Pen Sketching Made Easy

For Clean Lines With Your Sketches

Pen and Ink sketch and 2B pencilCopy Using Pen and Ink From "Old Masters" Series

Pen sketching made its debut in the 15th century with some spectacular and talented creations from German born Albrecht Durer of Nuremberg. Durer was an respected painter, hand printer, and mathematician that applied his innovated mind to the art of ink.

As a pioneer of detailed ink drawings, Durer used basic tools of a feather and ink well and would create realistic figure drawings and abstract concepts with superlative skill and magnificence to earn him the title of one of the great masters from the Renaissance era.

Today's pen and ink sketching artists have a suite of tools available to enhance one's drawing techniques and experiment with a variety of lines, looks and expressions.

Marking pens are an excellent choice to create bold outlines and highlight motion. Used by cartoonists, the marking pen tip widths include a broad felt tip for power lining, fine tips for detailing and everything in between. The trick to drawing a strong and fluid marking pen line is to swing your arm or wrist with confidence. A shaky line indicates the artist is lost and trying to calculate his or her next move, so press forward boldly, regardless of how your practice work turns out.

The importance of practicing is to teach your muscles to perform your vision, keep going until the marking pen becomes second nature and an extension of you!

The best ink pens to sketch with include architect drafting pens, bamboo reeds and quills, quick drying Zip Memory Millennium markers, clog-free Rotring Rapidograph Tech pens or a multi-nib surface selection from the artist's Faber-Castell company.

Pen & Ink Study of Vincent's Bedroom

Try a combination ink sketch to find your vision and manual dexterity with a variety of drawing tools. Ink sketches know no boundaries, so the sky's the limit as what you can do with a simple pen and paper. Check out some of Picasso's sketches here, notice how he varied his lines in thickness, length and how they followed the form.

However, before you begin your ink pen creations, test each drawing tool for its drying time and adaptability to your paper. Some inks take longer to dry than others and if your catch the wet ink with your arm or sleeve, your ink smear is permanent and not reparable.

Now that we know a little about ink drawing pens, where's the best place for us beginners to start on a career of pen sketching like Durer? Okay, my suggestion would be to get an inexpensive pen with a fiber tip, a reasonable quality paper where your pen lines do not "bleed" (like blotting paper) and start with cross-hatching exercises.

Cross-hatching means you draw parallel lines in one direction then cross at 90 degrees creating a sort of grid. (see images) There are many types of texture you can play with and by increasing or decreasing the pressure, you can create darker or lighter lines. Your lines can be made up of curves instead of straight lines or even circles - so there are countless textures (tones and values) you can create from very light to very dark. 

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Your website is beautiful and exudes with goodness—-here is all the info, free of charge, just go and play with it, free your creativity. It would be the perfect site for our 10 year old, who is a keen (and very good) drawer in the sense that she truly enjoys it and will do it in her free time just for fun.

Vardit Kohn
The Hague