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Ink Sketches

FIGURE 28 - Practice brush strokes.

Split-hair strokes. Most of the brush strokes in Figure 28 are self-explanatory and easy to follow in practice. To make split-hair brush strokes, first dip the brush in ink, then spread the hairs apart with a matchstick. With one stroke of the brush, apply the ink to produce the several lines of varied width shown at the right of Figure 28. These result from the separated hairs bearing ink. This technique can produce many interesting effects.

Dry Brush. The drybrush technique consists of making strokes on a rough or coarsegrained paper with a brush that is only slightly dampened with ink. After dipping the brush in ink, touch it lightly to a blotter to remove surplus ink. Then drag or stroke it quite rapidly across the paper. The resulting line or stroke will have a broken, textured effect where the tooth of the grained paper has taken ink from the semidry brush.

Handling values, contrast, texture. Experiment with showing values with the brush. If the pointed brush is handled in the same way as the pen, it is possible to show a number of values, as seen in Figure 28. As a rule, however, the brush is used for only two values, black and white. When only two values are used, it is not possible to show texture as accurately as when drawing with a pen. Contrast, therefore, is the most important consideration for the pointed brush.

The drybrush technique, on the other hand, is effective for showing texture, especially rough or coarse surfaces such as masonry, foliage, and wooden materials. The grain of the paper plays an important part in this technique, so it's necessary to become familiar with the different types of paper available and to experiment with them.


Felt-tip pens are quite commonly used for ink drawing, especially in commercial art. Many types of marking pens are classified under the heading "felt-tip pen" even though felt is not used in them. The lines made by these pens vary in width from a fine line to a line one-quarter inch wide. The inks vary from a non-penetrating odorless one to one that spreads and penetrates.

Because of the variety of types available, you must experiment to see what each can do. Also the paper surface used will affect the results. A soft, unsized paper such as newsprint will soak up and spread the ink, while a sized drawing paper such as found in sketch pads, will yield an entirely different effect. If texture is wanted, a rough paper, such as watercolor paper, can be used.

Felt-tip pens are thought of primarily as a sketching tool for landscapes, figures and still lifes, easy to carry and yielding results reminiscent of metal pens. Felt-tip pen drawings can be considered finished artworks in themselves, or they might provide preliminary sketches for more detailed ink renderings. They may be used in combination with the metal pen. They also are useful in commercial art for making quick sketches of ideas.

The felt-tip pen is a versatile and fast medium, well worth exploring to see how you might make use of it in ink drawing.


You can increase the range of effects possible with the ink medium — whether using pens or brushes — by using colored inks.

Some colored inks are transparent and some are opaque. The colors can usually be mixed safely to create any number of color variations. Renderings made with transparent inks resemble transparent watercolor paintings. Opaque colored inks, as the name implies, produce opaque effects.

Colored inks are often applied with a brush as well as with a pen. Most brands are waterproof and permanent when dry. The colors are rich and the inks flow smoothly.


The mediums you have studied so far have been in grays and blacks — pencil, pen and ink. In those mediums, you showed the color of an object as it translated to a value: a purple ball would be very dark in value, a yellow vase would be very light in value. So you already know how to indicate one of the three important qualities of color, its value.

In the next Study Unit, you will meet color in its full glory. You will learn about its other qualities — hue and intensity — and how to use all three qualities to produce glowing transparent watercolors, saturated with light and color or low-keyed opaque watercolors with subtle nuances of color.

Before going on, however, be sure to complete Exam 3 on the following pages and mail it to the School for grading.

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Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Easy Step-By-Step Lessons How Would You Like To Teach Yourself Some Of The Powerful Basic Techniques Of Pencil Drawing With Our Step-by-Step Tutorial. Learn the ABC of Pencil Drawing From the Experts.

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