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April 10, 2008
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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]
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HiddenWorlds 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.
Glad to hear it!
poolstudios May 4, 2012  Professional Artist
Thank you so much! This has helped me immensely!
MoonBlade92 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 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!
So is the second stage for this inked and no erasing for the blue lines?
Ayalah May 15, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Worked perfectly, thank you!
UraHameshi Feb 5, 2009  Student Interface Designer
Awesome! Thanks a lot for this ^-^
Suinaliath Jan 14, 2009  Professional Photographer
You just made my life so much easier.
I would have your babies for this <3
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