Lately I’ve been practicing with a newly bought dip pen. I like the tactile sense of the nib on the paper. The white is white gouache, thinned with a little water and applied to the nib with a brush. It’s not as convenient as ink, but opens more possibilities.
The reference photo was one I recently took at the new tiger exhibit at the Denver Zoo. I had wanted to practice sumi-e painting and tried it with an ink stick on an old roll of paper. Then I started trying other papers, and on every painting tried a different brush. In the end they didn’t seem very successful, so I’ll have to more practice again, but after a few days I decided to revisit the same photo with the dip pen.
This is the same valley in the Rocky Mountains seen in this post a couple of weeks ago. The brown is walnut ink from a fountain pen, which is not waterproof and in some places I used a wet brush to blend it. The black is from a Micron brush pen.
Mostly I just started drawing this to try out the combination of tools. I haven’t used this brush pen for a long time and wanted practice making something with the tools that I’m planning on taking on a trip. It was kind of tedious doing all of the shading though. Getting some grey ink might have been better than crosshatching with the very tip of the brush pen.
I made a few tries at this scene with different media each time. This third try started with pencil and micron pens followed by a mix of blue and reddish brown watercolor. Using watercolor over an ink drawing like this is something I don’t do often. The watercolor needed a lot of adjustments to fine tune it, such as lifting most of the background when it was all too dark, but I like how it worked. The reference photo is again from Paint my Photo, here.
I am the fish. This project is the waterfall. Also, a pair of staples have finally made their appearance. That means we’re now in the center of the notebook. With this 13th entry we’ve spilled over into the second half of the 25 two page spreads.
I hope everyone seeing these posts has enjoyed them so far. There’s just 12 left now, so let’s take each one as an opportunity to improve a little.
This week was a struggle. I probably tried doing too many different things that I’m not used to in one drawing. It all started by hoping to make some positive changes after I critiqued myself about a few problem areas in my art. Stiffness and lack of accurate or realistic detail are near the top of the list and always have been. That lead to many last minute practice sketches unsuccessfully trying to copy someone else’s style that’s the opposite of mine. This week’s drawing is now the result of one adjustment to the original plan after another in an effort to cope with the unfamiliar territory.
Once the final plan was moving forward the hardest part was probably trying to force randomness and variation while only using a limited number of shapes. Towards the end it became a test of endurance to draw so many leaves, and then a rush to get it done and posted while it’s still Wednesday for me.
Kuretake brush pen #8 with non-waterproof ink
Used for dark shadows. The original plan was to take advantage of this ink being not waterproof and use a wet brush for blending and shading after it was on the paper along with either colored ink or watercolor after that. The moment I tried to blend it with water it bled through the paper. That ended all of those plans, so once again it was necessary to change course and adapt. That’s when the cross hatching started.
This is copy of part of an illustration by John James Audubon, original seen here. The beginning line work was done with a 7H pencil, followed by Daniel Smith walnut ink applied with a brush. Then the solid black areas were mostly drawn with a fine black felt tip pen but some of it was done with a brush pen. The part that took much longer than expected was adding the details of the feathers and some grey areas with a black colored pencil. I lightened the bird’s back by partially erasing the colored pencil, and the background is also colored pencil. A little white charcoal was used to add white lines on a couple of tail feathers that had too much ink.