I'm back with Part II of my #inktober basics. Well, this post is a little less about the basics for beginners and more about expanding your horizons with inking tools. :D
I'll start from left to right:
(Incidentally, the nib holder on the right (D) is the one I received from Sakurazawa-sensei when she did a private workshop here in Hawaii -- it was brand new at the time. ^^;)
A: Watercolor Brushes: This is a synthetic Princeton Art & Brush Co. Round #0 I recently picked up at my local art shop. It's an OK brush so far, but not as snappy as my old Winsor & Newton Series 7 made from Kolinsky Sable.. which I accidentally messed up by cleaning it in alcohol. I planned to pick up a new Series 7 brush, but found out that the US has a ban on sable imports, which has dried up the brush market in both America & Canada. So I'm looking for an alternative.
Inking with brush is really an experience. It can be a terrible struggle if the brush is bad (see the paragraph below) but on the other hand, you really can't replicate the feel of inking with a brush. It's also higher maintenance as the ink we use can be corrosive to the brush hairs. So cleaning is essential!
When looking for a brush, make sure the hairs are all in place and none are sticking up or out. Most art shops will provide you with water to test the point. Good brushes will hold their point with water and not splay out or split when you press it to paper to create a line. Considering a sable watercolor brush at size 0 or 2 will typically cost you a good $20 each, you'll want to make sure the one you buy isn't a dud.
The following are nibs and they come in 3 main Japanese brands: Nikko, Zebra, and Tachikawa. (There are other brands like Kuretake and Deleter too.) The make is the same, but there is a very slight difference in flex between brands. I personally find the Nikko and Zebras to be "softer" which allows more flexibility in the nib with moderate pressure. I like the stiffness of the Tachikawas as I tend to press harder when I'm tired. You can find most of these at Jetpens, so try them out for yourself! ♥
On to the main types:
B: The Maru. This is also known as the Round or Mapping nib (also, Hunts 103) These are stiff nibs and produce very fine lines, They can be rather scratchy and sometimes need to be broken in by drawing practice lines. Many use these for fine details like lashes, hair, and even crosshatching as there's little flex. It requires a smaller pen holder.
Note: There is also the Hunts 102, which looks similar to the Maru, but is built as an ultra flexible variation. It's very popular with western comic artists/cartoonists.
C: The G-Pen. This is the Japanese standard for manga artists. It's the most flexible of nibs, so folks use it for just about everything. Press hard and you can get a brush-like look and line variation. Touch lightly and you can get micro-liner fine lines. There are a couple variations on this nib - the School and Japanese model (日本字) - which I find are less flexible.
You can see them in use by some of the masters in Urasawa's ManBen series:
ManBen: Inio Asano (Oyasumi PunPun, DeDeDe, Solanin)
ManBen: Akiko Higashiyama (Princess Jellyfish)
ManBen: Urasawa, Kaiji Kawaguchi, Kazumi Yamashita
D: The Saji. Sometimes called the Spoon, Globe, or Tama, this is similar to the G-pen, but much stiffer and creates slightly thicker, uniform lines. Some use it for outlines and borders. It's a matter of preference. If you press hard and but would like to maintain control over your lines, these are a nice option. I tend to use these when I ink mechanical things.
Jetpens has a great primer for nibs and maintenance at their blog. They've already done the work and they have a large selection of nibs and holders to choose from as well. :D
And that's it for the basic tools! I'll be following up tomorrow with Part III: Inks!