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Learning To Draw With Pen & Ink


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569 replies to this topic

#1 daniellem

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 20:51

I have always admired pen and ink drawings, but previous attempts to learn the skill with dip pens and ink never went very far. I've recently decided to try again, but this time with fountain pens instead of dip pens, and I'm really enjoying myself! I'm not yet confident enough to make my own original drawings as I feel like I need to learn much more and get in a lot of practice first. I have a few of Frank Lohan's fantastic books and thought the exercises in them would be a great way to both learn and get the practice in.

I thought it might be fun to start a thread here for any like minded people that want to learn this medium as a group, and maybe share tips and tricks and talk about materials along the way -- anyone care to join me?

Here's my most recent exercise -- Demonstration 1 "The Barn Door" from Frank Lohan's "Step by Step Pen & Ink Sketching". Pens used were a Pilot Metal Falcon with Extra-Fine nib (my new birthday present!), a Noodler's Konrad flex pen, and a Pentel brush pen for the densest black areas. I was having trouble with the fine nib ripping up the paper with too much crosshatching for the darks -- need to figure out how to get around that but for now the brush pen is a workaround. Inks were Noodler's Black Eel (Falcon) and Platinum Carbon Black (Konrad). Done in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon notebook.

Lots of mistakes in this one but I learned a ton doing it, and had a lot of fun with it which is the whole point, really!

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#2 bitterwonder

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 23:35

Just keep drawing. As Renoir said " not a day without a line". Use the paper you have but do not be afraid to try others. Look at Durer, Raphael, Rembrandt , VanGogh, you are learning language and it is good to look at how others use language.
I would suggest to someday try a wider nib, you can turn your nibs to get different width. I generally use a broad or music nib, which i love working with.
Keep drawing.
The bush pen is a terrific tool too.

#3 ethernautrix

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 23:54

That is a fantastic start! Way better than my beginning (in which I am still). :-)

Wow. Seriously, that's really good.

Hmm... Frank Lohan you say. I'll have to check him out.

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#4 daniellem

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:10

Just keep drawing. As Renoir said " not a day without a line". Use the paper you have but do not be afraid to try others. Look at Durer, Raphael, Rembrandt , VanGogh, you are learning language and it is good to look at how others use language.


That is a great quote! I'll have to make it my mantra... What you say about looking at the others to learn the language is a lot like what Bert Dodson talks about in "Keys to Drawing" -- great advice at that! There is so much to learn...

Edited by daniellem, 28 March 2013 - 06:20.


#5 daniellem

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 06:19

That is a fantastic start! Way better than my beginning (in which I am still). :-)

Wow. Seriously, that's really good.

Hmm... Frank Lohan you say. I'll have to check him out.


Thank you for the kind encouragement! I figure there's a long road ahead but I'm in no hurry. Lohan's books are great because he takes you through many examples step by step, which helps as sometimes the end result looks so complicated that I wouldn't know where to start. The steps are informative but not rigid so it gives you space to breathe and figure out your own style as you go along.

#6 subramaniyam

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 07:59

Your drawing is very nice. If I may make a suggestion, you can hold your pen at an angle of 45 to 60 degrees to the paper and try crosshatching. Do not apply a lot of pressure on the pen. You can get good lines without scratching the paper. Keep posting!! :-)

Regards,
Subramaniyam

#7 TMLee

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 08:17

That's actually very well done :thumbup:

Just keep sketching .... It'll become more and more 'second nature' to you.

See if you can find smoother (less textured) paper , it may help in the aspect of cross hatching , etc
And as mentioned above, don't need to press hard.

I find the metal Falcon (Elabo) rather heavy to use , especially over a prolonged period of sketching.

I also prefer easy flowing inks to thick ones , it kinda helps in the sketching experience.

So far, I am pretty happy with Noodlers Black , good flow and more importantly , waterfast, in case I want to add a tinge of colour here or there.

YMMV

:D

Thanks for posting. ... So that others may be encouraged to try too... :)

#8 daniellem

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Posted 28 March 2013 - 19:48

Thank you Subramaniyam -- it is actually your Hero 395 thread that inspired me to give this a go once more!

I will most certainly give yours and TMLee's suggestions a go in the next exercise that I work on. I do think that the sharp tip on that SEF Falcon is not well suited for crosshatching dark areas, and will pull one of my M or B nibs out the next time I need to do that.

#9 subramaniyam

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Posted 29 March 2013 - 03:48

Thank you Subramaniyam -- it is actually your Hero 395 thread that inspired me to give this a go once more!

I will most certainly give yours and TMLee's suggestions a go in the next exercise that I work on. I do think that the sharp tip on that SEF Falcon is not well suited for crosshatching dark areas, and will pull one of my M or B nibs out the next time I need to do that.


hello Danielle,

I am glad that you liked the thread. If you notice, I have now moved to a combination of washes and line art. I'd love to see more of your artistic pursuits so keep posting!! :-)

Thanks and regards,
Subramaniyam

#10 camoandconcrete

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 01:37

Thats a great looking drawing; like others said keep practicing and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll progress.
Here is a quick one made recently of the Nashville Public Library; this was tricky for me due to the center massing between a full story taller with its pedimented roof. My perspective is off in a couple of places (its hard drawing perspective in public areas with people constantly looking over one's shoulder)
It was drawn on Stillman & Birn Beta series paper which I love. The pen was a Platinum 3776 with a UEF. I'm currently looking at treating myself to a Nakaya Dorsal Fin with either a UEF nib or F nib with full flex so that it is more versatile for writing as well.
Posted Image

Edited by MiamiArchStudent, 31 March 2013 - 01:38.

What I'm looking for: Montblanc 132, 235, 422 and 432. Any help would be most appreciated.

#11 Sketchy

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 05:26

Daniellem, you are off to a great start! It amazes me how many different techniques one can get from a fountain pen. I often sketch with a fountain pen and then give areas a light water color wash. Lately I've been drawing with fountain pen ink and then taking a water brush to it and pushing the ink around. After the paper dries I'll go back in with the fountain pen to clean up a few hard lines. This is Noodler's Dark Matter, which seems to keep its hue well. It's really fun with inks that become an unexpected color with water.

image.jpg
Fred

#12 subramaniyam

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:08

Daniellem, you are off to a great start! It amazes me how many different techniques one can get from a fountain pen. I often sketch with a fountain pen and then give areas a light water color wash. Lately I've been drawing with fountain pen ink and then taking a water brush to it and pushing the ink around. After the paper dries I'll go back in with the fountain pen to clean up a few hard lines. This is Noodler's Dark Matter, which seems to keep its hue well. It's really fun with inks that become an unexpected color with water.


Lovely drawing, Sketchy. Saw your other sketches on your Flickr pool. Thhey're amazing!! Please do post more. :-)

Regards,
Subramaniyam

#13 daniellem

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:16

Thats a great looking drawing; like others said keep practicing and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll progress.
Here is a quick one made recently of the Nashville Public Library; this was tricky for me due to the center massing between a full story taller with its pedimented roof. My perspective is off in a couple of places (its hard drawing perspective in public areas with people constantly looking over one's shoulder)
It was drawn on Stillman & Birn Beta series paper which I love. The pen was a Platinum 3776 with a UEF. I'm currently looking at treating myself to a Nakaya Dorsal Fin with either a UEF nib or F nib with full flex so that it is more versatile for writing as well.
Posted Image


This is a fantastic sketch - I do not yet have the confidence to go out and sketch in public, and really admire folks like yourself who can draw like this under pressure! :happyberet:
Glad to hear you have a Nakaya in your future -- that is definitely one of my "grail" pens! Someday...

What is a "UEF" nib?

Edited by daniellem, 31 March 2013 - 06:17.


#14 daniellem

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 06:23

image.jpg


Oh, this is lovely. Such an ethereal and atmospheric effect. After seeing this, and the ones Subramaniyam has posted using the same technique, I will most certainly be trying this out. Do you find that you have to work very quickly before the ink has a chance to set, or will the color wash just as well after some time has passed? I guess what I'm wondering is if you have to switch between the actual drawing, and pushing the ink around, throughout the process, or can you complete the entire drawing first and then bring the brush in to soften everything up and move the ink around?

#15 camoandconcrete

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Posted 31 March 2013 - 18:46

Platinum calls the UEF nib their ultra extra fine, while Nakaya calls their version of the UEF the SEF or Super Extra Fine. I really enjoy using these extreme fine points for drawing, though, a lot of the time I enjoy using Microns with very fine tips.
What I'm looking for: Montblanc 132, 235, 422 and 432. Any help would be most appreciated.

#16 linearM

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 00:20

It is great having another sketcher in the mix. The best thing to do is just draw. Don't be afraid to go on your own and sketch what you see out there. Try different line combinations and different ways to create textures. Challenge yourself but make certain you enjoy yourself.

I use a Noodler's pen with Noodler's Kiowa Pecan ink. It gives sort of a warm feeling to the drawings, not quite as stark as black can be. Often the paper I use is Strathmore's Toned Tan paper. I use the tone of the paper as my midtone, the brown ink gives me the darks, and I use a white pencil to work in the highlights. You seem to like achieving different lines. One pen I could suggest is Hero's M86 calligraphy pen. It has a fude style nib (bent nib) and as you change the angle of the pen in relation to the paper surface the line changes, from quite fine to almost like working with a wide marker. Isellpens.com has them for $10.00, so you wouldn't be breaking the bank to try one. There are other pens out there with the same style nib, but I enjoyed the one I used for drawing.

Good luck and happy drawing.

#17 Sailor Kenshin

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 00:29

I have always admired pen and ink drawings, but previous attempts to learn the skill with dip pens and ink never went very far. I've recently decided to try again, but this time with fountain pens instead of dip pens, and I'm really enjoying myself! I'm not yet confident enough to make my own original drawings as I feel like I need to learn much more and get in a lot of practice first. I have a few of Frank Lohan's fantastic books and thought the exercises in them would be a great way to both learn and get the practice in.

I thought it might be fun to start a thread here for any like minded people that want to learn this medium as a group, and maybe share tips and tricks and talk about materials along the way -- anyone care to join me?

Here's my most recent exercise -- Demonstration 1 "The Barn Door" from Frank Lohan's "Step by Step Pen & Ink Sketching". Pens used were a Pilot Metal Falcon with Extra-Fine nib (my new birthday present!), a Noodler's Konrad flex pen, and a Pentel brush pen for the densest black areas. I was having trouble with the fine nib ripping up the paper with too much crosshatching for the darks -- need to figure out how to get around that but for now the brush pen is a workaround. Inks were Noodler's Black Eel (Falcon) and Platinum Carbon Black (Konrad). Done in a Stillman & Birn Epsilon notebook.

Lots of mistakes in this one but I learned a ton doing it, and had a lot of fun with it which is the whole point, really!


Well, heyyyy! Frank Lohan! I have a couple of his books, but it's been a while since I used them, and a while since I sketched anything. I tried the 30-drawings-in-30-days and mostly failed.

Well-done there.

#18 inkstainedruth

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:35

I haven't really used my fountain pens for sketching or drawing, other than making a little drawing as part of ink testing. I was an art major in college, though, and did use Rapidographs and occasionally dip pens.
Now you've got me inspired to go look for the Lohan book(s), and maybe get back into doing art again (using fountain pens has already gotten me back into writing poetry).
Thanks for posting. I keep being constantly amazed by the creativity and talent of people on FPN.
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#19 czanguine

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 02:37

Thats a great looking drawing; like others said keep practicing and you'll be amazed at how quickly you'll progress.
Here is a quick one made recently of the Nashville Public Library; this was tricky for me due to the center massing between a full story taller with its pedimented roof. My perspective is off in a couple of places (its hard drawing perspective in public areas with people constantly looking over one's shoulder)
It was drawn on Stillman & Birn Beta series paper which I love. The pen was a Platinum 3776 with a UEF. I'm currently looking at treating myself to a Nakaya Dorsal Fin with either a UEF nib or F nib with full flex so that it is more versatile for writing as well.
Posted Image


I've always felt a little bit hesitant about drawing over pencil marks -- I've had countless bad experiences doing so back when I was a user of gel pens/rollerballs. Your drawing just proved that one CAN!
I am the girl with the long name, or simply cza

#20 daniellem

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Posted 01 April 2013 - 03:36

Platinum calls the UEF nib their ultra extra fine, while Nakaya calls their version of the UEF the SEF or Super Extra Fine. I really enjoy using these extreme fine points for drawing, though, a lot of the time I enjoy using Microns with very fine tips.


Thanks for the explanation -- I had seen this term before in a different thread and had wondered what the UEF meant. You'll have to post pics of your Nakaya when you do get it -- they are such gorgeous pens!






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