8 Pen and Ink Drawings That'll Make You Fall in Love With the Medium

There are so many different ways to wield your pen and ink brush. One day you might be looking to draw a realistic, detailed still life, while the next you want to go for something a bit more vibrant and loosey-goosey. Regardless of where your instincts take you, there's a pen and ink drawing you'll love making, all while sharpening your skills.

1. Whimsical Spreads

Drawing doesn't always have to be super serious. In this project, you'll use ink washes to make a playful scene while learning a new way to organize space on the picture plane. The secret to success: spontaneity!

Explore a more graphic, playful approach to drawing with artist and illustrator Lindsay Stripling. In this short project tutorial, you'll get a close look at her creative process from gathering inspiration to planning and executing her signature scenes.

2. A Nighttime Bridge Scene

To bring this image to life, you've gotta know how to capture different values . You'll learn how to vary your pen sizes as you add texture to the trees and buildings, then add an ink wash to define the different stones and fill in the reflective river. The instructor draws in real-time, so you can follow along to see how the complex piece comes together.

Paul combines all of the techniques from class into a final sketch, which he draws in real time to allow you to follow his process. Along the way, he shares additional ink techniques, capturing a range of values and creating intrigue with multiple styles of shading and texture.

3. A Realistic Still Life

Watercolor might get all the credit for making this painting totally lifelike, but it's the grisaille underpainting that does makes it really pop. Pro tip: If you're going for realism, painting the scene in black and white washes before adding color is vital to completing this pen and ink drawing successfully.

Meet illustrator Steven Reddy, then get started creating dynamic ink and watercolor drawings. Deepen your understanding of composition and get comfortable using your pen to capture detailed shapes, without striving for perfection. In the process, you'll gain valuable tips for developing your own unique style and vision!

4. Make Your Own Moment

Everyone has those days: the ones where you look at image after image and none of them resonate. When that happens, make your own! This project teaches you to combine several different reference photos — working from the horizon out as you add detail, texture and watercolors — to create one final scene.

Combine elements of multiple photographs to create new, imaginative compositions that tell a story. Rota shows how to choose your horizon and work from there to build up your drawing with both pen and watercolor.

5. Urban Sketch Your Street

While grisaille underpainting helps make a drawing super lifelike, it isn't always necessary — especially in urban sketching. Instead, this project has you use a pen to sketch your favorite spot in town, then encourages you to capture the energy with bright, loosely structured watercolor.

End class by digging deeper into watercolor to make your sketches more compelling. Suma shares her strategies for harnessing color to create unified and energetic sketches with ease.

6. Tell a Story

Is anyone else getting serious cozy vibes from this drawing? Learn to capture a space and put its vibe to paper through contours and washes as you draw on location.

Meet Steven Reddy and get started by drawing inspiration from Steven's personal sketchbooks. Then, explore playfulness and realism, and learn how to achieve both in your drawings. Plus, find out how to select a subject at your favorite local cafe.

7. A Portrait, Two Ways

Here's the thing about working with pen and ink: the medium is so versatile it's easy to find your own personal style. Practice pen-only drawing using hatching and other simple techniques , then bring the same image to life with ink washes. You'll be surprised at how different the results are, and learn how to best combine the two.

If you've only ever used pen and ink to draw basic lines, you are missing out! While simple lines can absolutely create dramatic drawings, there's another technique that will totally change the look of your drawings: an ink wash.

8. Words, Words, Words

Remember, drawing isn't the only way to express yourself with ink. You can use calligraphy to write a message in homemade cards , create gorgeous decor or sign your artwork. Play around with the different techniques and styles and find the method you love best.

Meet calligrapher Laura Lavender and begin class with a brief introduction to hand-lettering using some examples. Laura then goes over the tools and materials you'll need to get started, including pens, nibs and more.

November 08, 2019
More to Explore
Now Reading
8 Pen and Ink Drawings That'll Make You Fall in Love With the Medium