Artwork by Monica Gunderson

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Pen and Ink Drawing Techniques

March 03, 2016 at 11:37 PM

Drawing Techniques in Pen and Ink Drawings


Pen and ink drawing is more than just some lines and shapes outlining a subject, but it also includes variances of shading techniques which creates the illusion of value of a drawing. Value is the lightness or the darkness of a subject. Lighter values are used to illustrate lighter areas of a subject while darker areas represent the lack of light of a subject and the halfway between these is middle grey. Using value in a drawing can create the illusion of volume or a three-dimensional object. Using drawing techniques can also add an appearance of texture, adding to the realistic three-dimensional illusion. Below are six drawing techniques which can help an artist achieve a sense of depth in an artwork. These techniques can be used together or separate depending on the preferred style and what the artist wants to achieve.

Hatching - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique

Hatching: The most basic drawing technique is hatching. Hatching is the use of fine lines drawn parallel of each other either close together or far apart from each other to create value. As mentioned earlier, value is the lightness or the darkness of an object. Value is achieved in hatching when lines are drawn closer together which creates a darker effect and drawing the lines spaced further apart creates a lighter effect. In addition, pressing firmly on the pen causes thicker lines which can also create a darker value and a thinner line gives the illusion of the object being lighter.


Cross-Hatching - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique


Cross Hatching: Cross hatching is similar to hatching, but instead of the lines being parallel to each other, in cross hatching, the lines overlap each other in a criss-cross fashion. When using cross-hatching, first start with parallel lines, then add horizontal lines on top of the parallel ones. Continue to add more lines at different angles such as at 45 degrees and so on. Again, if the lines are spread apart, this will provide the illusion of the object being lighter. While the closer the lines are drawn create a darker value.

Contour - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique


Contour Hatching: contour hatching is when the lines are drawn to follow the contour of the drawing that the artist has created. This technique can be very useful in figure drawings by creating curved hatched lines that help denote the curves of the body. Contour hatching can also make objects in a drawing appear as three-dimensional.    

Scumbling - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique


Scumbling: Scumbling is the use of varying scribbles or small circular strokes. When the scribbles or circular strokes are drawn closer together and overlapping, the darker it will appear. When the scribbles or circular strokes are drawn further apart it creates a lighter effect. Scumbling is also sometimes called the "brillo pad technique" or "circulism technique".

Random-Hatching - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique


Random Hatching: Random hatching is sort of a mix of both scumbling and cross hatching. Random hatching is when varying amounts, directions, lengths and widths of hatching. Again, when the lines are drawn closer together it creates an illusion of darkness while when the lines are drawn further apart creates lightness. When used together, lightness and darkness creates an illusion of a three-dimensional object in a drawing.

Stippling - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique


Stippling: Stippling is the use of several dots to add an effect of value. The closer the dots are drawn together gives it a dark effect while spreading the dots apart from each other creates a lighter effect. Note: stippling is the use of blacks, grays, and sometimes browns only. No color is used when drawing with the stippling technique.

Pointillism - Pen and Ink Drawing Technique

Pointillism: Pointillism is similar to stippling, but with color. When using the pointillism drawing technique, different colors are used to enhance value. This is done by not only by drawing the dots further apart to create an illusion of lightness and closer together for the illusion of darkness, but varying colors can assist with creating shadow differences and giving the illusion of value. For example, to darken a yellow color, orange, red-roange, red and maybe even purple dots may be arranged with the yellow dots to create the illusion of shadowing, value, and volume. Find out what the differences are between Pointillism and Stippling


Tags: art techniques drawing How To ink pen drawing Musings of an Artist pointillism stippling
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Drawing Techniques in Pen and Ink Drawings

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Monica Gunderson Fine Artist

Modesto CA