In Figure 8 is shown a pen rendering of a cube, a cone, and a sphere, in four ink values and white — a total of five values. The white of the paper was used for highlights, widely-spaced vertical lines for light values, closely-spaced vertical lines for medium values, closely-spaced horizontal lines for medium dark values, and crosshatch lines for the darkest values. Solid black was purposely omitted, although later you will find that it will play a very important part in professional renderings.

Set up a grouping of similar models of the basic forms and make a pen-and-ink rendering showing the same five values described for Figure 8. Use common household objects as your models.

After the subject matter has been chosen, use an HB pencil and make an outline drawing, showing only the necessary lightly-drawn guidelines. If you anticipate much constructing and erasing, make your first attempts on practice paper and transfer the pencil drawing to the finished paper after you have satisfactory results. An inexpensive note paper or tracing paper may be used for practice layouts. Transparent tracing paper enables you to reconstruct a drawing by simply laying a clean sheet over an incorrect drawing, then tracing only the accurate or desirable parts. To transfer the drawing, blacken the reverse side of the tracing paper with a soft pencil and rub it with a clean cloth. This results in a carbon-like surface, without the greasy, indelible quality of genuine carbon paper. Paper prepared in this way permits tracing onto any other paper surface for ink work, without smudging.

After the outlines of the models have been traced or drawn directly on the paper for ink work, all lines and crosshatch tones should be drawn accurately with pencil as they were in the original for Figure 8. Keep the pencil sharply pointed so that the weight of the lines will approximate the weight of a pen line. Your completed pencil work should look exactly as the finished pen rendering is expected to look. This will give you an opportunity to change any portion you find undesirable before you ink the lines.

The final step is to apply the ink. Simply trace your carefully-drawn pencil lines. When these lines are being drawn in ink, keep your eye on the ending point and the part of the line to be drawn, rather than on the starting point and the part of the line already drawn. The pen should always be drawn toward you, if possible; and when horizontal lines are being drawn, the pen point should be turned so that the underside of the pen always moves away from the line. The paper may be turned, of course, so that all lines may be drawn as vertical lines and toward you. The pen should never be pushed sideways. Such a movement produces an uneven line and is likely to spatter ink if the point catches in the pores of the paper. Turning the paper enables you to draw pen lines with the pen point in the proper position, avoiding any tendency to scratch.

The object of the type of pen rendering you're doing now, following the example in Figure 8, is to show the contours of the subjects accurately without using pen outlines. Erase all pencil guidelines when the final values have been inked and the ink has dried. Where the lightest or white values are desired, such as the top of the cube in Figure 8, a method must be used to show the contours, so they will not disappear against the white paper. To do this effectively, a background has been shown in the areas where such values are needed to contour the models. Do this on your own ink rendering.


After you make your first original rendering in pen and ink from an original group of models, you'll realize that elimination of detail is most important. Beginners usually try to show too much detail, working at a drawing until it becomes too complex. It is far better to make a simple outline drawing, completely eliminating light and shade values if you find you are not yet skilled enough to render a subject in a range of values and suggested textures without overworking it. However, you will find that you produce the best ink drawings by learning how to convey the values and textures simply. So let's get some experience doing so in the next Studio Study.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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