Using More Than One Type of Pen

September 9, 2020
A pen and ink sketch on Nideggen paper, in a hand-bound journal. (I started with a very light red color pencil to place the features because I knew the line of the profile was critical and I didn’t want to rush it. You can look closely and see the red pencil.

The mood we want to achieve in a finished illustration influences what type of pen we choose to work with—what type of line we want to express.

It’s obvious when I started to sketch this I was pulled by interest in the facial hair and short hair on the head, as well as the height of the mohawk—but still interested in leaving something of the paper.

It seemed to me as I worked that the only way to to deal with the profile and give it the emphasis it required was to use a thick black brush pen and quickly put in the background in bold strokes. That wasn’t the approach I’d wanted for the hair however. (I used the Sakura Pigma Professional Brush pen for the drawing.)

So don’t lock yourself in. Use all the pens you want to get the effects you want. Just make intentional choices.

Note: this is a page spread from one of my 2018 journals. It’s in the “not yet published folder” in my blog folder—but I post so many places these days that sometimes it’s difficult to keep track. (I used a chart for a bit, but that seemed ridiculous.)

Reading the page today it’s interesting to me that it was a cold and rainy day about 2 years ago, just as it is a cold and rainy day today—but Dick and I were just talking about how this has been an extraordinarily cold fall. I’ll have to go back and look at my exercise logs which include temperature, humidity, wind speed.

Oh, yeah, I guess I do like some charts!

    • Kathleen Michael
    • September 10, 2020

    Do you never go to bed, or just get up really early?

    1. Reply

      You made me laugh. Yep I go to bed. I do get up really early, and I actually stay up later than I think is good for me so I’m working on that!

  1. Reply

    I landed on this sketch while browsing your website. We have exchanged emails as well. I have to say that in the current context, this (angry?) person looks like one of the most famous politicians in the world today – Volodymyr Zelensky. And I am sure, the expression depicted here would be what Zelensky would be feeling at what is happening in his country. Prayers for Ukraine and her people.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for stopping by the blog. I can only imagine what Mr. Zelensky is feeling and I hope the US keeps sending as much aid as it can. One of the many great things about Zelensky is how he has kept his calm, his determination, and his resolve all at a level that is impressive given what he is facing. He and the Ukrainian people are setting an example for how to push back against adversity. (The sketch isn’t him, as you can tell from the date.)

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