Posts Tagged ‘Arches Hot Press 140 lb watercolour paper’

Pen and Ink Studio at DVSA – Week Two!



The strangest things turn up in a pen and ink class at the Dundas Valley School of Art. I started off our second day of Pen and Ink Studio with a presentation on various papers and their suitability for pen on it’s own or with wash and watercolour. One of the students launched into a personal project and the rest of us attempted to come to grips with an invading herd of very small elephants.

I focused on the head of one of the creatures and began with a pencil drawing. I painted a few watercolour washes over the drawing and allowed it to dry. The paper is Arches, Hot Press, 140lb on a block.

Step One of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

Once dry, I used the pen to refine the drawing. My first consideration was the development of shadows. Definition and detail came next. I’m very careful about how I handle edges. I rarely, if ever, outline with a solid line. Look for the gaps in the pen line around the edges. Also, look at the slightly bumpy underside of the trunk. I didn’t indicate that with the preliminary pencil drawing; just with the pen.

Step Two of pen and watercolour demonstration by Barry Coombs

It was a challenge but the students did well with the elephants. Over the next few weeks, we should be able to see progress with their personal projects.

Pen and Ink Studio Critique

Pen and Ink Studio Critique


Humber Valley Art Club – Day One


Day one was supposed to be last week but a snowstorm forced the cancellation of the Neilson Park Creative Centre in Etobicoke, Ontario. Neilson Park CC is the home of the Humber Valley Art Club and it would be difficult to find a brighter and more spacious studio. I last worked with HVAC in 2011 and it’s nice to be back. We were able to negotiate a makeup day so I’m looking forward to three more days of our Pen and Watercolour workshop.

Our first day was devoted to single-value, monochromatic washes with pen. I brought in a bunch of little cardboard gardening pots and arranged them so that they overlapped each other. I never miss an opportunity to discuss my thoughts on drawing. Step one of my demonstration shows pencil planning lines and a ‘wire frame’ approach. At this stage, it’s as if the objects are transparent. The wash is a mix of Cobalt Blue and Burnt Sienna. Both of the day’s drawings were done on Arches Hot Press watercolour paper, 140 lb.

Step one of pen and w/c demo by Barry Coombs - HVAC1/2014

We’re using disposable pigment ink and/or pigment liner drawing pens. They’re made by various outfits and they come in different nib sizes and colours. This is what they look like; the upper pen is from Pilot and the lower is from Staedtler.

Drawing pens - HVAC1/2014

Our goal was to establish the light and shadow with the monochromatic wash and add detail, definition and more structure with the pen. Basic pen techniques were explored. Hatching and cross-hatching do most of the work. Some stippling adds a tactile quality to the surfaces of the objects. We talked about edge. You’ll notice the gaps in the edges around the lightest areas. These allow light to flow through the drawing.

Step two of pen and w/c demo by Barry Coombs - HVAC1/2014

The basic shape of the window was done from a diagram I provided to the participants. Again, a single wash shows how the light hits the window and wall and I’ve also accented a few bricks. The features inside the window were drawn after the wash dried. The pen was used to create new shapes such as the cat and the plant, from within the dark wash. The art of the possible!

Pen and w/c demo by Barry Coombs - HVAC1/2014

Everyone worked very hard but we decided to hold off on a critique until next week. We’ll have fresh eyes and new projects. Hopefully, the weather will cooperate.