How Do You Make Ink Drawings?

To make an ink drawing, it's best to have a light sketch of the intended subject already done on the paper. It's difficult to draw a final draft and make it look polished without a base from which to start. Conventional shading cannot be done with ink, but there are a number of techniques that can be used to create value, or light tones.

  1. Create the pencil draft

    Use a light stroke to create the pencil draft of the final ink work. Darken and define the lines that are to be inked over. Erase the rest, and smooth out any rough surfaces on the paper. Ensure adequate lighting is available so the penciled lines show up in contrast with the paper.

  2. Ink the drawing

    Trace over the pencil lines completely with the pen. Be careful and conservative with strokes; it's always possible to go back and add a pen stroke, but much more difficult to get rid of one. Use firm, even lines, drawing with your whole arm rather than just the wrist.

  3. Begin shading

    With a pen, the value of the line is the same no matter how much pressure is applied. Therefore, different shading methods are used to create the illusion of three dimensions. The first is hatching, which is a series of parallel lines. Cross-hatching improves on hatching by adding a series of lines crossing the hatching. The direction of these lines can indicate the shape of the object, such as the folds of clothing. Stipple and scumbling, which are a series of dots and circular shapes, are more chaotic forms of shading.

  4. Sign and date the work

    By putting a date on the work, it's easier for the artist to keep track of progress in skill.