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I have been wanting to do some inking experiments for a while and I thought well why not ink my studies, so I did. I did all these inks quick and rough because one of the experiments I wanted to try was to see how a more gestural inking worked out for me. I think they have some charming points, and I may be on to something, but I’m going to experiment a bit more before deciding on a direction to take my comic inking.

So, now the Manga Studio 5 blabber. MS5′s ink pen tools have changed quite a lot since 4, and I will give you a brief rundown of some of the changes as well as my impressions. First of all you can now chose to ink with an anti-aliased brush of varying degrees on a raster layer, so you aren’t regaled to using only the non anti-aliased brush if you are doing anything but vector. Secondly there are some new pen “tips” and perhaps a name change for others.

The G-pen is still here and like in 4 you can tinker with jitter control and the brush is designed to stroke in and stroke out according to the pressure you apply. It doesn’t auto stroke in and out anymore regardless of the pressure you apply. I started the experiments above using a small G-pen of 8.3. With that small of size it’s more difficult to get much variation, but it does make a really beautiful thin line that lends itself to contour line very well. Actually I really really like it, especially pared with a more contour style inking like on the boots of the girl in the first image. However I guess it’s not very “manga style” but whatever. A much larger G-pen of around a 21-23 point size will be large enough to give you more line variation, but to be honest I thought the Mapping pen even did a better job of that…well as far as my hand goes anyway.

So, the Mapping pen. It’s a “new” pen in MS5, but really I suspect it’s just a renamed Maru pen, because it acts very similar. As with the G-pen it also strokes in and out according to your pressure, so if you stroke out as a fat line, that’s what it’s going to be. At smaller sizes like 8.3 the mapping pen is a little too thin for my tastes, but if you up it to around 21-23, then you can get a lot of variation from super thin to thick. You can see it’s variation in the last image above. You can also see in the last image above how the Mapping pen, at least according to my hand and the amount of pressure I am used to applying, the Mapping pen has better line weight variation, whereas the G-pen of the same size has little to no variation. For me, I will probably be using the Mapping pen unless I want a thin contour line, then I’d go with a small G-pen.

The turnip pen is a new pen to MS5. I don’t have any samples of it’s ink because I don’t care for it. It works a lot like the marker tool in that there is no stroke in or stroke out, and it does not really respond to pressure. The only difference I can see between it and the marker tool is it seems a little more refined. If anyone else has any info they’d like to share about the turnip pen, you are welcome to comment below. :)

There is a calligraphy pen now, and again I didn’t do any tests with it because it’s more of a specialized pen and I wouldn’t use it for inking figures. Like other program’s calligraphy pens, it’s an offset oval shape that creates a varying width line depending on which direction you draw with it. It also does not respond to pen pressure near as I can tell and does not have a stroke in/stroke out function.

Next comes the “For Effects Pen”, this pen actually works exactly like the old MS4 inking pens. It responds to pen pressure and it has that auto stroke in stroke out thing that happens regardless of the amount of pressure you are applying at the beginning or end. If you miss MS4′s old tools, then this one is for you.

And lastly there is a new Textured Pen. It works a lot like the G-pen and Mapping pen except that it’s edges are roughed up for a sort of distressed look. Pen pressure is there and no auto stroke in/out.

Well that’s it for my thoughts on Manga Studio 5′s pen tools. I actually work in EX5, so I hope all those pens are there for the regular 5 version. ^^; If not let me know so I can edit this.