There are a few reasons why I prefer to do a final ink version of my sketch. It’s cleaner, has more contrast, and generally scans—or photographs—better than pencil.

Here’s my initial inked sheet. I prefer to use a flatbed scanner as I know it will be distortion free. For more ideas on how to import your sketch, check out this post.

Here, we’re simply tracing over the final pencil sketch from the previous post. My main go-to pen is the UNI Pro 02, as the width gives me good detail without being too thin. Go ahead and use whatever you feel comfortable with.

Inking can be a bit more stressful than pencil, as there’s some finality with it. As with the pencil sketch, I’m not aiming for 100% perfection. You can see where I’ve crossed over some lines, and there are some blobby bits. All these will be cleaned up in Photoshop.

If you aren’t completely happy with how something turns out, just “x” it out and re-draw it on another scrap. All of this will come together at the end.

There are a few things missing, namely the robot. I find it easier to keep all the elements separate. This streamlines the process when we import the art to Photoshop and Illustrator. I’ll get into that in the next post.

In the image below, I’ve inked out the screw and bolt details. I add registration marks to the corners to help line things up when we put all the “sheets” together. As long as elements don’t touch, feel free to ink as many elements as you like. Normally I wouldn’t use a whole sheet for just a few bits. I wanted to keep it simple so you understand the process.



For sections with more detail, such as the robot, I’ll work on smaller scraps. I add registration marks to line everything up on final. As before, I keep all the elements separate. It looks jumbled, but will make sense when we start assembling the final art in Illustrator.



For each of the files, I adjusted the levels to increase the contrast. Check out the previous post on how to do that.



For all the inked files, I’ll use the eraser tool in Photoshop and do a bit of clean-up. I do this mostly on the corners where I’ve extended the lines. I’ll also smooth out some of the lumps and bumps. This will make things much easier when we import the art to Illustrator. I’m only concentrating on the bits that stick out. I want to keep that slightly rough, hand drawn look.



Now that we have our inked scans, we need to import our art into Illustrator. We’ll get into that in the next post.