Alternative Inking: Go Beyond the Brush and Pen | Michelle Tabares | Skillshare

Alternative Inking: Go Beyond the Brush and Pen

Michelle Tabares, Cartoonist and Illustrator

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9 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Using a Toothpick

    • 3. Using Fingerprints

    • 4. Using a Cotton Ball

    • 5. Using a Qtip

    • 6. Using a Toothbrush

    • 7. Assignment

    • 8. Demonstration

    • 9. Closing Thoughts


About This Class

If you're a cartoonist or illustrator, odds are you've worked with ink at some point to create comics and/or illustrations. While most of us use a brush or dip pen to transfer our ink to paper, many rarely venture outside of using these very traditional drawing and painting tools.

Who says you only have to use a brush or dip pen for your comics or ink drawings? There's tons of DIY tools in your own home that can create unique and interesting effects that would be impossible through traditional means. Some of which may surprise you!

So pick up a toothbrush, q-tip or a cotton ball and let's start experimenting with some creative inking techniques!

All music in this lesson in by DJ Quads:


1. Introduction: Yeah. - Hey , my name is Michelle. I'm a cartoonist and illustrator, and in today's video, we're gonna be talking about some alternative thinking methods. If you're an illustrator or cartoonist yourself, you've probably already worked with ink, and maybe you've used brushes or depends. But in today's lesson, we're going Teoh focus on different methods of gay, all of which can be used with various household items that can be found either in your home already for free or can be purchased for cheaply. And so some of the items that we are going to be working with today, including cotton balls, Q tips, toothpicks and various other items, which you can use to create different effects in your illustration or your comic work. Working with these tools is especially exciting because a lot of times the effects that they create can be reproduced with what we traditionally used to banquet. So a lot of what you'll see here is unique to the tool and can't be replicated with a brush or a dip pen. I also think that using these alternative thinking methods is a great way to get yourself unstuck from maybe an artist's rut or to just get you thinking more outside of the box point is to get out of your creative comfort zone and try new things. And hopefully, along the way, find maybe one or two new tools that you can incorporate into your art. So that said, Let's dive right in and start experimenting with some new tools. I'll see you in the next video. 2. Using a Toothpick: in this video, we're gonna talk about one of my favorite thinking tools, your toothpick. Now, the tooth pick is sort of like a powerhouse sinking tool. It can be used for so many different ways. You can get so many a different line with variations from it. You can also turn the toothpick on its side and drag it across the page, which will create this sort of effect that you're seeing on the screen right now, which is pretty cool if you want something more textures, since it picks up the texture of the wood grain. And now you can secure on the screen that just by changing the pressure in which you apply the toothpick to the page, you could get very thick, highly saturated lines down to pretty thin lines. It really just depends on what it is you're going for and how much you apply to the page in a pinch. It can also be used for lettering, although keep in mind that because oftentimes toothpicks are coated with wax, they're not going to be very absorbent, so you will have to dip it in ink quite a lot, and I think that the lettering that looks the best with the toothpick, oftentimes is loose and sprightly. I think it would work very well with display text. Toothpick is also fairly easy to maneuver, which makes it great, and you'll see here I'm quickly scribbling in an eyes so you can kind of see what it's like , since it's also a great tool to sort of sketch with. You can also take a great deal of ink and sort of drag it out onto the page like I'm doing here and just be careful that this is a tool that's pretty fragile. So if you apply too much pressure, they'll break fairly easily. But thankfully, toothpicks are cheap, relatively plentiful, so even if you do break a few, it should be no problem. Sometimes your tooth pick my crates of splatter. I didn't prepare for it in this particular occasion, but I did wipe down my work surface afterwards, so that's something to keep in mind. Try to think ahead and make sure that you're prepared for that. You can also stippled with the toothpick by creating circles of various size. The toothpick is also especially great at producing lively, energetic lines, so it's a tool that I like to use a lot if I'm drawing somebody that's running or dancing or if I just want to convey a great deal of movement. The Toothpick is an extremely useful tool that I myself have used quite a lot in my own work, probably more than any of the other tools that we're looking at today. I want to give credit to my teacher, Justin Anderson, who first showed me this tool, and I'm gonna provide a link so that you can visit her website yourself. I hope that learning more about the toothpick oven thinking tool was exciting for you as it was for me. Thank you so much for watching. Whenever you're ready, we can move on to the next video. 3. Using Fingerprints: this video, I'm gonna show you how you can use your fingerprints to make some amazing textures for your illustrations and comics. To be fair, the fingerprint texture is a bit. I think it works best situations where there is a horror or suspense element, and I could also see it working very well in a war type of a comic or illustration. But that said, it's also a really fun and packed away to applying to your paper. I think there's something about how it kind of reminds you a finger painting and even low the process of thinking with your fingers. Conceive a little primary. The results that it can produce are pretty impressive. Often times, you can pretty easily develop a feel for how much inky want and whether or not you have too much or too little on your fingers. Think is also fairly easy to manipulate. Once it's on your fingers, you can apply just a little bit of ink to have a dryer sort of feeling. Or you can apply a lot of ink so that you get a large spaces of black with just a hint of the fingerprint texture. I do also think it's a good idea to make sure that the think that you're using is non toxic and to wash your hands thoroughly after your dined. The other thing that's nice is that you can use different fingers, so use your thumb. If you want to cover larger months space or for smaller, more detailed areas, you can use your pinky finger. Here are some close ups of the thumbprint texture. I think the thumbprint texture looks much better up close, and it's something that would probably work best in print format illustrations and comics. I love the curving, delicate lines that you could get from the fingerprint texture, and I think it would work very well in situations where you want something different and unique from hatching a cross hatching. I really hope that should give this method try. So there's something kind of fun about being able to get a little bit dirty and use your fingers to make art. Thanks so much for watching this video and let's move on to the next 4. Using a Cotton Ball: in this video will be using a cotton ball to Apply Inc. As you can see, I've already gone ahead and put down some washi tape to ensure that we have a clean border , since cotton balls could cover a larger area. So it's definitely important Teoh put down tape or paper to prevent it going over any lines that you don't want it to cover. I'm starting out by just dropping on some Payne's Gray Inc directly onto the cotton ball, and what you'll notice right away is that it transfers the ink pretty heavily. But as being starts to dry out, and as we get closer to the center, you'll see that it creates a little bit more off fluffy sort of effect. And now I'm rubbing down the ink. So not only can you use the cotton ball to dab on generous amounts of ink, as I'm doing in this video, you can also use the cotton ball Teoh gently fade out by sort of rubbing it against the paper, and you can see how the originally saturated dark color is a little bit faded now that I rubbed the cotton ball up and out, and now I'm sort of demonstrating this rubbing technique on a blank side of the frame. What I really like about it is it gives texture, but it's a fairly even sort of texture. Sometimes you want something saw, and in that case, Cotton Ball is perfect for that. I'm now placing a new frame toe work with, and I'm tearing up the cotton ball that we've been using in house. So if you find that the cotton ball you're using is maybe a little bit too big tearing it up, uh, reducing the size might help give you a little bit more control. I'm going ahead, and I've added another drop of ANC off camera and stippling this time. So I've added a little less Inc. Which is creating again the sort of like soft, fuzzy but still sort of rough texture. So that's one thing that's really nice about using The cotton ball is you can get a wide range off textures from it, and I think that this tool is fantastic because it has a lot of versatility. It's great if you want to cover a large area with a soft, even texture. So I think a technique like This would be wonderful for adding maybe a fog or haze, or maybe even creating some foliage. So that was the cotton ball for you, which I think was a lot of fun. Thanks so much for exploring using the cotton ball to ink. And whenever you're ready, let's go ahead and move onto the next video. 5. Using a Qtip: in this video, we're gonna cover one of my personal favorites when it comes to alternative thinking, which is the Q tip I really love using Q tips. Thank because you're able to get a very wide range of value out of them, and they're very easy to control. By pushing down on the Q tip, you can create very dark lions by adjusting your grip on using a lighter touch. You can have a lighter shade come out from the Q tip, and it's also not that difficult to produce straight lions and curly lines as well. You can also see here that the Q tip does a pretty good job of filling in large areas with ink. And I, like Teoh, rotate the Q tip back and forth and swell that around because it creates a lot more texture . Another great way to use the Q tip is for stippling, and this is especially great if you want to get big textured sort of circles. And once again, this tool is versatile enough that you can create precise, textured circles, or you can also speed up your application and apply the stippling erratically, which gives off medium or energetic sort of feeling. Because the Q tip has cotton, it absorbs the ink really well and allows you to give these various sort of effects that you might not necessarily be able to get from other alternative inking techniques or tools . Now I want to demonstrate just how easy it is to get a radiation from using a Q tip. So starting at the top of the frame, we're going to have our darkest black and moved down, and you can see the gradually Grady Asian gets later and later. You can see that this great aviation is pretty smooth, especially in comparison Teoh textured block on the left hand free and that is a little bit more erratic. The Q tip does a good job of not only creating lively textures but also smooth ones as well . Here's a close up of some of marks that we need with Q tip, and once again you're able to see up close how the Q tip is able. Teoh create a lot of variation and not just the texture but also the value. So for me, this is one of the most valuable alternative inking tools use. I hope you enjoyed this video, and whenever you're ready, let's continue on to the next alternative thinking video 6. Using a Toothbrush: in this video, we're gonna talk about using a toothbrush so the tooth fresh can be one of the most fun in my opinion tools to use. But it can also be the messiest, so it's definitely a good idea to prepare your workstation properly. Before using the toothbrush, I would recommend putting down some newspaper behind your piece, or what you can do in my case here is experiment with using both paper laying on top to collect any ink and also washi tape along the borders. Keep in mind, though, if you want the cleanest line possible, it's best he's washi tape. But if you actually want some of the two fresh bladder to escape the border of your frame, which should make a pretty big visual impact, you can use paper on top instead, which will give more oven in perfect sort of bleeding kind of feeling coming out of the frame. Now I'm going Teoh. Go ahead and directly apply some ink onto the toothbrush. And for hygiene reasons, please be sure to get a new toothbrush that you can devote specifically for your thinking and art purposes. This one was one that I got for free at a hotel, and now comes the fun part, using your thumb to press down against the bristles. Move your thumb slowly towards you, which will create this amazing splatter effect and do something like this to simply add texture. Or maybe to add stars in a galaxy. Seen or maybe to add falling snow flurry. If your piece has snowfall, you may have noticed also that I am using a glove here because quite a lot of pink well get on your thumb and into your fingernail. That's just a personal preference. If you don't mind getting a little dirty, feel pretty. Use your bare hands. The great thing about the toothbrushes that it's got a lot of versatility, So not only can you use it to create a splatter effect, you can also apply it directly onto the page. Teoh give it a really grungy sort feel, and since there's a certain level of control with the toothbrush, you can either apply it very lightly to get sort of a dry brush, feel or pressed down really hard to get more ink on the page. The toothbrush in this case would be great for a comic illustration. that you wanna have a greedier, dirty or sort of feel. So it's definitely a great tool to use if you want to add just grit but also energy and movement and activity to your piece. And here are some close ups of splatter. The border that had the paper does have a little bit of splatter leaking out from each handle, so I think that looks cool and would definitely work in certain situations. But if you're not into that can you can use washi tape to mitigate that? There's a lot of energy in it, and not just the splatter, but also in the rough line that come from directly applying the bristles to the page. And let's go ahead and move on to the next video, where we'll be talking about the assignment for today's class. 7. Assignment: in this video, we're gonna be talking about your assignment. Now the assignment is pretty straight forward. What I'd like you to do is to create a composition. You can draw whatever it is that you like, but of course he must use thing. And you must use at least 2 to 3 of the alternative thinking tools that we discussed. Take some time to think about different tools, the effects that they can create and which would be most appropriate for your style of art or for whatever it is I feel like drawing. For example, if you want to draw a scene where there is a lot of action, there's a lot of dynamic movement. Using a toothpick would probably be pretty beneficial, since toothpicks give a very dynamic sort of line. Maybe you want to create a piece with a wide range of value, So instead of cross hatching, you could use a thumbprint instead to create a layer radiated effect. I hope that this was beneficial, and I can't wait to see your work 8. Demonstration: Welcome back. Today we're gonna be creating a tree using the alternative inking methods that we have discussed for this piece. I'm going to be using watercolor paper instead of sketch paper because I'm gonna be using different tones of egg mixed with water, which will absorb the ink better. And now, as you can see, I'm starting off with a toothbrush using a mid tone sort of Pinkwater combination. And I'm just going ahead and splaying in some splatter marks. Normally, I wouldn't recommend using all of the techniques in one piece, but I thought it would be fun to try out for demonstration purposes. Splatter marks were a bit too harsh for my life being, so I went ahead and took cotton ball to soften the edges out. I'm then going in and taking a Q tip, and with a slightly darker but still not quite fully saturated in tone and water combination, I'm going ahead and stippling in some larger circles, concentrating a lot of the circles near the base where a shadow would be the Q. With a piece like this is toe layer, the textures on very slowly. It's better to use two little ink rather than too much. And so that's what I'm doing with this piece. Once again, the circles from the Q tip were a little too hard, so I took a cotton ball to absorb some of the excess spots and soften it out again. Unfortunately, I've for gotten to put on my glove, but nevertheless I'm powering through by adding more splatter marks with a toothbrush and again concentrating some of that texture where the shadow would be near the base of the tree. Since my fingers are already messy, I decided to just go for it by apply my fingers directly to the page. Teoh further spread out the ache. Now, in this particular piece, the fingerprint texture isn't going to be very noticeable, which I think is fine because there's already plenty of texture going on. If you want the fingerprint texture to be more noticeable is to try to stick with straight instead of water down constitution, like what I'm doing here something the fingerprint texture is very fine. It tends to get sort of lost in lighter, more water down ink tones because I feel like there's a lot of texture on the page and I want to see a little bit more ground. This instability. I start adding some solid black using a toothpick to paint and the trunk, and I especially really love the lines down at the bottom where the roots are being made. I think that has kind of a really nice cala graphics air quality to it, which again is something that you can achieve through the toothpick. As you can see with the toothpick, it's really easy to just go ahead and add lots of little details. The toothpick does a great job of being able to do lots of burying line with. So something like branches is really easy. And I'm going to actually spend the rest of this video just adding it more and more branches because personally, I love painting branches. So let's just go ahead and watch the completion of this video and we'll meet back at the very. And so here is our finished Pete's up close, and what I love is that it's so rich in texture, and there's so many different types of texture to you have the small sort of ink splatter from the toothbrush. The slightly larger, more blobby texture from the Q tip and even some of that wood grain from the toothpick. I love just how stylistic and kind of experimental this piece has come out, and I think once again that's really important. When you're working with art, you want toe, try various styles. You want to try things that are different because usually there's something to learn from it. And I feel like learning with these alternative tools is really fun that way. So I hope you enjoyed the making of this tree. Thank you so much for watching this demonstration. And now let's finish up this class with some closing thoughts in the next video. 9. Closing Thoughts: thank you so much for joining me for today's lesson and exploring different thinking techniques that go beyond just your typical brush or ink pen. While I don't expect you to use absolutely every technique that we've gone over today, I am hoping that you've come away with at least one or two that appeal to you or more of a curiosity for other potential alternative tools that we haven't talked about today. Who knows, maybe you'll come up with one that works perfectly for you or work perfectly for a friend. The intention of this lesson was to sort of get your mind going and to think beyond what we consider to be traditional art tools. If you look around, your environment is full of potential art tools, you just have to figure out how to use them. And I think harnessing that creativity and curiosity is often times very beneficial for expanding our minds as artists and sometimes also getting unstuck from ruts which do happen from time to time, especially if we get used to the same process and the same sort of tools. Art shouldn't be the not miss. It should be exploratory and fun and challenging Using alternative inking tools can remind you about how the process of making art making marks on a page should be special and unique , interesting and weird. Even so, I hope that this class was beneficial for you. Thank you once again for joining me. And I can't wait to see all the work that you guys come up with, take care and have an excellent day. Happy drawing. But by