Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pen and Ink (Plus a Franken-Creature Sequence)
I'm smitten with pen and ink. Always have been. Nothing gets me to the state of 
total creative awareness like the zen act of making repetitive lines with pen and ink. 
Time stops, the outside world disappears, and I don't care that my studio is in chaos.

Really, most times the studio is pretty neat, 
but working towards a show deadline has me more 
concerned with production than clutter. Plus, it's not fair that in some 
past posts, the studio has appeared mostly organized.  

This messed up work-space brings me to the real point of this post: Pen and ink!
On the drawing table is this book:

This version, published in 1930, was found it in a used book store a few months ago, and it is stunning! My go-to volume when I want to explore and revitalize my pen-work. I've owned the newer edition of it (titled Rendering in Pen and Ink) since art school, but this old fellow trumps that one with more illustrations and thorough discussion.

Sorry about the phone pics, but I wasn't about to cram this onto my scanner.

Here are the end papers. Yes, admittedly, I am an old-book nerd. 

As a kid, fascinated with line, I studied Tenniel's illustrations for the Alice books, Dore's illustrations--especially those from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and the works of John Leech. Like Franklin Booth, I mistakenly thought those engravings were pen and ink drawings. Unlike Franklin Booth's beautiful renderings, my resulting works are far from elegant and controlled. Random and spontaneous they are, and quickly drawn... this detail shows.

Still, revisiting Arthur Guptill's book put me in the mood to explore, so the following 
Frankenstein's Creature-sequence shows a bit more self-control. Not that I like it any better, it's just different.

The extent of my thumbnail output for this one.
An in-progress detail.
Same detail with a warm acrylic wash and some highlight-lifting...
...and some strengthened highlights with white gouache.
Finally, a bit of acrylic ink for color.

Granted, the ink-line application is only slightly less random and unruly than usual, but it was a blast to do, 
and I learned a lot.

Thanks--as always-- for reading!


  1. Your artwork is awesome, and this was a great post. I wrote down the names of those illustrators and the book titles for myself!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Katherine! Glad you found the post helpful too =] Meant to add Joseph Clement Coll to my list of influential artists (and his were actual pen drawings, not engravings). You probably know his works, but if not you might find them valuable as well.

  2. Fantastic~! Excellent work with discussion of pen and ink, and art. Keep on keeping on and Happy Easter ~!

  3. Thanks, Erik. I appreciate the kind comment and your visit. Happy Easter to you too =]

  4. Great post! I've written down the name of the book. I envy you the early realization of your love for pen and ink. It's taken me many years to realize that's where I need to specialize!

    1. I am glad you liked the post, Laurie, thanks! Wow, from looking at your amazing penwork I believed that you were born with a crow quill in your hand. The Elinor Dashwood I bought for my wife (she loves it too, by the way) has such beautiful and delicate line! Hope you can find the 30's version of that book =]


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