How to Get Inky with Photoshop
Illustrator Dave Habben taught us how to illustrate awesomely in Photoshop with his last post. Now he gets inky with it, giving us the skinny on using Photoshop’s brush tool. Take it away, Dave!
Now that we’ve got our sketch finished, we’re ready to ink our drawing. As with the sketching process, there are endless ways to create your inked drawing in Photoshop. For the purpose of this tutorial, we’ll keep it simple and use a round brush on a new layer above our sketch.
1. To begin, open Photoshop then open the sketch file you previously created. Click the New Layer icon in the Layer palette to create a new layer above the sketch layer.
2. Label your layers to keep track of them by double-clicking the current label of each layer (Layer 1 and Layer 2) and renaming them accordingly. I’m going to label my sketch layer “Sketch” and my ink layer “Ink.”
3. Lower the opacity of the Sketch layer so that you can see your ink lines more clearly. Click on your Sketch layer to select it then, in the upper portion of the Layers palette, find the Opacity window. Clicking on the down arrow will bring up a slider. Slide the tab to the left to lower the opacity. You’ll see your sketch slowly fade. I’ll set my opacity to 30% so I can still see the drawing—but just barely.
4. Now get ready to start inking. As you’ll remember from my previous tutorial, you can use the Zoom and Rotate tools to get the drawing into a more comfortable and natural position.
5. When you were sketching, you set the opacity of the brush lower, creating a light pencil or gray marker feel. Now that you’re inking, set the opacity back up to 100% to get a strong opaque line. Select your Brush tool from the Tool bar on the left-hand side then check your opacity level in the top Options bar. As you did with the sketch, select the size you’d like for your brush. I’m going to set mine to 15px.
6. With your layers created and labeled and your brush size and opacity selected, you’re ready to ink. Remember that drawing with a Wacom stylus and tablet takes practice, but with time you’ll be able to draw with the stylus just as easily as you would with traditional media. Remember that the stylus is pressure-sensitive. Varying your pressure on the tablet will create variation in the line. When I draw in Photoshop, I make sure my brush size is large enough that I don’t have to press very hard to get the line width I’d like. That way, my arm doesn’t get tired from pressing and the stylus nibs last longer.
7. Continue to use the Zoom, Rotate and Brush tools to ink the drawing to the level of detail you like. Another great tool to use in the inking process is the Eraser. Not only can you completely erase a line that you’re unhappy with, you also can use the eraser to thin out lines and sharpen edges or corners.
8. Now that you have your drawing inked, you’re ready to add color. Click on the small “Eye” icon to the left of the Sketch layer to turn off that layer’s visibility. You’ll now see only the ink layer, allowing you to more clearly see any revisions you need to make.
Done. And done!
Our thanks to Dave Habben for showing us how to get inky with it. Check back soon for tips and tricks for adding color to your drawing!