Drawing for Myself – Inking in Manga Studio

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog

So after seeing Audra Furuichi draw in Manga Studio at the AADL Comic Artists Forum, then watching a demo by Stephen McCranie on Comics Are Great! 46, I just had to set aside some time to play with this Manga Studio thing everyone in comics seems to be talking about. I kept hearing about how it is so much better than Adobe Photoshop for digital inking.

Last November or December I got Manga Studio EX 4 for $60 during one of those crazy 15-minute sales Amazon holds every once in a while. At that price I wouldn’t feel quite as bad if it turned out to be something incompatible with my style/workflow. But after a simple test, I’m happy to say that it looks like I might be able to use it for digital inking!

I did a quick pencil sketch of Dick Kourage of The Front:

I scanned this pencil sketch and imported it into Manga Studio, and inked it using the pen tool on a vector layer:

From there I exported it as a PSD file, and colored it in Photoshop:

And from there I made this cute iPhone wallpaper out of the test (tap or click to open the full-sized version):

Observations: I noticed that the faster I worked, the better lines I got. I was inking using a Wacom Intuos 4 on a OSX Lion iMac, and I was impressed by the speed of the software. The ink lines kept right up with what I was doing (Photoshop can sometimes suffer from a 1-second lag when digitally inking, at least on my machine).

Inking on a vector layer gives you the added bonus of using a special eraser tool that will delete intersecting lines with one stroke (check out CAG 46 for Stephen McCranie’s demo). This came in super handy, as the pen tool in MS tends to taper your lines on both ends, regardless of how fast you draw or how much pressure you use. I found that if I just drew the line out farther than I had intended and intersected it with another shape, it was easy to delete the unwanted portion with that eraser tool trick.

The lines were also super clean, which made flatting using the BPelt plugins a breeze. When I color my pieces inked with a brush pen, I often have to run Image Adjustement>Threshold on the lineart layer in order to clean it up enough to not have little bitty artifacts after using the plugin.

Just as I used my warm-up sketches to learn the brush pen, I think I’m going to start doing warm-ups in Manga Studio to teach myself how to use it. Even without a Cintiq it was the most pleasure I’ve ever had digitally inking.


5 Responses to “Drawing for Myself – Inking in Manga Studio”
  1. Victoria says:

    That is SO COOL!!! Character, process notes, observations, links….thanks Jerzy. Glad you had a fun drawing inking session. Awesome way to start the day.

    • Jerzy Drozd says:

      Glad you liked it, Victoria! I plan on doing more stuff like this. And now that I have a vehicle for digital drawing, I’ll probably do some screencasts of my daily sketches and comics work. A lot easier to do when you’re digitally drawing than the over-the-shoulder cam.

  2. Oh, that Manga Studio. So smooth! I’ve been literally watching video tutorials on the mechanics (panels, pages, etc) like a chain-smoker today. My next mini-comic will be done entirely in this program, I think.

    Speaking of which, I’m not sure you remember, but I started my first mini in your 30 Classes Comincs Fundamentals course and it’s nearly done! Thanks again for all the great help and encouragement. I’ll let you and Rob know when it’s ready for public ridicule (I joke, I joke).

    • Jerzy Drozd says:

      Of course I remember you, Nathan! Can’t wait to see the comic you made!

      I think I need to watch some of those Manga Studio tutorials. I’m having fun playing with it, but some of the tool behaviors are mystifying to me right now.

  3. Grace Chan says:

    I love seeing the process form sketch to finished piece. It makes drawing something good seem more attainable.

    Also cool to read about Manga Studio EX4. I never heard of it before but will give it a look see.