The Inking Stage
Inking is the step that will produce the final image. Learning to ink well is crucial to producing a good cartoon. Whether you're using a pen, a brush, or a marker, there are some general rules that apply to good inking.
Unless you are working in a very mechanical style in which all of the lines will be uniform and consistent, you can vary the thickness of your lines to achieve several useful effects. One good inking effect is to try to indicate light and shadow by varying the thickness of the lines. Lines should get a little heavier when they are describing a part of a shape that lies away from the light source. Lines that are facing the light source should be thinner. This resulting look lends an illusion of depth to the illustration.
Another way to use line quality to give your drawing more depth is to ink background items in thinner lines than the foreground items. This is a great way to maintain some visual order in a very detailed illustration. If you choose to adopt this practice, be careful not to let the outline overpower the shape it describes.
Notice how varying the thickness of the lines separates the foreground from the background.
If you make an inking mistake, resist the urge to use typographic correction fluid or similar products. Use opaque white ink. It will cover the error completely and leave a smooth surface suitable for reinking.
Most importantly, your inking should be clear and concise. You're aiming for an end result in which the reader will readily discern the action displayed. Breathe deeply, sit up straight, and relax. Your strokes should be long and firm. Short, choppy strokes don't translate well in print. A confident attitude exuded by strong lines will make humor more funny and action more exciting.
Smudging is the most common obstacle to good inking. Right-handers should start at the upper left-hand corner of an illustration and ink down and to the right — letting the ink dry away from their hand as they go. If you're a lefty, reverse the process. A small sheet of clean paper under your drawing hand will also help keep your inking clean.