When I’m finished fiddling with the original sketch it’s time for ink. This one was done in black medium point biro.
I’m sure everyone has their own opinion about inking in a drawing. Should it be the last thing to be done? Should it be the first step after sketching something out? I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way, a right time or a wrong time for it to be done. For me it very much depends on what I’m going to be doing with the rest of the drawing. For example, if I’m going to be using a lot of colour pencil, and the drawing is on a particularly rough piece of paper then I may very well ink in at the end as the colour often ends up obscuring any lines that you’ve made previously. The same goes for certain paint media too, gouache in particular. Sometimes this timing depends on what I’m using to create the outlines in the first place, for instance is the ink waterproof or not, or is some of the line work so fine that it will be all too easy to obscure with what comes next. If I’m thinking of using any magic markers or similar spirit based media I’ll ink up first in a water based ink as spirit markers can make a lovely mess of a biro line and you end up with black smudging all over the finished piece. Similarly, if I’m of a mind to use a light watercolour or colour ink wash then I may very well ink up last as again the liquids can dissolve the outline and leave a messy result which you can’t fix later.
I’ll often use this stage of the process to add little extra details. This is again a result of coming back to an image after a break and seeing things differently. As with many aspects of drawing and creating images like this, the secret, if there is one to learn, is knowing when to stop. This is also sometimes a good time for filling any areas which you know are going to be solid black in the final piece, though having said that, if the drawing is going to be in full colour quite often black is never truly black. Again it’s a choice to be made before moving on to the next stage.