Pen and Ink Techniques

The basics and terminology of ink art.

Some of the common techniques, vocabulary and tools and that I recommend trying for beginners of ink art.

Hatching: An ink drawing technique where you apply tone and texture in rows of parallel lines.

Cross Hatching: Where you crisscross several layers of hatching in order to darken your tones.

Stippling: Ink drawing technique where you apply tone and texture by altering the density and distribution of ink dots such as a fine pen for light shading using more distance between each dot and increasing the dots to create a darker more dense appearance.

Cross contour: A cross contour drawing contains parallel lines that run across the surface of an object (or radiate from a central point), such as those that appear on a topographical map or a digital wireframe. The lines can run at any appropriate angle (sometimes at multiple angles) and may continue across objects and into the background. Cross contour drawings typically follow the rules of perspective, with lines drawn closer together in the distance and further apart in the foreground. In this type of drawing, the illusion of three-dimensional volume is created entirely with line.

Value:The lightness and darkness of an object or colour.

Tonal Range: Various shades of grey between absolute black and absolute white.

Line: A mark made by a pencil, brush, tool, etc., forming a part of a design.

Form: Pertains to the shape and structure of a particular object.

Contrast: A line, shape, colour or value that differs from those which are dominant in the work.

High Key: Exclusive Use of light or pale values.

Low Key: Exclusive use of dark values.

Texture: The way a surface feels or appears to feels.

Pattern: Repeated line, design, colour, etc.

Pen and Ink Techniques used in Illustration

This is the line work illustration of the banner image above for my Narnia Snow Queen / Witch. I have used several of the above mentioned techniques to show how they work together and on their own to create various effects. The use of thin lines for the background and thicker lines for the foreground helps to create the illusion of depth.

Pen and Ink Tools

There is a wide array of pens and inks out there like anything from a crow’s quill, traditional dip pen to contemporary markers and brushes, but I find Sakura Pigma Micron – Pigment Fineliner Pens with nib sizes: 0.20mm, 0.25mm, 0.35mm, 0.45mm, 0.50mm or 01/03/05/08/Graphic/Brush works well for me. The ink will not bleed through the paper, and is indelible and lightfast which dries to a neutral PH, they are also water resistant so they are great for using with watercolours or washes.

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