Digital Inking Tips To Get You Hired in Japan | Yazuki Wolf | Skillshare

Digital Inking Tips To Get You Hired in Japan

Yazuki Wolf

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11 Lessons (39m)
    • 1. SkillShare intro00

    • 2. DigInk setup

    • 3. DigInk02 inkingEyes

    • 4. DigInk03 lineWeight

    • 5. DigInk04 inkingLikeAzenSwordsman

    • 6. DigInk05 taperedLines

    • 7. DigInk06 lineWeightforShadows

    • 8. DigInk07 lostIntheBackground

    • 9. DigInk08 thickeningSIlhouette

    • 10. DigInk09 leaveSpaceAround

    • 11. DigInk10 closingThoughts


About This Class

Hello I'm Yazuki Wolf. I'm a artist working in the Japanese game industry. 

Manga Editors and Game or Anime Studios here in Japan have some relatively strict requirements when it comes to inking and linework that you may not be aware of. In this class I aim to relay all the points I've learned working within Gaming and Manga to help anyone seeking to master the Japanese style (whether it be for Gaming, Manga, or Animation)

I use Clip Studio Paint in the videos but the lesson is not Software Specific. Please use whatever software (or even pen and paper) that you are comfortable with. 


1. SkillShare intro00: Hi, this is your lucky wolf. I've been living in Japan for over 12 years now, and I've been working in the games industry as a professional artist for at least seven of those coming from a Western background. It took a lot of work to adapt my style to. A Japanese audience took many hours of practice, observation and guidance for my Japanese colleagues, but eventually I learned how to present my work in both realistic, cartoony and even animate styles. Prior to my career in the game industry, I also stayed manga for two years in a vocational college. I drew over 100 pages of manga, and I spent a lot of time talking to real manga artists as well as manga publishers, which did allow to really help me understand the different expectations for artists here in Japan as compared to those in the West. And so it's these experiences that I think put me in a good position to share some of the ins and outs of the industry here in Japan, which you may or may not be aware of if you're in another country. And so if you hope to one day work in Japan. Or if you're just looking for help in mastering the Japanese style, Well, then you've come to the right place. My lessons go step by step through a sample project which you can either follow directly or adapt to a product of your own. And how did you go through these steps? I'm gonna be covering in depth the key points that your art director or publisher is going to be looking for in your artwork. So this is coming from the perspective of how to help you be able to produce reliably marketable work for the our industry in Japan. So if that sounds like something you'd be interested in doing this is not wasting more time and get right into the lesson. 2. DigInk setup: Okay, so let's start. This is the rough, um, and that's actually a lot cleaner than my usual Ruff's. My usual ropes are really rough, but I made this and it's pretty clean, but it's still not good enough for for actual, for handing in as a for assignment over here. Um, mainly because you see these these lines. There's too much radiation. They aren't crisp enough from that. Doesn't quite have the proper line weights, and it's not. It's not bad, but definitely be crisper. One big thing to note is that if you're going to be doing this with photo shop, I think you're generally or your initial thing shot. Um, brush. I might be something like, See if I could reproduce it in here. By the way, I'm using clips, studio paint. It's a pretty good software. I'd a bit I definitely recommended. I might go to new between every about this software in particular, but let's see. Um, yeah, this isn't quite the former shop brush, but it might be enough to kind of at least demonstrate what I want when I want to say is that their initial here initial floor stop brush made very likely have served a radiation to it where it's not 100% black. And, uh, you don't want that for inking so like something like this is probably gonna be good, because if I if I think that in later to see how you get like, this kind of strange, like it's not crisp, Phil, it kind of it seeps into some areas and doesn't seep into other areas. And it doesn't make the same shape as the line you Drew was just a little like these kind of like jagged pixels here on this goes to the sort of western style where we look at the overall forms and out here we don't notice anything. But in Japan because that they're looking, they're very, very much looking at the the beauty of that line. When they see these, like, kind of jagged edges, that's that. That's a no no, and it gently will kind of bar you from being able to work perfecto professionally on this bridge in this in this particular Japanese style. So if you're doing, if you're doing full of shop, you're going to have to you're gonna want to adjust your brush things to make sure that it's 100% opaque and, uh, hopefully still has and still has some line variation but line variation. I mean that, uh, when you press lightly, it makes us thin line. When you press harder, it makes it thicker line with studio paint. I just picked the pen setting and here has ji pen marker pen covered, a panel basic stuff that you would use for manga. So that makes it very, very easy to kind of very easy and easy to understand and simple for for the purpose of doing inking. 3. DigInk02 inkingEyes: Let's get started. So I'm basically just going to use about about thickness of five pixels. And the thickness could, could vary depending on your project. But yeah, anyways, I am going to be quiet for a little bit while I while I start finish drawing this and kind of show you the kind of process a little bit. And then I might give some words at the end about specifically what I was thinking about in certain areas and why I why did things the way that I did I did. So because a few things to note right off the bat with the with the I is that so I'm, I'm using about 55 pixel would wait line. And that's sort of my base of what I once all the lines to be around that sort of, that sort of width. But the eyes are the, are the point that you want to draw the most attention to. And so that's why with the eyes you want to be able to, especially the worse this called the upper part of the eye. You wanna have it much thicker so that you can actually draw attention to that area. And they actually don't really like how this is not quite the same thickness. I'm gonna add a little bit more on this side. Okay? And since I'm using, since I am using the vector layer, I can actually click to say, you see that I have a lot of things that are kind of lines that are going over each other. Well, if I, if I click on part of that line and it deletes everything up to the nearest intersection. So I click on this once and it deletes all that and release all that. So it's very easy to clean up with clips studio. I may go into that more in a different video, but anyways, there you go. So that's all cleaned up and I could kind of just leave this. Sorry, I need to kind of make this a little bit further so it doesn't detect that as part of being part of the line. There go. I could pretty much just leave this like this. And later on, I'm actually coloring it. I'll fill that in with a color. But I think I'm just going to go ahead and fill it up, not with black. But I'll do that in a second. But another thing to just note is the thick areas for the, for the eyes. First part is the upper eyelashes definitely want that to be rather thick, like three to three to five times the thickness of my my regular lines. And then your lines around the around the bottom and so forth. Also the lines around the pupil and iris. You want those to be fairly thick. So I didn't really make any larger than five pixels. And here I'm saying, I'm saying these numbers, but they don't really mean anything and it all depends on what project you're doing. But I guess a simple thing to say is you just want them to be most be thicker than the, than the other lines, data lines inside. So like this line, this line here is about, say, like this thick, while this line here is about that thick. And I just kind of delineate those Bye by pressured by our pressure on the other brush. But anyways, that's pretty much all I have to say about the browser guys. Continue dry a little bit longer then I'll commit again with some more comments. Are 4. DigInk03 lineWeight: In Eclipse do there's also align tool that you can use which allows you to basically draw lines are curved lines like this. And that's another thing that's fairly useful. I don't use it that much. But there are some cases where if you won't make a really long line, it could be helpful. I think was a warrior when you're working on or when you see me working as you've probably seen me erasing lines over and over to undoing a lot. And that's probably because what I was mentioning about how, how important it is to have the line right in, in Japanese illustration. So like for right now exceed, if this was just my, my own like Sketch or something, this lie would probably be good enough for that. But for if I were to hand this n, It probably would come back to me. And the reason is because if you look at this line right here, see if I get this enough. So you can really see for like, see like right here it's really thick, but then here, then here it's like thin, and then here it gets thick again. And then here's thin again. And that's doesn't look good. They want. The kind of idea is that it, this is supposed to look like it was one like elegant stroke. So that's why after doing that, I still go back again and kinda brush it up a bit. And a lot of times you why you see me can't read doing strokes over and over again because generally if I could get it in one stroke and that's the best. So a lot of times may, if I'm trying to get us particular line like I'll get to that in a second. Refinished, dispersed. So let's see. I kind of make sure that there's the same thickness around this area. And that's gonna elegantly kind of taper off toward the end. Like that. I think. The other kind of cool thing about about Chris's studio, they may see me doing a subtlety sometimes in this video is that you can actually select non-color as a color. So if I select no color, the color I could now just, I could draw with no color, which is basically like a racing, but it's cool because it automatically allows you to erase with the same properties of whatever you are drawing with. So if I'm drawing with a 100% of passing the pen, I could select that and now I am erasing with a 100% opacity. Or if I wanted to do a different type of arrays, I could use a different type of tool and then select that. So it's pretty nice, pretty nice. I don't know if it's actually intentional or if this is a bug. But I mentioned about the, about the way she calls it, the vector layer that is being able to delete like whole sections of whole sections of, of lines. And sometimes you don't know, sometimes you just want to leave. Like right here I had a some load, some little bumps and stuff and I'm not and I don't need to delete the whole thing. I know is that with this, if you have the lines here and you use the no color option, your allows you to select two. Basically, erase normally without having to go back and change your race, your settings. So That's just something I kind of used sometimes. But anyways, let me clean this up is I kind of messed it up by putting all these lines all over. Another thing to keep in mind is that you want the lines to be thicker where you, where you kind of imagine shadow appearing. So for example, if you had a circle like like this, say actually I think I have, oh no, I didn't have surplus. Forget famous essay. There was like a button or something on her dress that's just pretend like there's a button here. So you're maybe tempting just to kind of leave that as a circle like that. But another thing they looked for in Japan is that is the line weight where you intend channeled to be. So if if the shallows coming from above, then the wind will wait on the bottom of this, of this of this circle is should be thicker than the one than what's on top. And that's sort of indicates that there's light, there's lighting on the top. And all these things are true for digital illustration like color illustration, but even that, even more so for, for manga. So if you're doing log out and this is, these are very essential. And I will talk a little bit about why these are really a part with some other things that are important to Mongo probably toward the end of this video. As these are the kind of effect that it's like a cast shadow sort of cool thing about picks your paint. That's gonna be my favorite phrase for a day. And the other cool thing for Chris's studio paint. But since this is a vector layer, I don't actually have to, to, to paint over it. There's actually an option to thicken lines so I can kind of go to my where's my thinking? Seriously, go to option too thick to increase the thickness of the line by one pixel. And then all I have to do is kind of stroke over the area that I want to increase the thickness of C. There you go, I guess thicker. So that's really, really nice. And I'll show you another thing that I do with that at the end of this video. So please stay till the end. I have some I have some very important things to say, but they were saying everything at the beginning of the scene, right. So. 5. DigInk04 inkingLikeAzenSwordsman: Yeah, things to avoid with your lines. You don't want to have like like little parts of the lines sticking out. And I know that I just do that when I was a kid, when I was drawing like curved line, I'm just kinda draw like this and like this, like this, like this and this kind of like and dislike that until I have like a line. But what's the end? They, they really frowned upon these like HIV like strands of, of line that are sticking out are like little bumps. You're like pixels that are out of place. So you want to avoid that as much as possible and make sure that everything is nice and cleanly connected. Like it's like one. Just manage self is like a, like a samurai like ITV resource to meet with me about the new me on multiple who slushy the samurai movies back in the day. I think kid a Kusama made a couple of number. And it was just like a real famous Samurai. And I remember like heat for his training, he used to do these, to do art here is actually like do ink paintings. And it was keeps kind of likening the stroke of the brush to a stroke of a sword. So that's sort of the mentality that I think this comes from. Words sort of like that. You have again that Zen Mover just get that perfect stroke. And luckily in our, in our back in the day and they had to practice and practice all the time and do go through tons of tons of trees worth of paper to achieve that perfect stroke. But luckily in our day we now have the undo button or well the control zed that the two buttons that's amalgamated to make the undo button, which makes it a lot easier to get that perfect stroke. So there's a, there's a blessing and a curse theme is probably for maybe, maybe people would be like clients and art directors weren't worried, wouldn't have been bothered too much by something being slightly imperfect. But now since you can achieve a fairly perfect stroke, anything less than that just looks like you're being lazy. And yeah, that's the other difference about Japan. And I was going to mention is that the first one is that they focus more on line than they do on a, on a form. And the second thing is that they also are very perfectionistic. So I think it kind of goes back to the whole like the tea ceremony. I don't know if you've ever seen a Japanese Terry solenoid, but it's like every motion it like it a lot of thought has put into every motion and every like every step of the ceremonies, like you're very conscious of everything they're doing. And that's just sort of like this mentality of I'm trying to achieve perfection. And that translates into the art world. I found. The art world I found because things that are outside of life, traditional western, western training. You'd say, well, you know, part of the illustration is the, is the, is the viewer got loci, he's gonna look at the face. Let's spend the most time at the face and things outside that you don't have to be as important. And I think that's still true for concept art and other forms of art. So don't, don't, don't, don't, don't think that I'm not saying that's true. That you want focus more of your attention on the areas that are important to kind of like. How about order of priorities, I guess in a way to know what you really need to spend time drawing and what you've kinda like half ass a little bit and get away with. And and in Japan, they'll at least in my experience working here, they don't seem to have them and tell them that kind of understanding that like, okay, there's parts of the illustration that we need to spend time on and there's other parts. We can kinda slip. We don't we just let slide and maybe if we have extra time, you can go back to here. It's like very much node. Just do it perfectly handheld. It's like just get everything right, just, just make sure that everything is perfect. Like I've had stuff like Come back to me because one pixel was, was in a place that should have been like, you know, like there's, there's a line like like this and maybe there's like a pixel on the side like that. Little peasant, pretty big. I mean, like a pixel like literally like, like, like, like this. Like say, there's that one pixel there. But you may not even be able to tell because there you will see that one pixel, this one glaring pixel here that I would have worked, Come back to me because of that, because there was one pixel out of place. So it's very much like a kind of perfectionistic. And to the point where it's like from a Western standpoint, you kind of look at it. You're like, well, what are the odds that a person viewing my art is going to be able to pick out that one pixel, right? You know, what? Does that really matter? You know, especially if like 3D artist friends who he had, his arts is 3D model come back to him because he, he didn't text properly texture the bottom of the of the characters foot or something. And he was like, he really saying to me like, he's also from a, he is from america, from New York. So he was also say like, like, why do they care about the bottom of its foot? That doesn't like no one's going to see like even if they couldn't see the bottom of the foot, it's, it's only going to be for instant, it's going to be emotion and like, I don't get it. And and I kinda Gosh, that was saying. But I think that goes back to that kind of perfectionistic pursuit of perfection, which I think is very much rooted in that old, the old like samurai, a old-school Japan like it with the layman samurai were just like just like with the tea ceremony and kind of like the kind of zen mentality and things like that. Just trying to achieve perfection in the simplest of tasks. 6. DigInk05 taperedLines: And notice that I have a log lines crossing over each other. Once again, just to remind you that's because of clips Studio. I can erase those with one stroke. So here we go and just go back and erase those due to k. That looks fairly good. Alright. And how about that perfect struggling. So, okay, this is another kind of point. It's called tomatoes. It's see, it's where you have a kind of buildup of thickness of color of ink that then tapers off. This comes one particularly notable place where you see this a lot is where the neck line begins. So going into the neck, I'm gonna make kind of make it nice and thick. And then I'd go down like that. So now see how we have a very thick line on the top that kind of tapers off like it then erase the top with because of my lecture layer. And that's just the bottom is a little too tapered so as to kind of go over that again, made about somebody like that. And then you go and actually I think I actually want a little bit more of a taper into there. So I'm going to kind of go over here a little bit more like so. So this really gives that nice kind of intersection of two lines where it kind of merges into the other line. And let's try going on this side. You go. There's that initial drawing. I had a lot of these kind of hatches here for shading. And there's definitely something good for Mongo. Especially if you don't really like using a lot of tone, screen tones like me. Well, if you don't like using allow screen tones like myself who also doesn't like using a lock screen intones has realized that was kind of ambiguous sentence, but it's very helpful to do a lot as crosshatching stuff and, and kind of user and get your told him that also read popular style right now that you see, and I don't want this available outside of Japan with a game called Grand Blue fantasy. Maybe look it up online. It unless Grand Blue fantasy, I don't know why the fantasy is blue, but just, just roll with it. Allowed their Arctic even, it's even colored art still has this kind of like these cross hatches in it. Another notable example would be the illustrator for tactics or Final Fantasy Tactics. They also still use a lot of those. And maybe, you know, if you go ahead and I might add that adds another layer to just kind of so that I can show both different styles and the future. But for this particular video right now I'm going to, this particular series, I'm going to focus more on the coloring in the future videos, so I'm not gonna go too much into it, crosshatching and stuff in this particular video. So right now I'm not going to be putting the cross hatches. Nearly always have a little bit here for the hair, but for the most part I'm going to try to leave that for when I'm actually coloring it later. So this is going to be a little bit more, a little bit sparser or like a little bit. It's not going to have as much aligned work as, as I would generally do for, for a manga page. Or if I was gonna do a style of life with tiny dork forgot attack at tactics over or font-family tactic style. 7. DigInk06 lineWeightforShadows: Now I could go a little bit more. But I think since I already have a finished one, I'm going to say that that's enough for this particular demo. So here we go, we just had her head. And so a couple more things to note, I'm still not done. This is just my time, my initial line work. And what I would continue to do from here is I just continued, continued to go over it and look at where I think there's going to be shadows. So I think there's gonna be some shadows here. So I'm going to thicken up those lines with my with my thickening tool from the eclipse studio. Looks like something strange going on down there. Was that one. Okay. Yeah. I didn't finish that. This hair supposed to kinda like loop up a little bit like delete that. No. Yeah. Alright, and then get the bottom of that too. There we go. And since the bomb is going to be where the shadow isn't going to go over that a little bit more. And I, once you get used to this, you can do a lot of this and your first first strokes. But if you don't, it's good, it's fine as go back over it again later. Alright, so once you just think about like where it, where I think shadows are going to be lying. And now I want to separate that, maybe want to separate that jaw line that it had this fine how it was. Maybe this one a little bit thicker. And actually a thinker is taking up too much as do like half of that array. It's like maybe the bottom of her the biomarker, eyelash eyebrow. They're yo man, My English is suffering so much. I can't think of words anymore. But yes, so you've made was also joined the during the sped up errors spit up motion. There was a point where I just drew these lines for the Obama, the hair that I drew them regularly. And then I went over them again with my with my thickener because they weren't the same thing as in the other side. So good thing. But also to kind of note, I am once again, you wanted there to be thicker where there's shadow, so the bottom is generally going to be more shadowy than the top so that these top lines up here aren't going to be as thick as these bottom lines down here. I'm not sure how well you can see that, but that is the case. 8. DigInk07 lostIntheBackground: Alright, so next thing, this is purely important is how you need to be able to distinguish your character from the background. And this is especially important for Mongo because since Monday as black and white and you don't have those colors, just distinguishing, it becomes especially important to kind of get that separation. See if I can kind of think of it as shown example that somehow we'll just double check. This. Looks fairly good. I think for now that this this hair on the side, I want that to be a little bit thicker as well. So it means go over that again. Yeah, it looks pretty good. Okay. So this is a really crazy looking background. But I'll say x i. So this is like a really crazy looking background. But this is just, I want to show you what could happen with Mongo. So with lungs, it's only black and white. You have your character omits a lot of background elements, right? And so if you were to just draw things, just, just draw things regularly all the same line width. In this case, I've, I've lowered the line width of the eyes as well to kind of just kind of show what that would be like. You can see how you kind of start losing the character. Like where, where is the character in relation to this background? Since this is a face, it's probably a little bit easier to recognize because the whitespace around your face. But if you can imagine if that was like a character like running or like a hole, a hole like a whole characters like body or something it, with that type of background, you'll be really lost as to like, it'd be hard to recognize the character. So that's why a couple of, these are the couple of things that happen and are especially important for Mongo is the first thing is the weizza flip at the eye is having the eyes be thicker, kind of helps, helps, helps show that. Helps helps you find that characteristic and bring your attention to those eyes. And that the next thing though is that it's important to have a silhouette. And so in Mongo, how they usually make a silhouette at this kind of carries over to two illustration to color illustration as well. I know is that this iss not quite as thick as the other. I fix that a little bit. But first thing is that you want the character silhouettes. So let's go ahead and do that. Let's get rid of that background for now. Right. 9. DigInk08 thickeningSIlhouette: So you could go over, go over the, the, the lines of the silhouette that very much out the outermost lines again with with your pen and thicken it up. So like say before we're doing like five, maybe six or seven or something and kind of make a very thick line around those. It's a little bit tough to get the exact same line again. But if you're using Photoshop, I invested, but that's where you do. So you go over the line again, like, like so with with crystalline, OK. Another quick plug for their amazing software. What I do, and I'm sure there's other ways that you can do this, but I just copy that layer. And so now I have two layers of it, right? And I take, take the top layer and I erase everything that's not the outermost line. And we'll get rid of those eyes, facial features, everything. Alright, so that's more or less okay, I think for now and then I take the tool for for thickening things up and go and have it sit right now for half a pixel C. Let's go over it maybe once, twice. And I save the scope three times. That seems pretty good. Alright, and now I could zoom back in, cleanup anything I missed here, this should be more obvious noun are the pixels that have been increased in their, in their size. What is that? Oh, there's something on the background. I think. I like a smudge somewhere. Alleyway just said like a random layer somewhere. Bailey So maybe get rid of these areas here. And that's going to keep that going and go to the non colorings can clean that up a little bit. Make sure there's no like wayward pixels that are kinda sticking out for no reason. Okay, think about Schubert. So now we have a silhouette. So and I'd bring our face backup on the bottom layer. So you turn out so well, on office I've been on a separate layer now and bring back our crazy background elements. And now you can see that even right there, it's more distinguishable. You can see that there's a silhouette around her, around your face, her en route around her rather. And it's already more distinguishable from the backgrounds. You another thing you could do is you could go through and pay thick in other areas. They just kinda was distinguish like say, her face. Yes. So we could go in here and kind of add some thickness to the lines around your face. Maybe have like a little tomato buildup the ink around when they hear. That kinda brings her channel a little bit more. Places you might think about. Thinking a little bit, maybe the the hair lot that bottom, bottom hairline. Let me get rid of the background elements like fancy a little bit better. Yeah, I think that's probably good enough that there was a there was an actual thing that assignment I may seem a little bit more time asking are there, but you get the point. So you can see already that you compare the original, which was this one versus this. This is definitely more visible, maybe even with that background. 10. DigInk09 leaveSpaceAround: One more step that you often see in manga. And that is the step of when you're, Well, I don't know if it's a step, I'll just something else to be careful when you're doing manga is that they generally don't draw lines that lead all the way up to the characters silhouette. So first off, let's see how I can do this area. That's cool too. Yeah, here's our line through background. So I'm gonna go ahead and choose an array non-color, so that erases. And I'm just going to erase all along the along the silhouette line. Alright, so now that you should definitely see her popping out more from the background, it's very clear where that character silhouette is. Probably even make it make the outline even thicker. The huge only gonna make your lines thicker in in manga, then you are in, in color animation. That's nothing I had to learn coming from initial Logan Beck Mongo background in Japan. Is that for Adam for cut for illustration? Usually you want them a lot thinner, like I've had to Korea Australians were exactly like the inside pixels are one pixel and the outside vehicles like, like 23. But for manga, you normally go a lot thicker. So like Mongolia probably be something like like this. Maybe even, maybe even one more layer of thickness, like something like that. Where now you can really see the character separated from the background. I think that's about all I have to say about the inking. 11. DigInk10 closingThoughts: From our next video, I'm going to start going into coloring. And especially the enemy is called in Japanese auto main duty, which is like animation, like basically sell Japanese cell animation. So shading cell Shae, I think they call cel shading very old. So it's like Japanese cel shading. And in there's a maybe three or four different levels of that that I will go through. I think that the first episode is going to be your standard three layer. And it's actually more than three layers because it is $3 per color actually more specifically. But it'd be like your base color, a shadow, and a highlight. There is also another approach and a law that a lot of times your actual, your client or your work will, will specify what the what is necessary for the particular project. But it may be three most standards. The three, The most basic I guess is the three layers. Then you also can bringing gradient layers, which you add a fourth, fourth layer to it. And then there's other times when they might want to layers of shadowed, two layers of, of, of highlight. And you actually get like five or six layers. So I'll go through a specific techniques and I guess the process of those, of those those types of coloring. But for now, I hope that was helpful if you have any other questions, feel free to let me know in the comments section till next time.