Professor Schoenbrun | COMD3313 OL74| FA21

Discussion Week 8: Digital Inking

Check out this Process Video by a real master of digital drawings, composition and inking, Tomer Hanuka. Then Consider, how is Hanuka using digital tools to aides in composition? How is he using LAYERS to help him? What are the steps in the process from beginning to end?

What are the take-aways from watching this master at work?


Process inks using a Cintiq 24HD and Photoshop
The image is part of the Legend of the Heyokai series , inspired by the TMNT Movie.


  1. AJ Grenader

    Upon watching Tomer Hanuka’s short speed inking session, there are some notes that the illustrator does to make his piece effective. One of them is using layers. He specially has a layer for each figure that he inks in. Each turtle has its own layer and their own accessories to follow with it. The background and foreground also have different layers to add depth and immersion. It is also seen that his original pencil sketch has a lower opacity so he can ink properly and with clarity to compare his inked piece and his pencil draft.

    Hanuka’s step by step process is as follows. He begins drawing the figure starting from the head and working his way down to the feet. He carefully draws within his pencil sketch for maximum accuracy. He then adds the accessories after he has finished with the overall figure. In some cases he will use a different color to represent the humanoid form for comparison’s sake. After watching him at work, I learned some tips from him such as using heavy lines to emphasis muscle structure, using a different pen color for a basic figure, use different weights of lines for detail and realism and finally, inking in clean lines. The last thing you want to do when inking is to have squiggly or messy lines that do not portray a solid figure or the object you are drawing.

    • Marnebruckner

      AJ I like how you pointed out that Hanuka uses different line weights for details such as heavy line to create realistic muscles! I didn’t notice that he had changed his technique in that part of the video so thank you for making that point!

  2. Marnebruckner

    Hanuka is using digital tools to aide in his composition by doing loose sketches in a blue color and using layers to retrace that sketch in a more polished way. It seems that his first step was to do a rough sketch of how he wanted his characters to look, with their exact positioning in the composition. He did the original sketch in blue, on what seems to be a transparent layer in photoshop so that he could add another layer on top. His second layer was used to trace over and sharpen his initial sketch to make it more detailed, and clean. I noticed he used the stippling technique on the ninja turtle’s head and lots of line work to create realistic muscles with strong veins. He also doesn’t seem to do all of the characters on one layer, so that if he needs to go back and fix things he isn’t interfering with other more polished parts of his composition. One major take-away from watching Hanuka work is that you can use layers as sketch paper, I had no idea you are able to sketch over a previous drawing with transparency in that way. I also loved how he used a brighter color for his rough sketch, so that when he went over it in black it was easy to see and differentiate between what was the original sketch and what he was drawing now.

    • Kiana Fraser-Handel

      Nice response Marne. I like how you broke down his process and mentioned how he uses the stippling technique. I agree with you in how you can use layers as sketch paper. I think it’s helpful and a great learning experience for a beginner. Great job in breaking down Hanuka’s inking process.

  3. Kiana Fraser-Handel

    Tomer Hanuka is using the paint brush tool, cool color swatches and eraser tool to aid in the composition. The paint brush tool aids him in inking the Ninja Turtles, he uses the blue color swatch to help him sketch out Donatello and Leonardo digitally in the background and then inks them. He also uses the eraser tool to help him fix his mistakes. Hanuka uses the layers to aid in separating which part of the composition he wants to focus on, this keeps him organized. Hanuka begins the process by placing his pencil sketch in Photoshop with the opacity lowered, then creates separate layers. One layer has the background colored black, one has the pencil sketch and the others contains the inking process of the turtles. After creating the layers he begins to ink over the sketch in each separate layers, making sure to carefully erase his mistakes and looks at photos of the Ninja turtles for reference. As mentioned before, Hanuka sketches out Donatello and Leonardo in the background with a blue color swatch, so he can ink them properly. Finally, Hanuka finishes off the art by coloring the piece after he completes the inking process. Watching Tomer Hanuka at work was inspiring . This video has showed me that I still have a lot to learn in order to create digital art, but he has inspired me to continue practicing so I can become better. I enjoyed the way Hanuka inks the turtles and his attention to detail. I hope to create digital art as good as him in the future.

  4. Joshua A Smith

    Tomer Hanuka starts off with a traditional sketch layer that he imported into photoshop. Next, he carefully uses a black round brush to ink the whole entire sketch on a separated layer. Next, I noticed he sketched in some more characters in the background digitally then continued with the inking process. Finally, he colored and shaded the artwork. But I noticed he used separate layers as a way of organization. Hanuka’s digital tools aided in the composition by giving him more options and an easier way to color the sketch.

  5. Jamir Campbell

    It was interesting to watch Tomer Hanuka illustration process. He started off with a sketch and then dropped it into a program, where he then traced the drawing first. Once he does the first drawing of a character he will usually go back and fix certain parts to make them look better or add more details. He used his layers as a way to keep him organized , I believe that’s really important when doing work like this because you could have so much layers and items it becomes confusing after awhile. My takeaway would be that it’s a process and even Tomer Hanuka would erase things and re draw them a second time. You just have to continue to draw and gain experience. Being organized is a major key to success.

  6. Yanxuan Lin

    Hanuka first chose a figure with the largest proportion of the picture to paint, and he started from the beginning to the hand, from top to bottom. Then he chose to paint the closest character, from near to far. This can help you better conceive the composition of the near and far. The same applies to the use of layers. Separate layers for close-up, mid-range, long-range, line drafts, color drafts, and backgrounds for better drawing and subsequent modification.

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