Sketch and Ink Challenge (Challenge – Day 1)

The more I look at the work I’m producing at the moment the more I feel that my sketching and inking are still quite poor.  I really need to find that looseness and free feeling which I see in the sketches of other artists which I like.

I do have some degree of difficulty controlling my hands for very fine motor tasks because of the pain condition I have (or it may be because of the medication I have to take for that) but I think, with some effort, I can overcome it, or at least work around it.

So, I’m going to try to sketch or ink something every day for a year.  Sometimes it’s going to be a full-on attempt at a fine art sketch and sometimes it’ll be something small and fun, but I want to do it almost everyday.  (I’m going to make Sunday’s optional because it’s my rest day.)

Yesterday I got two seasons of Naruto DVD’s delivered.  I’ve read the manga before but I’ve not really watched the anime series.  So, for my first sketch I drew a classic face-off scene between Naruto and his rival/friend Sasuke from the first series.  Here’s a photo I took of the scene from my TV:


And this is the sketch…


I don’t want my sketching to turn into full scale drawing so I gave myself a 15 minute time limit.  I concentrated on trying to draw loose but good lines.  It was tricky because everytime I relaxed I went back into my old, tight, way of drawing and I had to keep remembering to try to do it differently.  I really enjoyed it though.

Styles of Scenery

When finishing off the lake scene I wondered what style I wanted to use.  There were two things I thought about playing around with.  The first is the colour of the line art in the picture.  I frequently find that I like manga and comic scenes with more subtle line art.  So I played around with it and tried some brown line art.

Here’s the original…

fishing lake black line art


And here’s the one with the brown line art…

fishing lake rbown line art

I think it adds warmth to the picture but I’m not sure about it as an effect.

The second thing I was thinking about was whether to use colour or grey scale or even duotone.  In the end I made a gryscale version and a duotone version (with black and medium brown as the two colours)

Here they are:

Fishing Lake_greyscale_WEB


Fishing Lake_duotone sepia_WEB

I think I like the duotone best.  Without the colour the light reflected in the lake takes on a stronger quality which I like.  I also think it ties the scene together better which probably says more about my colour choices than anything else.


I would be really interested in any feedback on these options if anyone has the time.  🙂


Manga Scenery – The Lake

Today I had a look at painting a full manga scene based on a young lad fishing at a lake.

I began with a rough sketch:



Then I drew it again in ink and scanned it into my PC:

lineart fishing lake


Next I blocked off certain areas and gave each one a seperate colour so I can then easily select different sections of the image.  This is called flat colour:

flats fishing lake

Then I coloured the background and foreground.  Rather than colouring in flat colour and adding shadows I decided to paint each area using the watercolour brishes in Manga Studio.  I guess I’m still struggling to find the style I ultimately want to go with.  My feeling

is that this will come with experience.

Here’s the final picture:

Fishing Lake_FIN_WEB

Suzi the Teenage Dragon – Completed Original Design!

I wanted to work out a good format for painting / drawing Suzi the Teenage Dragon.  So I redrew Suzi carefully in dark pencil and scanned her in to my PC and saved the file.

Scan FInal Dragon Design Good drawing

Then I inked the pencil drawing and shaded it also in ink.  I scanned this in too.

Scan_Ink Drawing of Suzi_FIN_WEB


I wanted to make a manga version, in greyscale, with the ink drawing and a full colour version with the pencil.

With the Manga version I just coloured the picture in using greyscale and then added some shading where the ink lines asked for it.  Here’s how it turned out.

Full Manga of Suzi_FIN_WEB

To make the colour version I first cleaned the image and set up some flat colour in photoshop.

Flats_COlour Suzi

Then I opened the file in Manga Studio and coloured her mainly using watercolour paintbrushes.

Final Dragon Design Colour_WEB


However, being such a sucker for colour I then wanted to see the ink drawing line art over the colour.  So with a bit of fiddling around I managed to import the ink drawing as a layer and use the same colour on it.  This turned out to be my favourite style.  I’m going to use this method for the rest of this project, but with slightly less in the way of shading with ink.  I want to restrict the ink ‘shading’ to only indicating texture because I can shade the image easily when I colour it.

Here she is…

Suzi Ink and Colour_FIN_WEB

I feel that she’s beginning to look like a proper girly teenage dragon now.  Perfect for my story.