This article is in development and currently an unfinished draft. 🙂

In this tutorial we will go over some basics with hand drawn line work created with pen and ink. Then options on how to work with line inside of photoshop once we have image scanned.

Illustration: Travis Foster, Pen and Ink, digital color, closed shapes.

The above illustration was created with a fundamental process. It’s an efficient style and I enjoy the simplicity, flexibility and I’m usually happy with the results.

I typically start with a rough sketch drawn in ball point pen and then I trace over the rough sketch on a separate piece of paper and create a tighter drawing using the light table and working with a Sharpie fine point pen. I scan the image into photoshop at 600 dpi and then use the unsharp mask set at 32.

Travis Foster, black and white, pen and ink, sharpie fine point.

Once you have the line work in, it’s important to learn to work in layers and create shapes under the black line in order to quickly fill in the colors and or easily modify and change color shapes.

Another benefit of working with a nice strong line is you have the option of changing the color of the line when working in photoshop. Here I have decided to modify the black pen line and change to a blue line.

Travis Foster, pen and ink, line work changed to blue within photoshop.

Another great option when you are thinking about creating a strong image, is limited palette. In the illustration below, I have limited myself to black, green and white. Three colors. You can also choose a five color palette or a seven color limited palette. Restricting your color choices unifies the illustration and gives it a strong and quick read.

Travis Foster is a freelance illustrator, illustration agent, cartoonist, husband and dad to four. Travis Foster Reps and Cartoon Zoo are both based in Nashville.