|Pen with Colored Pencils 11 x 14|
I think these latest commissions for pen drawings could be likened to jumping into the deep end and hoping I can swim...
Without the novelty of the antique envelope, it's kind of intimidating to face the blank white paper with a pen in my hand. I can't rely on the interest already being there, I have to create it, with just my own drawing. WITH A PEN.
I never really considered myself a "pen artist"... but I suppose one might assume... given the fact that I've completed twenty of these drawings by now. Besides, it's still drawing, whether I have a pencil or a pen in my hand, so I guess I'm officially a pencil AND pen artist these days.
Now that we've established my credentials (such as they are), these are the things I've learned about drawing with pen thus far, so I'm passing them along, in case you, too, suddenly find yourself adding pens to your toolbox. It could happen!
1. Protect the white areas for as long as possible. White paper gets dirty very quickly during the graphite stage of the drawing. I tape patches over the areas where I'm not working, using artists' tape that peels off easily. And I brush the paper after every erasure.
2. Always pick up the ruler to move it. Never slide it to the next spot where you're going to draw. It will have wet ink on it, I promise you. Even when your drawing the graphite lines, the ruler will dirty the paper. I keep several rulers on my desk, and alternate, to make sure I'm not dragging wet ink around. I also wipe the edges of the rulers once in awhile.
3. Measure and align every single line to every other line. Don't just line it up with the line next to it. I use a clear triangle, and line up the right angle with the edge of the paper for all the major lines, and to recheck several lines. The whole drawing can gradually go crooked on you, if you don't. (Hm, wonder how I know that....)
4. Never draw a line without using a ruler. Trust me, no matter how good you think you are... it will not be straight. Use the ruler.
5. It's not impossible to erase ink, but it's darn hard. I like to draw everything with graphite first, then go over it with ink, and erase the graphite after the ink dries. In emergencies, I use an ink eraser if I really have to remove a mark, but it takes lots of scrubbing and usually destroys the tooth of the paper in that spot.
7. Don't be afraid to let it flow. Look at my Dr. Seuss trees. When I try to make trees exactly like the photo, they look silly and contrived. But when I think about the shapes that the branches would make and the direction they are growing, and let the pen follow my thoughts... it seems to work better! In those areas, being expressive and imaginative is better than being exacting and precise. (Who'd have thought?)
8. Keep learning and experimenting. Each piece that I complete is a little bit more polished than the one before. It's fun. It's challenging. It's satisfying. It's not too expensive. It's easy to tote around places. (It's hard on your eyes, though) I encourage everybody to give it a try!