Thick and thin lines in ToonBoom

Hey Boomers,

I’m new to ToonBoom and would like to know how can I clean up my animation roughs with ink like thick/thin lines. Is there a setup I need to do in the program? Some hidden icon I didn’t push?

Thank you,


One of the often asked questions in forums about 2D animation pertains to line quality in drawings. Now it is important to distinguish between the lines in your initial animation work and the “inked lines” of your cleaned up finals. You shouldn’t be overly focused on line quality (thicks and thins) when you are roughing out your animations, line quality presentation is part of the inking phase not the rough animating phase.

Once you have your animation drawn the way you want it, then you can do the clean up and inking usually on a separate cell in a separate drawing element in TBS. Be sure to toggle the auto light table “on” to allow you to see through cells in Drawing mode.

If line quality, thick and thin lines to add depth and show volume and weight are important to you, then you want to ink with the brush tool, using a tablet with pressure and tilt sensitivity turned on. In TBS you also want to set up your selected pen on the Pens panel to have a range of maximum to minimum of at least 8-12 pixels. I usually work with my “inking” pen at 1 minimum and 12 maximum and smoothing set at 3. But I suggest that you experiment with these setting until you find what works best for your own style. Maximum and minimum are used to adjust the upper and lower flow of ink as controlled by the sensitivity setting for your tablet.

But here is the often missed trick to doing great thick and thin inked lines in the digital world. Don’t expect to make the line in a single pass or stroke of the brush tool. Line thickness is built up by making multiple passes and letting the brush tool build thickness on top of your previous strokes. In TBS, when you are in Draw Top Layer mode, each brush stroke of the same color merges into the same color strokes below as they touch each other, which allows you to build up your strokes and make great thicks and thins. This technique is fast and with a bit of practice you will swear it is like using real ink. In TBS you want to be sure you have the Tools>Draw Top Layer toggled “on” for inking. When you ink your clean ups, focus on your Wacom pen as if you were applying real liquid ink with a fine brush and paint on the thicks and thins with several passes over the line. -JK

Thanks for the help JK!