Wednesday, July 23, 2008

examples of how to ink our stuff

Here is my original in blue.
Here is an ink/cleanup by Kali. Note that she very carefully preserves all the nuances in the drawing. The varied shapes and forms. The asymmetry. The flowing organicness of the curves. The construction.

Note also that many of George's parts have been inked on separate layers. That's so individual pieces of him can be animated in Flash. This is similar to 60s TV limited animation-like the Flintstones.Here she colored each layer so you could easily see how it works. Each individual part has to be inked all around, even where you won't see it in an individual frame.

****Note- see where I made the pencil lines thicker in the indentations of the smile line? That makes the cheeks and smile feel fleshy and full. Follow that through in the inking. It helps the expressions read.

The same thing applies to the lines that indicate the eyelids. They are thicker in the middle, which also helps you see the eye expression.
Note that wrinkles and minor details are generally thinner, but they still follow the directions and planes of the larger forms.

Individual teeth lines should be thinner than the line that outlines the complete set of either upper or lower teeth. That holds them together as a set. It's a hierarchy of important and less important lines. Big important forms generally get thicker lines. Details that wrap around the bigger forms get thinner lines.
If you are applying for inking or cleanup, these are stellar examples of what we need.


Mattieshoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul B said...

hey John, another awesome post of clean up
im going to show you my attempts

hehehe, sorry, my english sucks, but here i go again

Besides of Milt Gross and Harvey Kurtzan, could you recommended me a few artist that don't draw like the classical way ?

thanks, your pal, Paul

JohnK said...

why would I recommend someone I don't like?

Captain Napalm said...

I you can't creatively build on basic construction, you're not creative. Simple as that.

Paul B said...

no no, an artist that don't use pears and pipes for construction

Captain Napalm said...

In other words, different, more organic types of shapes? Well, Warner Bros. kind of abandoned pears for the most part, except for some characters, like Sylvester the cat. Chuck Jones' shapes are pretty unique, but very hard to copy.

Nico said...

hooray!!! The inking stages are drawing neigh.

I love the "TOLD" panel, and george's fez always in mid-air.

I love all of these!!! Way to go Kali! And hooray for John bringing us new George Liquor cartoooooooons

Sid said...

HI John,

Thanks for the great pointers and examples. Well, back to the drawing board.

Thanks for your time,


Frank Macchia said...

hey john,

do you guys to the inking in flash or illustrator?

Ryan G. said...

Hey John. Heres a couple more attempts with adjustments. More to come!


Fulton Beal said...

Hey John,

I posted some of my inking attempts on my blog I seem to keep having trouble getting things to work correctly in Myspace. Hopefully I maintained the guts.

click here for my blog

Hammerson said...

Terrific drawings and inking tips! Does this mean that you're accepting only digital inking in Flash or Illustrator (with parts of the picture inked on separate layers), or you can have the use of the classic inking too?

Phantom Spitter said...

paul b: Why? Do you not like art which uses "pears and pipes" for construction? If so, the best cartoonist I can think of who doesn't use "pears and pipes" is Robert Crumb. But if you want realistic art, and most of Crumb's work isn't, then this isn't the blog for you.

idle. said...

Here are three clean ups I've done. I'd appreciate some feedback.

Ryan said...

These kinda look like they are inked right in Flash. Are they?

Enef said...


A friend of mine told me about your blog, cause we're big fans of your stuff.
I'm just starting to read all the posts ( or many of them!)
It's really interesting and great!
Thanks you for the fun and the knowledge!

Enef said...


A friend told me 'bout your blog cause we're big fans of your stuff.
So, i came in...and i'm starting to read it!
It's really great and interesting!
Thanks you for the fun and for the knowledge!

Vincent Waller said...

Hey John are the toys going to be for sale at Comic Con?

Roberto González said...

Hey, John, I'm doing some inking. I'm better at manual inking and I actually think these ones came out kind of decent, but there is a problem. I recognize I make all the lines a little too thick, but I assure you the lines look thinner in the original drawings (and in the George one more secure too, when you click on it you see the details too damn big while the drawing isn't so big and the more unsecure lines are a lot less perceptible).I'm not trying to justify the mistakes, it's just less noticeable for the human eye in the paper originals and the lines are a little less thick in general.

Does someone has any advice about how should I scan this to get more accurate results?

Anyway, here they are. Please, take a look, I'm really trying to get them right.

George and Jimmy

Mitch L said...

Great post. Nice inks, I really like the line weights.

Im trying to aply it in my inks as well.

Raiben said...

Hi John how are you!
i have an simple question ¿why you draw in blue colour and you not use a pencil? how you can clean after?

Nate said...

Is the inking being done traditionally with pen and paper or are you inking on the computer?

Sounds like the animation is being done in Flash, which makes me think that the inking is done digitally, but it's so good that it looks like it was traditionally done.

How do you avoid the crappy digital/vector look that so many Flash animations have and keep it looking so natural?


Roberto González said...

I will adding new ones to the same entry in the next few days.

Mitch K said...

They are definitely not inked in Flash. If they are, I'd be surprised. My money is on Illustrator.

JohnK said...


Wicks for Candlesticks said...

Here are my ILLUSTRATOR inks. Thanks for looking.

-David O.


SoleilSmile said...

Hi John, which drawings shall we ink for the test?

Paul B said...

Dear Phantom and John:

im just searching cartoonists that don't use the classical way for construction, like Mitt Gross or Kurtzman.
I think that Crumb is more caricature than cartoon, is more conservative.

if im not clear, you can see this post of John in which he explains what im trying to explain here.

i hope you can help me with some recommendations

thanks for the answer!

Sandy Pants said...

I would love to learn how to make animation. Right now I'm teaching myself by looking at the greats, reading their books, and using flipbooks and easyToon. I don't have the money for flash yet, but maybe some day I will!

King Otho said...

Ok, taking your pointers, here's a new one:

Hope you like it.

King Otho said...

Here's a Jimmy:


J. said...

Hullo John!

I did an ink! You can find it here

I also left an example of my animation.

thaaaaaaanks John!

Allyn said...

Hi John, I had a go at inking one of the George roughs, any feedback you could give would be greatly welcomed, Thanks!

Jeremy Brooks said...

Great post John. I've been anticipating a cleanup/inking tutorial. Super helpful.

Here's my latest attempt.

Caleb said...

Thanks for these examples, they're very useful.

Here's one of my ink attempts.

Deemo said...

Hey John i posted a couple of George inks on my blog check them out tell me what you think.

Im going to post some more inks later.


Mitch L said...

Hee John, did you got my email I sent? Sorry to ask it, but I don't hope my email is doing weird again.


flashcartoons said...

my attempt at inking

i hope you like it :) i can try more

Deemo said...

Hey John

I posted some more inks they turned out nice, If you could check em out let me know what you think. Back to inking some more drawings, ill post more later.


Gabriele_Gabba said...

Man, this inking business is so interesting! I don't know if you've mentioned it before, but i'd be VERY keen to see just what medium you lot use, is it digital inking? traditional?

What techniques should one keep in mind with hand/arm movements? I'd love to know what you think, because i find so many inkers have their own methods and things that work for them. Like multiple strokes, the dot system, pivoting the elbow, looking ahead, ghosting etc etc.

Chris said...

Hey John,

I've inked a few of your George drawings in Illustrator and wanted to get your take on them. Any pointers would be extremely awesome. And if you like them and still need inkers I'd love to apply for the job.




Anonymous said...


Do the thick lines sometimes act as a dual purpose?
I.e., Eyelids and Eyebrows indicating shade but also acting as grouped hair?

If so are the furrows on his forehead are thinner because of light-source and the fact the groove is also more shallow, then say the divot on Kirk Douglas' chin?