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Student guide chapter 8: Inking the Deal

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Chapter 8 introduces nib pens, the classic tool for inking comics.

Prep guide

Questions to ask yourself

  1. How essential is the look of inked drawings to your idea of what comics is? Have you seen comics that are drawn in other media?
  2. Do you have favorite artists who work in ink?
  3. What techniques do you think they might use?

Supplies you will need

Collectively, along with inking brushes, technical pens, and other ink pens, this list is what we call "inking tools."
  • india ink
  • pen nibs and nib holders. Some suggestions for starter kits for nib pens:
    • Rexel Drawing Pens Set. This contains eight Gillott nibs of various levels of flexibility and fineness.
    • Speedball (Hunt) Sketching Pen Set. The "sketching" set is the best choice. It's more versatile than the "artist's" or—despite the name— "cartooning" sets
    • Deleter Trial Pen Set. This is an assortment of nibs used by some manga professionals.
  • graphic white
  • brush to apply graphic white
  • brush basin (optional)
  • rag or paper towel

Optional but recommended

  • bristol board
  • your penciled "A month of Sundays" strip
  • penciling tools


Ink your own drawings with a nib

Remember that the goal here is to figure out how you want to draw your comics. A great way to explore is to try out different styles on your own panels. Click to see examples of the activity by students with some comments from Matt and Jessica.
Please note that these examples come from a slightly different version of this assignment and include some use of brush, even though we are asking you to stick to your nibs in the book. We have decided to leave them all in since they are interesting and instructive.

"A month of Sundays" inking

Remember to work with nib pens only, even for the lettering and panel borders. Click on the links below to see examples of the homework by students with some comments from Matt and Jessica.

Line for line

Arthur Guptill and Susan Meyer, Rendering in Pen and Ink: The Classic Book on Pen and Ink Techniques for Artists, Illustrators, Architects, and Designers Klaus Janson, The DC Comics Guide to Inking Comics Gary Martin, The Art Of Comic-Book Inking Joseph A. Smith, The Pen & Ink Book: Materials and Techniques for Today’s Artist

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