I'm always tinkering with the way I work to see if I can do better. Working purely digitally has vastly improved the finished standard of my comics, as I was never a great draughtsman and my composition was weak when I started working that way. But there are downsides to it - I have no originals to sell (an important part of many cartoonists' income), and I have to rely on a lot of expensive equipment. The trade-offs are worth it in terms of time saved and the knowledge that errors made in ink aren't fatal (the latter took a lot of stiffness out of how I draw, on or off the computer).
But I thought I'd have a go at inking some of my Manga Studio "pencils" traditionally and the results were very interesting!
I made a "blueline" out of my Manga studio page and printed it out at A3 portrait size (about 29cm high). I probably made it a bit pale, which created a few extra problems.
I had a go at inking with a Sailor variable-width nib fountain pen and a 0.3 graphic pen.
Now, bearing in mind that I had printed the panels out at twice the height and width I used to draw them at in the old pen and ink days; it was very hard to achieve the accuracy and detail I get on the Cintiq, and I mangled a lot of details on the first page I tried. The page was full of tiny figures that I suppose I have become very used to zooming in on to ink on-screen. I had no idea. I'm not sure that I could have accurately finished their features with a pin, let alone a pen.
I pretty much got to grips with this panel, but I was very aware as I worked on it that I couldn't really do any decision-making as I inked, something I've got very used to. It's not like I spend my time deleting a lot of things and re-doing them (inks only take me about an hour) but I really felt like I was missing things as I went around. Probably because I could barely see what I was doing.
This is the original panel as-was. If you compare this to the pencils and my quick inked version, you can see how much of the final brain-work is done in this stage.
Neither of these techniques is a panacea. I enjoy the level of precise-ness I can achieve with the computer, but I can never achieve the spontaneous, exciting shapes I can get with ease using traditional means. All those precise tiny lines come after I do the hard work of composition with a pencil and paper in thumbnails. It's just a style that does a job on the sort of comics I do. If I'm trying to make a point here, it's that once you've mastered the basics, just do whatever works best. But try to keep your hand in with everything.