs, but you've got some hella gorgeous texture going on in your gallery, so I'm super excited to try a brush now!

ashwara Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010   Filmographer
Also, sometimes I raise my arm from the paper. If you're good you can get some really nice lines out of it. It's something I learned from japanese and chinese ink painting.

Also sometime I ink in the wrong direction, because it can sometimes get a nice line quality. Ha ha ha. I'm the worst
toerning Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010
no no that's totally legit it's just different motivations- your inking style is SO much looser and about really expressive lines that have less to do with accurately describing the form, as opposed to me, the slick noodlemaster who needs to control everything hahaha
ashwara Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2010   Filmographer
True! They're both good I think... I could probably due with some more control. It's not so much that I can't so much as it is that I don't. Ha ha
ashwara Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2010   Filmographer
Girl you seen me ink. Ha ha. This is some good info though, I like hearing your thoughts.

I'm watching the video and man it's always so weird, as a lefty, seeing people draw with their right hand. it feels wrong.
colorpulp Featured By Owner May 24, 2010
OH YES. This is just what I needed to make me overcome my silly fears and finally try inking with a brush!


I feel like a monkey with cerebral palsy and my lines are weird and shaky but this is fun!
sayurifox Featured By Owner May 24, 2010
thx for wonderful advice!
yuske05 Featured By Owner May 21, 2010
thanks for that.
AmbientSounds Featured By Owner May 20, 2010
And on a further note, the things that you have submitted in ink and brush are beautiful, the textures are great!
AmbientSounds Featured By Owner May 20, 2010
You are seriously not joking about the Series 7. The art store where I work, we sell them at half off and they are STILL hella expensive, but I hear over and over and over that they are so worth it. They are beautiful and I jealously fondle them whenever someone buys one lol. Thanks for the link, knowing more about what you're getting into is always a huge help before you leap into something... I'm going to have to abandon my brush pens to a Kolinsky sable soon enough. XD
bigbigtruck Featured By Owner May 19, 2010  Professional General Artist
Thanks for the rec! Hope I get to try it soon.
elviella Featured By Owner May 19, 2010
Oh, very interesting! I usually ink with a traditional pen, but I'll definitely save some money and go get a Windsor & Newton series 7 #2. The video was great, too. Thanks for sharing!:)
colorpulp Featured By Owner May 18, 2010
That's rad! Makes me want to try ittt~
Also, thanks for introducing me to a really amazing website! Jeeze, what a great resource for someone silly like me who knows nothing about comics and yet is attempting to make a comic of their own!
life-take Featured By Owner May 18, 2010
oh my god, thank you so much for this journal and that video link @_@ I got one of those brushes as a christmas gift from my boyfriend because i heard another artist recommending it, but I never got around to practicing with it because i'm like, scared of inking and didn't want to waste the ink i had or something stupid like that @_@ but ok, the resting your weight on the end of your palm sounds like good advice--i know i tend to move my hand/fingers instead of my arm when i ink (because that's how i sketch with a pencil right?? duhh) so I'm gonna watch that video and try that stuff out...thanks!!
No-Nami Featured By Owner May 18, 2010  Student General Artist
I've never used a brush to ink before, but it's something I definitely want to try. o_o Especially now that I know of a good variety to use.
I've usually just stuck with nibs and felt-tip ink pens like the Sakura brand - I use their brush-tip pen, but after a while that gets ragged and loses the fine tip. )=

Thanks for this! I definitely want to try. <3
kreugan Featured By Owner May 18, 2010
MAN THANKS FOR THIS rofl I totally bought some stuff but am so clueless. Super helpful tips and that video was also very helpful!
tigsie17 Featured By Owner May 18, 2010
You know...I've actually been personally thanked at conventions for using "the brush" to ink. I guess some people are just shocked that you don't use pens?!?! o__O

I quit using pens, because it was killing my hands.

Newtons are the beeeeeeeeeest! But I find any old brush will do as long as it doesn't have a super rough tip. Unless, that's the style you are trying to achieve. :heart:
cronevald Featured By Owner May 18, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
And here I thought I was the only one left using the old Series 7 #2. There's some good advice here.
Add a Comment:

Featured in Collections

resources by gladyfaith

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
May 18, 2010


2,586 (5 today)
17 (who?)