Brian Bolland…

Brian Bolland and Frazer Irving are all digital artists — meaning they pencil and ink on the computer (at least IIRC Frazer does). The amazing thing? Using the computer hasn’t had any major impact on their black and white styles. Which makes me think I should be moving to the computer … Anyway, Brian Bolland’s website (which is currently offline) used to have a fantastic tutorial on how he does it. Here’s a bit from the google cache which I need to keep…

Brian Bolland – Cover Gallery – Gotham Knights 37 – Step by Step

You might have spotted that I gave up the original inked face in despair, threw it away and started all over again. Here I’ve zoomed in to 200% and I’m using the pen tool to draw her cheek line. If you’re not familiar with the pen tool and how to draw curves, or Paths you’d better consult a manual. Basically you click and drag your courser and create anchor points with handles. Once you’ve got it roughly right you can Command-click on a point or a handle to adjust it or Option-click on a handle to move it independently of the handle sticking out the other side. Photoshop creates a smooth curve between each point. It was about a year before I was prepared to go near this tool but now I’m quicker at it I use it all the time. It does mean you can draw smooth flowing lines when you need to. Once you’ve established a curve you choose a tool, be it pencil, eraser or any of the others and by hitting Enter it will draw a line along the curve using that tool. It does other clever things as well but, as I said, you’d better take a look at the manual.

When you’re using the pen tool and then the Pencil tool to draw a line the line you’re given is of uniform thickness. I tend to move one or two of the anchor points to create a line that varies in thickness to make it look more as if I’m using a real pen or brush. Drawing smooth curved lines was always tricky back in the real world when I was using a brush so this is quite a handy tool.