I'm back in the saddle. Like the man with no name. Except my name is Sean… and I love InkScribe more than words can properly describe. So I won't try.
Recently, I've begun to use a hybrid InkScribe – DynamicSketch – WidthScribe combination to ink a lot of my cartoon and comic work. I'm sure many people might wonder why I don't just use DynamicSketch exclusively with my Cintiq and call it good. To answer those folks… I'm picky and I stink! Over the years, I've become a big fan of iteration. I use my tablet to sketch and redraw something until it's pretty close to finished. Then I pick up my trusty mouse and begin path building with InkScribe. For me personally, it's faster and I enjoy the process a whole lot more. Let me walk you through it.
I start off with a drawing of this panda sumo, Pahn. He would like to get inked up and colored so I feel like I should oblige.
So I begin laying down the line work. I don't even focus on thick and thins right now. I just start working with a 3pt stroke and build. I build straight through each intersecting line because I'm going to trim them later.
Generally, I like to work outside to inside and big to small on my details. For some details that I feel may work better with DynamicSketch, I skip over. Part of my love affair with InkScribe is the powerful path creation AND editing tools that work side-by-side. If I want a more specific angle, I can add a point and drag the path to fit my aesthetic. I can easily produce flowing, organic curves that I simply can't draw by hand, no matter how hard I try.
Another reason I build these with InkScribe as opposed to inking with a Calligraphic Brush, is because my strokes will retain their basic appearance properties once I begin adjusting widths. I'm pretty picky and this gives me the control I want over all my line work. When I'm ready, I start to trim.
This is the beauty of DynamicSketch. It's fast, it's powerful and I've set the tool's keyboard shortcut to Shift+F. All I have to do it hit my shortcut, hold shift and start dragging my cursor through the bits I don't want. I don't even have to select the paths first. With the Path Eraser tool in CC, I have to select the path, then move my tool along the path to "erase" it. Which is clumsy and time-consuming. CC recently added a "Join Tool," and while it kind of gets the job done, I'm never sure if it's going to produce the correct result. Sometimes, I might delete entire sections by accident because I'm not positive what's going on.
Once all my InkScribe paths are trimmed, I use the Width Selector tool (WidthScribe) to add a single width point to the strokes I want to taper. I add my width point around the length I want my taper to terminate. I've got this tool bound to Shift+Y for easy access. Everything is coming together nicely, so now I'm going to switch over to my tablet for some small detail work.
To add some raggedness to Pahn's robe, I draw an organic shape through the hem …
… trim the middle …
… and the excess. Dynamic Sketch ensures that the path auto joins where it can and retains the properties I have in place.
While I have my Wacom stylus in hand, I move around Pahn filling in bits like clothing wrinkles, gesture lines, fat wrinkles and even wood grain. I find that Dynamic Sketch gives me move control over how precise or smooth my linework is, and I've found a setting that really works for me … (it's 50% accurate and 50% smooth!)
That's the completed linework for Pahn. Smooth and sleek, everything is exactly where I want it. At this point, I can take this into a 600dpi Photoshop file and color it, or I can leave it here and get to work.
If you haven't read Iaroslav's most EXCELLENT InkScribe blog post, you should. It's incredibly well-written and very in-depth. If you want to see someone draw some cool stuff using nothing but Dynamic Sketch, check out Dacosta!
What I love about these plug-ins is the flexibility. I can adjust my workflow to use some or all of these tools in a way that benefits me. There is no "right" way or "correct" way. There is only your way. What makes you faster and more efficient?
As always, feel free to hit me up on Twitter (@inkstatic) if you have any questions about my process or the plug-ins I use. I'm always happy to talk shop!