What sets ink drawing apart?
Ink is unlike other forms of drawing and painting because it’s permanent. With pencil, you can erase. With watercolors, you can rework. But once ink hits your sketchbook paper, it’s there for good — especially after it dries. With digital tools at your fingertips, however, that’s not the case anymore. The age of digital pen-and-ink has arrived, and it’s allowing artists to play with that permanence to develop the medium and push creative limits.
Choosing your materials and tools.
Before jumping into the digital inkwell, it’s important to understand ink drawing tools. “Using a brush with ink is very different from using a ballpoint pen, but they’re both ink. It’s a very broad medium and you just need to experiment,” says artist Jon MacNair. Between ink pens, markers, pens with nibs, and brushes, you have a wide variety of choices and aesthetics at your disposal.
These classic tools are now available in the digital world. With custom brushes from artists like Kyle T. Webster, you can naturally create and edit ink drawings. These digital brushes let you perfect small details and easily control large areas of gradation and contrast. With Adobe Fresco, you can blend naturalistic pen lines with vector brushes, and with erasing tools at your disposal, your ink drawings won’t be ruined by one hastily drawn mark.
Ink drawing techniques to explore.
“The fastest way to get good at using a pen is to embrace mistakes and not worry about making sure every line is perfect,” notes artist Violet Reed. When it comes to ink drawing, practice is your best tool. Don’t take your first draft too seriously, especially when learning how to use digital drawing tools. There’s always time to adjust it later. Practice strong, dark outlines — a classic aesthetic in ink drawing — and don’t forget about shading.