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Quick Line Cleanup Walkthrough by sambees Quick Line Cleanup Walkthrough by sambees
I will probably scrap this later in favor of a full blown tutorial later (scratch that, the file was too big for DA), but for now, I get alot of questions regarding my lines, so I thought I'd offer a quick rundown during my break with a more recent lineart of mine using my most common method.

This tutorial was made for traditional inking and cleanup and uses photoshop for the cleaning process.

I've recently begun doing my sketch work using a light blue pencil (image above is darkened and desaturated so you can see it better than what it actually is). Light blue pencil doesn't scan too well without modification so this works well for me. You don't need to use a blue pencil for this tutorial to work so long as your pencil lines are very light. If you are using a regular pencil and they are not, I recomend erasing them altogether after inking.

Having a sketch of your work on file is always a good think to have before inking encase things get complicated, you botch it, or require it later for other purposes.

Ink your picture. I have several pens that I do this with, for this picture I used a 0.05 Staedtler pigment liner. These pens are very easy to get a hold of and you can find in most any Office or Drafting supply store. I try to avoid using ballpoint pens at all cost, they chew up my line work something fierce. Another great pen (but a bit harder to get a hold of) is a 0.25 Staedler Mars drafting pen with interchangeable cartrages and sizes (run about $20 CAD for the case and $5 CAD for each size and cartrage).

I try not to ink sequentially. I ink top to bottom in order of perspective. For example, his hat is on top of his hair, so I will ink the hat before the hair, but the chains are on top of his hat, so I will ink the chains before the hat. This helps me avoid running over lines, and if I can screw up, it makes it easy to save as it wont be falling through the already inked hair and so forth (as the hair has not yet been inked).

If you have been using a regular pencil for your under drawing. Erase it. If you are using a light blue or non-photoable pencil, you can choose to erase it or not. I choose not to as they don't erase well and I don't really need to. This is another reason I dislike ballpoint pens, the ink generally tends to lift during the erasing process and degrades lines.

Scan and Cleanup:
Scan your image as large as you can handle at 300 DPI. It will make it look nicer when you make it smaller.

The second picture above shows what my image looks like before I clean it up. As you can see it contains MANY mistakes, including lines going through things they shouldn't and so forth. That's ok though, we all screw up. This cleanup process works for both coloured underlines and smudges left over by your pencil.

What I do at this point is go into image > adjustments > brightness and contrast </i>

and up the contrast a little bit, just to thin out the blue lines slightly, it will also make them a brighter blue.

I then desaturate my work. image > adjustments > desaturate my blue lines are now faint gray lines.

Then I go into image > adjustments > levels

You will have a box with 3 triangles (black, grey and white) take your white one and begin moving it to the left. This will dramatically increase the whiteness of your white areas and get rid of most your blemishes. If you find your lineart starts to get a bit too light, take the Grey arrow and move it towards the white one slightly, this will darken your lines again. Go ahead and mess with the brightness and contrast again if you have to afterwards.

At this point my line work looks pretty clean, with the exception of a few blemishes. These I fix up with my dodge tool. (located under your fill bucket tool with burn and sponge.) Using dodge rather than white paint allows you to go over your black lines without making them white (since they are black they wont dodge, but your gray blemishes will).

I then go in and remove mistake lines with my white paint tool.

At this point if you wish to resize your line work to be smaller, go forth. The smaller you make it the better it will look, though if you are looking to colour and print it i recomend keeping it big. It looks a bit weird up close, but that's because you scanned it so big and it's picking up all the paper grain and such. It won't look that way when you go to print.

And thus we have the last image shown above.

(sometime to change the effect of my lineart I will duplicate the lineart layer, blur it and set it to a filter such as overlay or hard light, but for this image I have not.)

- Rainbow Lineart Gradient Tutorial: [link]
- Easy Lineart Colour Tutorial: [link]
Add a Comment:
HiddenWorlds Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Ok I realize this tutorial is older but am glad I found it. This looks quite helpful, I was thinking of trying to use traditional inking and to bring it into photoshop smoothly. Thanks for the info on your supplies too. =) Hope you are doing well.
sambees Featured By Owner Feb 3, 2014
Glad to hear it!
poolstudios Featured By Owner May 4, 2012  Professional Artist
Thank you so much! This has helped me immensely!
MoonBlade92 Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2010  Hobbyist General Artist
Good stuff,I was always wondeing how to make my drawing clean without doing all the work in PS.
LadyLagithia Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2010  Student Traditional Artist
Wow! I love this! Not just the tutorial but the sketch itself! It's wonderful!!! :D You are very talented!
ElectricNinjaFish Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2009
So is the second stage for this inked and no erasing for the blue lines?
sambees Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2009
Ayalah Featured By Owner May 15, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Worked perfectly, thank you!
UraHameshi Featured By Owner Feb 5, 2009  Student Interface Designer
Awesome! Thanks a lot for this ^-^
Suinaliath Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
You just made my life so much easier.
I would have your babies for this <3
Bedelgese Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2008
Thanks for the tutorial, is very very helpful.
Rebbe-Dragon Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2008
o:! Cooooool -- this is super useful and interesting!

Thank you for posting~
SapphiraHiro Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008
Your steampunk works are great, Budgie!

You should do more! In fact, I want to request one from you... owo

How much does it cost to get your holy artwork, again? x3
sambees Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2008
My commissions are currently closed (price list can be found in journal), but you can find more steampunk stuff in my sketchblog sometimes (link also in journal).
SapphiraHiro Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2008
Okie-Dokie Budgie! =D

Your line cleanup helped me a lot! I've been working on one of my friend's pieces, only I outlined it on photoshop. Can you tell me that you think of it so far?

Petals08 Featured By Owner Jul 31, 2008
Thanks for the tutorial. I'm a beginner to scanning drawings, and this helped a lot :)
Tower43 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2008
hey err, just one question, what kind of paper would you reckon drawing on with a normal HB pencil (for the sketching part)? and also what paper did you use on the tutorial above

tky =)
sambees Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008
I do everything that I'm not going to paint traditionally on standard printer paper (including all the ink and sketch work in all my tuts). Nothing special :)
Tower43 Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008
traditionally? you do that as well? geee, ur too good, I can't tell apart X_X, (cept for the watercolour ones)
poppiesnpistols Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2008
I dunno why, but I absolutely love the picture of this rogueish steampunk kid. Plus, the tutorial is helpful. Thanks for putting it up! :)
KCoopWorks Featured By Owner May 26, 2008  Hobbyist
ooo I never thought about inking it that way but it makes sense! Thank you for the little tutorial, great ideas and spiffy drawing
oddbydefault Featured By Owner Apr 16, 2008
wonderfuly useful!!
i had no idea how it was done, and now i do - thanks so much...
AgentWebdog Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008  Student Digital Artist
A tutorial without the pen tool? My kinda stuff! i gotta come back to this for refrence help!
Simple-Aesthetiks Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2008
I love how precise and to-the-point your tutorials are. C: It cuts through all the crap and gets down to what is REALLY important.

Having said that, I can't ink traditionally to save my life. >A<;; But this would be helpful for later practice, so thanks. C:
TheSimulacra Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
Informative walk through ^^
camilah Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2008
This looks so cool:)
ShiraHitsugaya Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
thnx thats helpful^^
kTrox1322 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
This is real helpful. Thanks for showing :]
anime-hime06 Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2008
i love the line process : D
and the guy looks hawt >///>
wasabi-pea Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2008

i've given up on inking digitally. i'm going to try to do it manually now >:
Genesis19 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice tutoral.
G-Mads Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008  Student Digital Artist
That style is sort of similar to mine XD
Rooncakes Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
that dodge tool trick for getting rid of grey is simply brilliant homiee, i copied and pasted that line onto Word and saved it so that i can remember xD thanks man, did you come up with that yourself? D: if you did = photoshop genius
zJoriz Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
To be honest, I like the soft pencil best. I am judging from a quick glance, so I may be totally wrong, but I assert anatomy is not your strongest point. In the first drawing this doesn't matter at all, it is overruled by the great style and natural shades.
Believe me, it looks brilliant and it tells a great story. Sample 2 and 3, although nicely detailed, give *ssholes like myself reason to whine about how it looks. Appearance suddenly became more important than the story.

I hope I'm followable 0_o
sambees Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
the next two are meant to stand on their own as pieces, they're not done and need to be coloured, you'll see I've added no texture, depth or even line variation, this is because it is an in between step and not a finished piece.
PhyreBornDragoon Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
:noes: btw i really like the progression of the drawing =D
resumae Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
Gah... I know what you mean, budgie. I couldn't digitally ink to save my life either. And it takes me 10x longer, too.

I always ink traditionally and sometimes it's nicer. You don't have to spend as much time burning out your retinas in front of a computer screen.
Shir-Olorna Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
Nice, but I think you use wacom to clean up, eh? XD
sambees Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
a mouse is easier to clean up with generally. At least for me.
Shir-Olorna Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
I don't know. It's very hard to clean up (without using pen) the image. I think using a tablet is a lil bit easier.
sambees Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
if using a tablet helps you then use a tablet.
Shir-Olorna Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
But I don't have one, that's the problem. I try to find helpful tutorial to make lineart xD
sambees Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
well if you don't have one it's pretty irrelevant, there's nothing here you need one for, it's not like there is any digital drawing involved.
Shir-Olorna Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
Oh, done by hand? I need to learn to ink in PS DX
Lavah Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008  Professional Digital Artist
this is very cool, ur inks are impecable o__o
matthesen Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
AnaZC Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
I like so much the details. It is a good lineart work.
HalfBloodOutcast Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
The first one is the coolest, so I have no idea why you would want to change it at all.
ZeLroy Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
hmmm i like part 2 best.
Cynicalgrl8 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2008
Ooh-- gonna favorite this so I can go back to it...
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