Pen and Wash demonstration by Caroline Marsland 3rd April 2019

When selecting a paper for pen and wash, a smooth hot pressed watercolour paper is best, as rough watercolour paper catches on the pen.

Caroline chose to work with India ink, you can also use Quink.  She doesn’t recommend hobby craft ink, as it can wash off when your wash is applied, whereas the India ink is permanent.

She prefers to work with a mapping nib rather then a drawing nib, which can be a bit scratchy. The joy of using a dip pen is in the good expression you can get from the different thicknesses of strokes.

First, think about what part of your painting is going to be pen and what part wash. You may want it mainly one or the other.

This is the photograph Caroline was working from ( it’s the steps up to Whitby Abbey)

Caroline chose to start with  the pen, as this gives the most freedom of expression. You should look for where the light is coming from and then make your lighter strokes on the side that is getting the light.

She started with the lamppost as this was central and then worked out from that. Remember it doesn’t have to be perfectly drawn; it is your impression of the scene.  If you prefer, you can draw it out lightly in pencil first.  Dip pens are good for squiggles and shapes to suggest bushes. You shouldn’t try to put in every line. A few details are all that’s needed and the viewer fills in the rest.  If you have an accident and get a splurge on the page, this can be covered using white gouache.

The distant subjects should be drawn lighter with the heaviest lines saved for the foreground. Caroline used a rigger for the railings to make them stand out. Random lines are always more interesting to look at than rigid straight lines.

Check that your ink is dry before starting on the washes. Bear in mind that warm colours make a subject come forward, while cool colours will make it recede. Put in your colours  paying attention to the shadows, and not being too exact with the paint, it’s ok if it bleeds a little. You don’t want it to look like painting by numbers!

Caroline used ultra marine and sienna to get the lovely dark shade for the windows. The more distant the lighter your  paint should be , so the stairs are paler at the most distant part which helps with the perspective.

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Pen and Quink Ink Sketching

Instructor Caroline Marsland took a different take on using pen and ink in our art. She used the water soluble quink ink which comes in a few colors.

She started with talking about the nibs. Dip nibs come in a number of shapes for different uses. The drawing ones are quite sharp and can tear watercolor paper. Smooth paper fairs better. She prefers writing nibs and ones with a rounded tip. They also can have a reservoir added but one has to be careful that ink doesn’t drip out. She does not recommend biros or other felt pens as you can’t get them to widen or become thin with pressure which helps to show emotion in the drawing.

Before starting, one must decide if you want to do the wash first or the pen drawing. These both give different results.

The demo started with using the pen first to outline the chosen art. She used some cross hatching and varied the width of the lines. She said to ask yourself, ‘how much pen do I want to put on or what kind of strokes or dots  to make? Once the drawing is completed, you must carefully add the watercolor wash knowing that some of the ink will dissolve into the colors. This effect can also be achieved using charcoal pencil. You can go back over the dried piece to enhance any lines or colors.

Putting the wash on first is done with drawing the image with watercolor and a brush, letting it dry (unless you want it to bleed) and adding the quink ink lines and dots after. See below to note the difference in results.

These are just two ways to use these lovely mediums. Play with them and see!

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