Nitty gritty

Been squeezing in some true grit texture supply brush tests from their free sampler. I’ve had this seriously generous collection of goodies resting in my inbox for a while, glad I finally imported ’em.

Heres some of my favs so far:

  • Rusty Nib
  • Crispy inker
  • Dry brush inker

Something just kind of clicked with the rusty nib brush especially, love the line variation and the rough paper feel. Might be my new favourite inker… just don’t tell real g pen.


Is it good? Is it fun? I’ve been asking myself this lately when I’m drawing in my wee Royal & Langnickel sketchbook. Seems obvious but sometimes you forget y’know, drawing should be fun …otherwise, why bother? Anyway these were fun, not necessarily good but I’m enjoying sketching again… and colouring with Frenden brushes in CSP is always a blast.

Marsh man

I’ve been itchin’ to ink over some more blue line work since writing my Blue no more post back in April. I sketched up a quick marsh man in Clip Studio Paint and converted the line art to Cyan.

I printed it onto an A5 sheet of cold pressed watercolour paper (200gsm) and inked with a Pentel brush pen, Uni Pin fineliners and a Posca paint marker for highlights.

I got to work on this around 2pm and completed it in chunks throughout the day, approx. 2 hours altogether including quick colours in Procreate.

Overall, I really enjoyed inking over this blue line piece, there’s a freedom to it, knowing that you could just print off another page if you messed up the inks and start again without losing your original drawing.

I’m disappointed with the brayer texture and will probably need to look at using another ink next time or practice with the roller on different paper. The masking tape also damaged the page in places so I might use masking fluid or cut out a stencil overlay on any future attempts.

The Posca marker worked really well on solid black ink but tended to mix with the brayer texture and grey wash. It’s really difficult to get a good all-round consistent line with whiteout pens like this but it’s also entirely possible that I just didn’t allow enough time for the inks and wash to dry.

I pretty much gave up on the clip studio workflow to remove the blue lines after scanning, the results looked a little faded/grey and the background wash was lost entirely after edits. The technique seems to work best on clean line art only. It’ll probably need tweaked or approached from a different angle for washes/texture. One solution would be to scan the line art and then add washes/texture using digital brushes. Alternatively, washes and textures could be scanned from separate lightboxed pages and added as multiply layers.

Magic brush

I snapped some quick photos of my sketchbook to try out some Frenden brushes in CSP. I’ve been getting increasingly bored with digital drawing lately (just feels like a slog) but colouring on the iPad is still fun.

The search continues for my go-to textured colouring brush, y’know… the magic brush. I feel like I’ve come close to it on a few things over the years but I colour so infrequently that I can never quite remember the ones I’ve used or the combinations that have worked… I’m old.

Cha Cha Cha

Sketched the Finnish rapper and singer Käärijä in procreate after he melted the stage at the Eurovision semifinals, not a great likeness but I had fun.

I attempted #draweurovision but it’s pretty relentless, I only managed quick pencil sketches of a handful of artists, I’ve no idea how the brilliant Dan Berry manages to draw everyone and add watercolours every year.

A few more sketches of the awesome Käärijä.

Sketches 2022

I’ve put together an 18 page collection of sketches from the last two years, check it out below or download the free pdf.

Darren-Reynolds-2022.pdf (approx 7.8 MB)

April 2023

Finished a page that I started last year to test a gel pen brush in CSP, it’s not bad, just felt like penciling for a bit too.

A fun wee spread from my A5 sketchbook, I flatted it really quickly in CSP with the intention of trying out some colouring techniques sometime.

Alien Day 2023

Couple of days late but why break tradition? Happy Alien daaaay! Party like it’s 2122!

Blue no more

Inspired by Russell Mark Olson’s Patreon I’ve been wanting to get back to drawing with ink again, specifically inking traditionally over blue line or non-photo blue on bristol board.

Alongside other work, Russell produces a page each week for Gateway City starting with pencil layouts before progressing to digital pencils that he prints as non-photo blue for inking.

Despite owning a large A3 printer I’ve never tried printing blue line comic pages. I’ve inked over non-photo blue pencil in the past but I haven’t looked seriously at a specific workflow for removing blue lines digitally from traditional inks.

I’m pretty sure Russell uses Photoshop to remove the blue line in his pages prior to colouring and I figured I’d be able to do something similar in Affinity Photo. There’s probably a macro or an obvious technique but I immediately hit a wall trying to achieve this.

I mostly use Clip Studio Paint these days and looked at it instead. Similarly, it’s not obvious how to remove blue line in CSP but I did find some basic tutorials on Pinterest/tumblr and also this helpful quick tips video from Celsys and Scott Drummond.

It’s prob not as efficient as the workflow in Photoshop but once I record it as an auto action I should hopefully save time on future pages.

I’ve been studying a page from Jeremiah by Hermann and thought it’d be useful to try the scanning prep quick tip on it and outline the steps here on the blog.

Remove blue line from comic pages using Clip Studio Paint

I scanned the inks at 300 dpi and saved as .tiff file to the desktop

1. Import scan/image to CSP

  • File>Open
  • Layer>Duplicate Layer

2. Tone Curve

  • Edit>Tonal Correction>Tone Curve
  • Change RGB to Red
  • Adjust the left handle to 255
  • Click OK
  • Edit>Tonal Correction>Tone Curve
  • Change RGB to Green
  • Adjust the left handle to 255
  • Click OK

3. Hue/Saturation/Luminosity

  • Edit>Tonal Correction>Hue/Saturation/Luminosity
  • Adjust Saturation to -100% (the black looks extremely faded at this stage)

4. Level Correction

  • Edit>Tonal Correction>Level Correction
  • Adjust the sliders

5. Remove Dust

Although it’s not mentioned in the video, another great feature in Clip Studio Paint is the remove dust filter. There were a few small artifacts left over from the non photo blue and this removed them outright. Just adjust the dust size to eliminate any dirt, pencils, etc.

  • Edit>Convert brightness to opacity
  • Filter>Correction>Remove dust

Pretty happy with the final result on this but it’ll be interesting to see how these steps affect dry brush, ink washes, etc.

If you’ve any other suggestions for removing blue line or some CSP tips I’d love to hear ’em.


I lucked upon a yellowed copy of Jeremiah this week in a local Oxfam stuck between a bunch of back issues that were probably donated by the FPI across the street. Published by Adventure comics (a division of Malibu Graphics) in the early 90s the book has a peculiar format but the art is unbelievably good.

The Belgian artist Hermann Huppen (better known as Hermann) is new to me but his work has clearly had a big impact and influence.

There’s not much available online about Hermann’s process or tools but I gleaned a few things from this video watching his effortless line and mastery with a brush, just incredible.