Videos Start Today - Cartoon Inking in Adobe Illustrator

Thanks to the great response on my last couple of "process" posts, I have uploaded the tutorial videos, and here they are:
#1 - Setting Up and Importing Images
Click on image - video will open in new window

#2 - Palette Options and settings
SpongeBob_inking_tutorial_ Palette Options and settings
Click on image - video will open in new window
These are Large Videos intended for Fast Internet Connections. If you have trouble viewing them, or if your connection is slow, there are smaller versions of these videos at the end of the post.
These two videos cover the basic steps of opening an illustrator file, saving and renaming a file, and importing a pencil drawing into the Illustrator document for tracing.
layers palette adobe illustrator tutorial video
Since Adobe Illustrator can be a pretty scary program to newcomers, the first couple of videos start from the very beginning and show exactly how I set up the new document and which options I use whenever I create a cartoon illustration.
If you already have experience using Adobe Illustrator, then today's videos may be a bit basic. I can promise you that in the next couple of days, the videos will be heading into much more advanced territory. I've been struggling with the question of how to pace these tutorials... I'd like to cover everything thoroughly, but I don't want it to be too slow.
selection tool adobe illustrator tutorial video
I recorded all of these videos in real time while I was creating the SpongeBob cover illustration for this month's Nick Magazine. In the editing process, I have trimmed down all the downtime moments and most of the "um"s and "ah"s (but not all of them). I also used some fancy technology to zoom in closely on anything that's really important to see.
So in a time when "speed painting" videos proliferate on the Internet, I have chosen the slow and steady approach instead. It's the kind of thing I wish I had when I was starting to use Adobe Illustrator, especially since the books on that topic don't even begin to cover how to use Adobe Illustrator for freehand inking or cartooning.
fit image to screen adobe illustrator tutorial video

I created a special template that I use for all my Adobe Illustrator projects. I used this template in the video demonstration, and I'm giving it to you for downloading so that you can follow along if you'd like. The way Illustrator templates work, all of the custom brushes and graphic styles are embedded into the you will get to use all of the custom inking brushes I have created and used over the years. You can find and download the free Inking Template at:
You don't need to follow along in Adobe Illustrator to get a lot out of these videos -- sometimes just looking at somebody else's process can give you a lot of tips.
The next video in the series will be about how to use the freehand brush tool to create real hand-drawn inking in Adobe Illustrator. I will also show you how to create new custom brushes, and how to use the custom brushes that are already included in the downloadable template.
As promised, here are smaller videos for slower bandwidth. Please let me know how the videos are playing on your'll help me prepare better videos in the future!
Here are smaller versions of the videos if you're having trouble viewing the larger videos:

Next video: BRUSHES!
In case you missed them,
here is the COMPLETE list of all eleven
Adobe Illustrator
Cartoon Inking tutorial videos:
...and of course the completed Nick Mag cover art is at:
SpongeBob and Patrick Blowing Bubble Gum Nick Magazine Cover art by Sherm Cohen


FrankenBarry said...

Thanks for posting this series, Sherm! I'm really enjoying seeing the steps to your creative process. Cool production art, and an awesome finished illustration! Looking forward to the next post.

Julián Höek said...

hey sherm! thanks for the videos!!
i think the idea for this tutorial is great, specially about not having those speed cams so i can be able to see how long does it take you to make things like a line, were do you do a fast stroke and where you will take more time to do a thin and think ink for example. there are a lot of videos about illustration, concep art or comics but i haven't see about pure cartoon fun, hooray for that!
this videos must be taking a lot of your time and we sure apreciate them!
keep the coming!

Sherm said...

FrankenBarry -- thanks for the feedback! I'll keep them coming as long as you're watching ^_^

Hi Julian -- I'm glad to know I made the right choice about not going the "speed" route!

Chris Houghton said...

Awesome Sherm- thanks for sharing! I know this must be a lot of work to put together the videos. Can't wait to see your inking and painting process!

Anonymous said...

Hey Sherm! Great stuff. I've never really used Illustrator with a Cintiq before. I had no idea it had such dynamic brushes. Ill have to try it out! Thanks for all your hard work. It's greatly appreciated!

Sherm said...

@ Chris -- thanks! There's a new one today, too!

Sunil -- Man, you just made my day! Comments like yours remind me of why I'm doing this series. You just gave me a shot in the arm to keep pressing on!

P.S. - Say HI to all the other bees in the hive ^_^

Ljiljana Belavic Klicek said...

These are some awesome video series that I've seen in long time! They are very educational for young artists as me. Many many thanks!

Jim said...

This is a great series of videos. Thank you for putting them out there. I've been stumbling along with Illustrator for years and I've never known you could do freehand drawing like this. I was always doing it the hard way by moving bezier curves around.

This is VERY useful stuff.

Sherm said...

Hi just gave me the best comment ever. That's the whole reason I put the videos together, and I'm so happy you let me know how they were helpful to you!

Errol Burke said...

These videos of your method are terrific! I had just about given up on trying to learn Illustrator... so stogy and complex, you're correct when you say nobody really demonstrates how to use the program in a loose freehand manner. Everything I did previously looked super tight and mechanical. Thanks for sharing a way to make working in "Illy" fun. Your generosity is much appreciated.

p.s. I use an Intuos tablet, but having a Cintiq must improve the experience one hundredfold.