Saturday, May 27, 2017

Tips for creating awesome drawings in pen and ink


My favorite pen (at the moment) is the Zebra Sarasa 0.7 gel pen. I use it for almost everything I need a pen for, from writing down my shopping list to doodling...on my shopping list. I also use this pen to draw my Nozzles cartoons. I have never drawn a serious piece of artwork with pen and ink, so I can't recommend a type of paper or even the pen I use to someone who plans on selling pen and ink art, but I thought I'd share my method for producing cleaner lines and reducing permanent mistakes. As you can see from the samples in this post, I'm not talking about sketches here - I'm talking about the style you might find in a coloring book (and it is fun to color in your own perfect pen drawings!).

Draw in pencil first. Now this isn't necessary (no pencil was used in the drawing above), but if I want my drawing to be as clean as I can get it, I draw everything in pencil first. That way I can correct all my mistakes before I draw everything with the permanent pen, either directly over the pencil lines or traced onto another piece of paper using a light box or something similar. Keep in mind that pencil will show through some kinds of ink, and once the ink is on top of the graphite there is no way to erase least I don't know of a way.

Use a smooth-flowing pen. This is very important. The gel pens I use not only produce smooth, consistent lines, they also produce dark lines with a matte finish which, to me, makes them look more like they were drawn digitally and printed out. Regular ball-point pens often produce inconsistent (the ink tends to skip spots), thin, and shiny lines with, in my opinion, an ugly colorful sheen.

Double, triple, or even quadruple your lines.
This may take some practice, but once you've mastered it, people will start to wonder how you never make mistakes (when, in fact, you made a lot). Minor mistakes and imperfections caused by the pen are easily covered up when you double the thickness of your lines. If you make a mistake on your second time over, you can make your outline thicker until you have covered up the mistakes. Make every line the same thickness and no one will ever know. Also, it probably helps to be using a pen that produces a fairly thick line when using this method.

Thickening the lines helps to cover up imperfections.

Don't smear your lines. Avoid smearing your lines by waiting for the ink to dry before placing your hand on top of your drawing (and erasing pencil lines). You may also want to work from left to right if you're right-handed or right to left if you're left-handed. It helps to use pens with quick-drying ink as well.

Practice and work slowly. Pen and ink is not a very forgiving medium!