Sustained Saturday-Watercolour and Pen & Ink

Yesterday’s class was very productive and we even had an impromptu birthday party! Most of the Sustained Saturday students work in watercolour but, as you can see above, some enjoy working in pen and ink. Two of my Tuesday evening students have just started with pen and ink, as well.

Step one (above left) of this pen and ink demonstration illustrates the ‘parquet’ approach, a form of cross-hatching. I present this approach to pen and ink beginners. Groups of parallel strokes abut each other and create an even field of tone in all areas of core and cast shadow. The direction of the strokes is random and eliminates constant decisions about which way the pen strokes should go. The result has a flat, mechanical look.

In steps two and three (above middle and right) middle tones and darks are gradually developed. The objects begin to look three-dimensional and attention is paid to the relationships between them. This is achieved by overlapping the pen strokes in new directions. Also, the strokes can be drawn closer together. Great care is taken to preserve the white of the paper for the lightest lights.

Step four, to the left, is as far as I took this demo.  Even the darkest areas are cross-hatched and small bits of the paper still show through. The drawing isn’t very big; it’s about 7 x 7″.

I used a 02 Pilot pigment liner drawing pen. Staedtler and Micron make similar pens in various sizes and colours. I’ve been using these pens with my sketchbook for many years. They are disposable, so not very green, but the ink is waterproof and they are quite convenient. Some of my sketches can be viewed on my Flickr site at

Remember our muffins from this week’s Tuesday classes? My demo is to the right. Here I used background tone to bring out the light on the muffins. Details, such as the chocolate chips, were completed last.


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One Response to “Sustained Saturday-Watercolour and Pen & Ink”

  1. susan power Says:

    Nice pics! it feels great to be famous. Like the pen and ink and the demo. The distance provided by the photo process really highlights the approach of ‘cools’ from the “warms”, if you catch my drift. looks good.

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