18 March 2009

Inking as Fine Art

Dip Pen and Ink: After Charles Dana Gibson, Two Strikes and the Bases Full, 1904 (top); Fanned Out, 1905 (bottom)

I’m just finishing a class taught by Jeff Watts called "Inking as Fine Art". I took the class to improve my dexterity, and to learn hatching and inking techniques (mission accomplished). Since time was limited, the class focused only on ball point pen, dip pen, and brush on smooth bristol board. We didn’t try washes, ink color, types/colors of paper, mixing with other mediums, etc. I figure I can explore those on my own, now that I know the basics. The images in today’s post are some of the pieces I did for the class, mostly studies after Renaissance masters and early 20th century illustrators. I plan to ink an original work during the upcoming break, a sort of final project for this class, which I’ll eventually post.

Dip pen and ink: After Joseph Clement Coll, Character from Dickens, 1912.

Regarding materials, it’s personal preference whether you use a dip pen or brush, they are basically interchangeable. I like the Speedball #513EF Globe Nib (dip pen) used with Speedball Super Black India ink. It was as flexible as the brush for line variety. I also used a Rafael 8404 #3 Kolinsky Sable brush. The brush is good for extremely fine lines, for filling large areas, and for washes, and you don’t have to reload it as frequently as a nib. I also liked the Staedtler pigment liners for ball point pen work. We didn’t use technical pens in this class.

Brush with ink, gouache, charcoal: After Vittore Carpaccio, Head of a Man, 1507.

From my bookshelf:

Finally,there are plenty of modern day inkers out there, posting every day in blogs like Urban Sketchers.

Staedtler pigment liner: After Charles Bargue, charcoal study from the drawing course.

Staedtler pigment liner: (Left) After Raphael Sanzio, Study of David (Right) After Vaselius, De Humani Corpus Fabrica, 1543. From "Drawing Lessons from the Great Masters"


  1. Wow, very impressive, Candace. And interesting commentary.

  2. fantastic blog and drawings Candace, instant follow! and thx for the USk mention!

  3. James, Thanks for your visit and comments. Much appreciated.

  4. Gabi, Thanks for following. Urban Sketchers is a wonderful blog...high quality, spontaneous, eclectic...and global to boot. You've got it all. I find the artwork very inspiring.