Tag Archives: pen and ink

Life class, clothed figure.

Just a sitting, clothed figure this week. I did two full figure drawings and two sketch book portraits. I am really poor at portraits so want to concentrate on them. I’ve just ordered a book on drawing the human head.

These full figures are largely in contè crayon, which I really like. You can get very subtle effects and really dense darks.

These two portraits are in Derwent Graphik pen. I haven’t liked it before, but it really came into its own here. It isn’t waterproof, which is where I have come badly unstuck before, using it as a base for watercolour. A real mess.

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Lots of Victorian ladies

I found a lovely book in one of our second hand bookshops. A compendium of images of women from the 19th century. All are wood engravings from the likes of the London Illustrated News. The quality of the images is astounding. I am trying to copy several of them, just to see how they did it.

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It is near impossible to accurately mimic them in pen. They are essentially white lines engraved onto a black background. With pen it is the reverse, black on white. You can reproduce some of the linear work, but crosshatch fails. It goes darker on the pen drawing but lighter on the engraving. I will try to do some copies without trying to follow the linear original later.

Daily drawing 

Today’s sketch on the right, with last night’s on the left. I have been working over the latter. It is very hard to stop. This is the end of this sketch book. It has slightly rough, 50 year old water colour paper in it, which I didn’t like for drawing on at first, but it is lovely for this style of sketching. The fibre tipped fine liner pen starts to run dry after a bit, which actually improves the drawing. The next sketchbook had smooth paper in it, which I will probably now hate.

Last watercolour classes

I’ve been to my last two water colour classes. Next autumn I am going to a printing class at the Gloucestershire Printing Cooperative for a change and a challenge. The last classes produced some interesting work. First a Klimtish landscape of birch trees, painted using tube water colour, straight from the tube with no water. The trunks were done in white gouache, dragged on with a palette knife. The effect is quite convincing and barely looks like water colour at all.

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In the last class, we worked outside behind Cirencester parish church. Pen sketch with quick watercolour washes over. I had taken a folding chair to suit on, but actually found it more comfortable to suit on the ground. Used a light weight sheet of double walled plastic as a drawing board, which worked well.

The result is a bit messy, but not bad overall. I am going on an urban sketching day in Cirencester next week, so this is a preliminary.

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Working on my drawing skills

I’ve decided that I need to improve my basic drawing skills. To that end I am starting to do a lot of small copies of exemplars, starting with Leonardo da Vinci (may as well start high). It is also something I can do in the evening, perched on a sofa. Most painting requires and easel and all the other technology. Drawing just needs paper and pen.

I love drawing in ink. You are stuck with every line, whereas with pencil you can keep fiddling with it. I love charcoal too, but on a larger scale than this. Not suitable to sofas.