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Sketching with Pen and Ink

Sketching with pen and ink is easy if you have the appropriate materials.

There are many types of nibs available today, ranging from a delicate hairline to a broad, heavy line.

In the samples below, the left drawing has been sketched with a fine point pen, whilst the one to the right has been sketched with a stub point pen.

Architectural subjects can be either tightly or loosely rendered with the pen.

For outdoor sketching it is awkward to carry a bottle of ink and often more difficult to find a flat area on which to rest it, so I suggest that you acquire a fountain pen with a stub or a flexible point that will enable you to draw boldly.

There are fountain pens specifically made for use with heavy black India ink, but an ordinary fountain pen with a deep blue-black ink will serve your purpose.

It is only when you want to supplement the pen drawing with colored water-color washes that you encounter difficulty, because ordinary fountain-pen ink is water-soluble and will run, while India ink is waterproof.

But even this disadvantage is turned into an advantage by many artists, who prefer the blurred line as being more "atmospheric."

You will find the pen most helpful in making small, quick sketches of figures. These sketches can be made in a small notebook that can be carried conveniently in the pocket or purse.

File these notebooks for future use-you will often find a pose in them that will fit into a picture you are composing in the studio.

Back to Intro to Sketching.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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