Inking Tips and Tricks (This and TONS more INFO in RESOURCES!)

Ink can be a messy medium!

Before you begin your work in this medium, here are some helpful tips and tricks.


  • Always warm up.

Just as you would warm up before exercise, warm up before using ink. Take the time to work on your lines and strokes on a separate sheet of paper before you begin working on your actual illustration. This will ensure that you have proper command of your hands.

This image is of comic book artist Jacob Halton’s inking warm-up, which he does in the morning to “get command of his hands”.


  • Don’t tape down your page.

Marks are easier to make when moving your hand in certain directions, so move your page around in order to make this possible. Work your hands in the way that they move naturally.

  • Begin with thicker lines.

This is a way to keep warming up your hands. Thicker lines are safer to work with until you feel confident enough to move onto the drawing’s fine detail portions.

  • Work in a way that minimizes smearing.

Don’t try to work on the illustration in a left-to-right method, or in any order like that. Instead, think about where your hand may smear the ink, and work in a way that minimizes that smearing. Some artists place a piece of paper or paper towel under their inking hands in order to help with this process.

  • Address large areas of ink last.

All paper, including watercolor paper or Bristol board, will warp when wet. It’s much easier to draw controlled lines on completely flat paper. Therefore, draw your lines before soaking any large areas with ink, otherwise known as executing an ink wash. Another method is to fill in large areas of ink, and then either allow for drying time or use a hair dryer before moving on to finer details.


9 thoughts on “Inking Tips and Tricks (This and TONS more INFO in RESOURCES!)

  1. I’m excited to ink! I am concerned with smearing though. Never been much of a fan of the paper towel under my hand trick. I might try it again.

  2. In mu opinion inking sounds fun and interesting to do, I would love to know how to ink but it will get messy at some time and it’s frustrating. But reading this gives me a better understanding the tips for inking and also the professor help too with where to dip the quill pen to an certain point ,which I didn’t know..

  3. The information on warming up and not taping down your page was new to me. I always assumed people simply started on their projects. Working in a way that minimizes smearing seems like it will be a hard task as you will have to come up with a different plan for how to work on every illustration.

  4. These tips are very helpful to me because I have never really worked with to much ink before besides using markers and pens. I have never really used ink with a brush but I will keep these tips in mind

  5. One thing that I really need to keep in mind is don’t pressure too much while using ink. When I use pencil,I love to draw with pressure so I can get different gray levels. This is completely different from inking and warming up practices are so helpful.

  6. These tips have been very helpful to me now that they’re online. I don’t really have that much experience with inking with brushes or crow quills only with pens or microns. So now that I have these tips in my mind I’m hoping that my inking experience will be better than if I hadn’t read these tips before!

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