I'm curious how other people approach pen and ink artwork.

When it comes to realist pen and ink art, I have a tendency to start a drawing in pencil, so that I can erase any mistakes, before going over it in pen. 

If I'm doing an abstract pen and ink drawing, I usually feel confident enough to use a pen right from the beginning and not use a pencil at all.

How about you?  Which do you prefer, and why?

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I am an "insecure artist"  :-)  so I always start with a pencil no matter what the medium is. After using pencil to "map" my artistic design I ink it in before erasing any pencil lines. There are times, however, when I will deviate from the original pencil lines while inking and create something entirely different from what was previously intended.

Hi Carla, I always wonder about those people who are brave enough to ink right from the get-go.  One of our members is a fabulous pen and ink artist (Sue Pownall) and I believe she prefers to use ink right away, without penciling any preliminary sketches. She likes the permanent nature of ink, but I'm too afraid of making mistakes!  So I know what you mean about being an 'insecure artist'.  ;)

 

There are times, however, when I will deviate from the original pencil lines while inking and create something entirely different from what was previously intended.

 

Me too - sometimes I find that the pencil marks create a safety net or sense of structure, so that when I ink in the drawing, I feel more confident in making something else up as I go along.

 

 

Sorry, I didn't see this until now.

 

Thaneeya said:

One of our members is a fabulous pen and ink artist (Sue Pownall) and I believe she prefers to use ink right away

If I am sketching I always go straight in with pen. I think, it makes you more accurate both with your observation and your marks.

 

However, for finished drawings I do the opposite and always draw in pencil first, but frequently ignore the pencil lines afterwards. I also use a pencil for planning the shading as I'm to lazy to do preleminary planning/compositions drawings as I prefer to go straight to the finished thing. 

Thaneeya:   I have been watching caricature artists on youtube. Most work entirely with bold markers and achieve a striking likeness (and completion) in approximately THREE MINUTES! One artist completes his caricatures in 60 MINUTES flat! My mouth dropped to the floor when I saw that.

 

Grace: Great minds think alike  :-)

 

Sue:  Thanks for the great information. I will attempt my sketches in ink and see how that works for me.

Sue's comment about pen sketching made me think of something:

I think, it makes you more accurate both with your observation and your marks.

I have noticed this in my own (relatively few) pen sketches as well. I pay more attention, but I also worry more about making mistakes.

 

There's a certain quality I admire in pen sketches: when several lines are loosely drawn over top of each other to 'get it right', those lines add a sense of personality and charm to the drawing - at least IMO.  It's quite different than the feeling you get when looking at a precise, controlled drawing.  Both are lovely types of art though, I just admire them in different ways.  I admire the perfection of precise drawings and the imperfection of loose sketches.  

Next time I sketch in pen, I need to keep that in mind and be less afraid of making mistakes.

 

Btw, I asked this question because I had the impression that 'real' pen and ink artists never use pencil in their work. ;)  Thanks to this thread, and a book I've been flipping through on pen and ink art, I've learned that is not the case at all!

Thaneeya McArdle said:

Btw, I asked this question because I had the impression that 'real' pen and ink artists never use pencil in their work. ;)  Thanks to this thread, and a book I've been flipping through on pen and ink art, I've learned that is not the case at all!

 

I think like all mediums there are perceptions which may or maynot be true, like the not using pencils. Another is that you have to do a tonal value drawing to get the composition correct. Something I 98% of the time don't.  FYI I did technical drawing at college and we were taught to use blue pencil pefore inking (blue not showing on cameeras)

Because I started out as a detail technical draftsman, I began doing highly detailed ink drawings over 35 years ago. And for 34 of those years I have been making a pencil carbon of my drawings first, usually from a photo print. I carbon the back, trace the front, then fill in with ink. Pencil lines are erased at the end. Rarely do I make a drawing without some sort of guide lines, especially with a LOT of detail. I always work from my own photos sometimes combining parts of  2, 3 or 4 photos elinimating any "junk" such as telephone poles, hydrants, signs, etc.   Questions?  Contact me for any help or suggestions.  Robert Gilbert

I start with pen. No pencil.

Pencil first for me.  Being very new to creating art, I rely a lot on my erasers.  When I start a piece I never know where I'm really going to go with it so I like to pencil my "blueprint" first.  It's bad enough there is no room for error using pen to begin with and I'm not confident enough to go without pencil first. My boyfriend does all crosswords in pen only, because, as he so aloofly reminds me, he doesn't need pencil cuz he's always right the first time.  : ( 

usually I like to use pen first because I like developing my work in my mistakes and incorporate them in my art, and I like how you cant go back and don't spend too much time on erasing

 

Pencil first, always. I am not confident enough with myself or my artwork to jump in with a pen. 

In graphic design they tell you to do comp sletches before drawing to have some sort of placement within your layout and many times beside pencil we use blue pencil for layouts before you lay down the final drawing.

 

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