Bonjour ! Let’s see how we can train our inking skills to be ready for inktober 2019 !

What ? Doing homework before Inktober ? What is that !

You probably reading this.

You will see, I just want to help you start Inktober in the best condition possible. And Getting in the best condition is knowing your tools before Inktober starts. So I invite you to do a few simple exercises to train your hand before Inktober. This way you will be able to do the best art possible. I will be doing these exercises too. It can help me get the best of my art.

These advises are if you want to take Inktober as a challenge to better yourself. Of course you can take Inktober as a fun and chill game, and it is absolutely fine too ! Everyone eperience Inktober differently. This year I have decided to take it as a challenge. I will create 31 great ink illustrations that I will be proud to show together.

First of all : this exercise is good for everyone who want to learn inking, learn to use a paintbrush but also to those who want to learn how to ink on the computer !

All tools are good to ink and let’s all improve our skills !

If you’ve missed it here is the article where I talk about what tool to use for inktober.

It’s time ! Grab your Inktober pens and tools and follow along :

1/ Train to draw lines with ink.

drawing lines with ink to train for inktober

The first exercise is to draw lines. Make two points and try to link them with your pen/brush . Go over this line 7 times and try to do the thinnest line possible.

NO RULERS ALLOWED ! It’s against the whole purpose of the exercise.

Tips : Breathe and don’t go too fast ! It’s all about being focused.

2/ Train to draw circles and Ellipses.

Now you have some lines, draw in-between your lines, circles and ellipses. See my exemple picture to see what I mean. Here too it requires a bit of focus. And we all know circles are one of the hardest thing to do by hand. Don’t get discouraged and always take your time.

Tips : Try doing your circle slightly above the paper, without touching it at first to test your movement. Then ink.

3/ Doing curves.

Now this inking exercise is much like the 1/ except instead of 2 points to make a line : place 3 or 4 points and link the points with your pen. It will create a curve. Then go over it 7 times to train your hand.

Tips : Try to look in advance with you eyes where your hand needs to go.

inking exercises to be better for inktober
How my inking training page looks like in the end.

4/ Playing with the weight of your tool for inking.

This exercise is only if you are using a tool that can be variable like a paint brush, a computer brush or a dip pen. So I’ll take the exemple of a paint brush. It is what I will be using to ink some of my artworks for Inktober.

The exercise change slightly for tools using weight. But the “1/Train to draw lines with ink” doesn’t change since you want to do the most homogeneous line possible. Meaning a line with the same thickness from beginning to end.

For the “2/Train to draw circles and Ellipses” try doing your circle like this : thin when you go up, thick when you go down.

learning how to use a brush pen with ink
“Thin when going up, Thick when going down” here goes the inking song.

Also you can add one exercise : between two lines do a series of waves, thin when you go up, thick when you go down. This exercise is also often used to train for calligraphy and is not so easy to master. But I know you can do it ! If I managed to do it, so do you !

This is no simple exercises but you will learn how to master your brush, dip pen or any tool of varying weight !

train your inking get ready for Inktober
This is how you train your inking skills and get ready for Inktober!

Why should I train at inking ?

What should you train your inking and get ready for Inktober ? To do better art of course ! Isn’t it all what Inktober is about? (and the fun too …)

Also because these exercises forces you to use your hand in a precise way. And to get used to go over your line (for exemple your sketch) in a more accurate way. If you often think you sketch is better than your inked drawing. These exercises are made for you !

inktober preparation sketch in the skethbook
A few inking sketches I did after the exercises.

Of course I’m far from mastering my tools perfectly ! But I am planning on doing these exercises during this last week so I can feel more confident about my lines. If you do these a lot you will create what is called “muscle memory”. It means that these movements will be carved into your hand’s muscle memory ( just like “I must not tell lie” in Harry’s hand in The order of the Phoenix but without the pain…). It will be easier and easier to ink with time.

These exercise actually doesn’t come from me. It’s part of a bigger lesson called “Dynamic Sketching ” by Peter Han. You can find the video of introduction here and it is over all very good advice to get better at drawing.

Thank you for reading this article !

I hope it helped you improve your inking and have a better confidence in yourself.

So are you ready for Inktober now ?! I’m not so… I’ll go training at inking some more !

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