• Alicia Kidd

Pen & Ink

Updated: Sep 9, 2019

Pen & Ink


When you learn to draw, in a formal setting, you’ll always start with a black line. Whether it’s charcoal or ink, you’ll begin to study lines, shapes, and forms in their most basic state; the black outline. You’ll learn about line variation, before even starting to talk about things like perspective or shading. The two-dimensional line helps you understand drawing and art like nothing else could. Or it can at least get you started. After that, you’ll learn about composition and how to move lines, and shapes around in space. All these concepts contribute to your development as an artist.



Once you have mastered all of that, then you can move on to drawing things like still life, abstract shapes, and even human gestures. While focusing on a line, you can draw volume and shape. All of this, again, is taught in black. Using only charcoal or ink. It will take your brain a few days of practice to adjust, but after a while, you will start to see shadows and highlights in a way you have never seen before. After a few months of that, you’ll learn about color. So first, you should get comfortable with the idea that sketching straight on paper with ink or any permanent medium, is a good thing.


So let go of that pencil and eraser (or digital tools) and start sketching straight on with pen & ink and see what happens.


If nothing else, let be an experiment.


I would say 75% of my sketches are done going straight in with ink. I use this technique when I’m feeling most confident and also when I’m pressed for time. My sketchbooks are filled with loose gestures and sketches, and they have all been excellent learning experiences.


Any pen. Try it.





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