I reside in the camp of, sketch in ink, live with the odd-off strokes, the pentimento. Use it all to train your eye.
But sometimes you want really smooth lines, or don’t want to risk missing the likeness, or…
…in my case I tend to use pencil when I’m sketching a woman and do not want to worry about aging her!
I want one line put down pretty much exactly where I want it.
If you look closely here at the enlargement you can see I worked first with a raspberry color pencil. (It was on the desk; it showed up on the tan Nideggen paper I’d used to bind this 8 inch square book.)
But you can also see I didn’t really follow the lines.
I did a first pass with the pencil and then when I went back in with the ink I made my second pass “estimates” on where the real line needed to go and marked there, instead of along the pencil lines. I could have done a second pass with the pencil and then gone in with ink—that would have eliminated some of the stutters that are still here, and some bold lines that are too bold.
But I didn’t, because I’m impatient. Not saying that as an excuse (because it would be a bad one if that were the case), just stating the facts. My goals and expectations weren’t on a “perfect” sketch for the day.
The main objective—to not age this young woman—was achieved.
Think about what is important to you in your drawing practice. When is it helpful to get messy? When is it essential to slow down and get the “right line”?
Be flexible with the tools you use. Tools aren’t crutches. They are tools. They each have a way to be used that can benefit your final sketch (which I don’t think this sketch is—it still needs work).
Use the tools that can get you to where you’ve set your goals.