hmmm, that top one is very similar to the brush I use for sketching, and my sketches are usually very messy, pic related. It also makes the lines look like shit when I add color cause you can see the color behind the line due to the opacity.
As for the inking stuff, I already do questions like that and I agree, you learn stuff quick, I did it for some anatomy studies. tracing though, I feel like I should be figuring out how what I'm tracing was constructed as well, while also figure out how certain lines look like that. Whenever I trace something I come with the mindset of it being like reverse engineering, and I'll try to replicate the drawing, with construction, but without tracing it.