So you want to learn how to ink. Well, I’m sure you know what inking is. It’s going over an artist’s pencils with a pen or brush. Inking adds depth and shading and gives the image more definition.
A lot of people refer to an inker as a tracer, (see Chasing Amy) but it’s much more than that, as an inker is responsible for line thickness and cleaning up the pencils into a final product. You have to give proper weight to the lines and correct any mistakes that the artist missed in their pencils.
The way to start is simple. Draw. Draw. Draw.
Penciling and Inking, while completely different, still require a ton of practice. Find other people’s pencils online and ink them yourself. Compare it to their inked versions and be as detailed as possible.
A great inker adds shading, but knows when to let the pencils speak for themselves and when they need adjustment.
Many pencillers ink their own work since they believe they can capture the essence better and they love the process.
Inking can be done digitally nowadays. Many inkers ink by hand or digitally. Both have benefits and drawbacks.
Digital Inking may be faster and easier for some, with the ability to correct mistakes and turn more pages out more quickly. One drawback is that you need access to a device to ink digitally.
Inking by hand, while more final, does leave you the ability to sell your original artwork at conventions or online, which can net you more than the original page rate for specific characters.
Find what works for you, and most of all. Keep practicing.