Practising with ink

The last week I have focused on conquering my fear of working with ink. I have worked on three pieces in the recent week or so.

The first was a fun Valentines card for my husband, who is a big Iron Maiden and Batman fan. I decided to combine the two interests and do this at the last minute and had only about 90 minutes to complete it. The time pressure forced me to worked more loosely than I ever have and I enjoyed the outcome, particularly on the trousers and grass.


I then copied a piece from the Urban Sketchers book to start to understand more about that stylised way of drawing. I enjoyed this and could see how concentrating detail in the area you wish to draw the eye works really well. I found the building relatively easy but need to work on my figures more.

Next I  bit the bullet and also tried to overcome my fear of drawing in public working on a small drawing on my commute to work. Although the man next to me glanced down a few times, everyone else was very absorbed by their smartphones or dozing which has given me more confidence to use this valuable time for sketching – albeit this will largely be time based on drawing from photos which I know is risky if I don’t also draw from life regularly too.


I used pencil to draw a photo I took in Venice of my husband photographing a church, which I then went over in ink. I probably spent 90 minutes on the pencil drawing as I wanted to get the detail right but I realise in the urban sketching tradition this is probably too much. I spent far less on the ink stage, probably 60 minutes in all. There are some perspective errors, and there is inconsistency with where I placed shade. I felt like I was feeling my way in the dark a bit here.

However I was pleased I kept disciplined with the lack of detail in the areas away from the church and tried some expressive lines when inking in the many statues. I actually really enjoyed the process of studying the building to this level of detail. You miss so much when simply photographing it.

This week to continue making progress I’ll work on an A4 drawing, much looser in style, and limit myself to 45 minutes pencil and then 45 minutes ink (my train journey is this much each way) and see what happens.

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