Silver teapot   pen, brush and ink

Silver teapot         pen, brush and ink

It seems like some of my best drawings happen during demonstrations for my ‘Creative Drawing’ class. We worked on reflections recently. I wanted them to get a feel for ink line combined with wash tones; and silver shiny objects seemed to lend themselves to this. It was a complex assignment, but they did really well. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of their work this time.

The next week, to continue with the technique and work on perspective as well, we worked from old IKEA catalogues. They chose an interior or part of one, to draw, then work with in pen and ink and wash.

Cozy chair    pen, brush and ink

Cozy chair         pen, brush and ink

This chair was a nice challenge, and since in the first lesson I emphasised loose, rather non-chalant application of strokes and wash, I wanted to demonstrate with the chair that pen and ink wash work can get detailed and precise if wished.  The teapot was done quite quickly and directly. The chair was built up out of light, then subsequently darker layers of wash which were left to dry between layers. It took the better part of an hour.

If you keep a sketch book or are interested in trying these for yourself, they are nice exercises. In this first demo below, I let the wash bleed as I added subsequent layers.

Camping cup     pen, ink and wash

Camping cup        pen, ink and wash

You might find that the tendency with this technique is to blend too much or begin ‘scrubbing’ the paper. Try to avoid this and work staccato, leaving out too much detail and applying cleanly separated areas of grey. Where there is a subtle gradation from light to dark, you could add some wash while the first layer is wet. But for the velvety sharp darks which define the silvery surface, it is better to let previous layers dry before adding the darkest tones.

Have an extra clean damp brush at hand to soak up unwanted sharp edges if necessary.
I used India ink, but Pelikan fount india is also nice, and normal fountain pen ink can give some unexpected effects by breaking up into blue or green tints when water is added.

I briefly worked into the bottom cup drawing with coloured pencil. This technique forms a great base for multi-media work.


Lucie in penbrush

August 18, 2012

Hot day

Lucie keeps me company up in the studio while I’m working. It is under the roof, and hot on days like today.

Recently I’ve been breaking my brain on an article I need to write, so in between drafts it is a relief to grab my fountain brush and sketch Lucie.
My oil painting has ground to a halt, and I’m generally not very productive right now, so it is a relief to see there’s at least something being produced around here!

Above, relaxed, and below one of Lucie’s’ difficult positions’

When Lucie has her head stretched out like the 2 sketches on the bottom of the page, she is expressing some sort of discontent. It is not a relaxed position like the one above it. Either she thinks I’m spending too much time on the stupid article instead of playing with her (she’s right). Or she wants to be somewhere else but is too polite to leave.

This is similar to when I want to take an afternoon nap and cuddle up with her on the studio bed. If she is not in the mood, she will grudgingly come up on the bed and extend her head in a similar way, with her chin pointedly grinding into my leg, something like the position below. This is a very clear message that she is not at all happy about keeping me company, but for me, she’ll stay – as long as I know it is against her (very  strong) will. Every muscle is tense and the minute I get up, she jumps like a shot and skids down the stairs to find her throwing ring to play.

How she breathes like this I haven’t a clue