MASTERPIECE THEATER is a great training ground for sketch practice. Zola’s THE PARADISE is currently airing and certainly delivers lots of visual stimulation. Period dramas have the best lighting because they aim for a natural appearance and produce strong, obvious shadows. The past few sketches in the DELTA and ALPHA journals have reminded me of my favorite instructional book on inking techniques . It is an oldie but a goodie:
Classic pen and ink techniques were not taught when I was in art school. Instructors provided some basic tips about cross contour shading and crosshatching, but traditional masters transcended any mechanical interpretation of these approaches. Great ink illustrations often use a variety of expressive and informational marks to produce results that are akin to painting.
This is another attempt with a PENTEL HYBRID TECHNICA pen, working loose with a combination of hatching and scribbles for speed. The slight tooth of the paper helps to break up the ink and allows one to build masses slowly with directional line. This kind of paper is really good for beginners, despite the fact that often instructional books advise a smooth plate paper like BRISTOL BOARD for inking. Smooth paper is great for rapid and gestural marks because the pen has no resistance on its trajectory. For most beginners in my experience, super fast lines may lead to frustration when one is just figuring things out. A little drag can be good thing!
Sometimes the simplicity of a black mark on a white page is all one needs to tell a story.