Friday, August 23, 2013

Sketch Sequence: Little Guy Reading

Little Guy Reading sketch

with a bit of white,

and with color--in this case, watercolor.

As a kid, I thought that all the mid 19th century tinted engravings I loved in old books (like the Tenniel and Dore illustrations) were drawn with pen and ink and then watercolored. In my ignorance, I concentrated on copying the technique I thought I saw. Later, I was happy to discover that the classic illustrators (like Arthur Rackham and Warwick Goble) and modern illustrators (like Mercer Mayer and Maurice Sendak) actually used pen and ink with watercolor.

I very much like pen and ink. For this reading fellow I used a fine Rapidograph. Not my favorite choice of pen, but it's convenient when I'm drawing outside of the studio. Normally I use a steel pen tip--crow quill is my favorite--but in the past few years the quality of them seems to have severely declined--at least the most common, inexpensive brand I've always used. They wear out fast, and the ink feed is not nearly as smooth as it once was.
Any tips or suggestions on good brands to try would be much appreciated.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Beautiful little fellow! I love crow-quills too-- the flexible ones especially-- & they wear out even faster. I go through boxes of them as I always write with them at home, in addition to drawing.

    I so wish someone would make a portable pen that would give that same sensitive line quality. I tried a fountain pen converter rig but it leaked dreadfully. I usually end up using a cheapish ball-point for sketching when I'm out and about because there is at least a touch of pressure sensitivity & the line is finer than most "good" pens. Used to love Rapidographs but now I find them just too rigid.

    1. Thanks Leah. Yes, there's nothing like a flexible nib. But I will try a ball point too. I like a fine brush for outlining, but cross-hatching just needs a pen.


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