Thursday, August 7, 2008


This is the first project from the Drawing With Pen and Ink class I am currently taking at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Here are two clematis flowers.

The exercise was actually to trace the flowers from a xeroxed photo (to save time, and thus be able to focus on shading technique rather than on composition). We were encouraged to use one's own interpretation for how to shade it and do the background.

I didn't rely fully on tracing, as I got the hang of using the classic pen pretty fast anyway, so tracing wasn't all necessary (ie., no need to save time per se). I decided to aim for realism for the flowers and a darker, abstract background. It's a neat challenge to show depth and shadow when you only have one colour to work with - ink at it's full strength, using a classic pen with various sized nibs to achieve different line qualities. Unlike in pencil where blending and various line strengths alters the colour to create grayscale, one must be a bit more deliberate with ink. I used a mix of hatching (lines in one direction), cross-hatching (lines in multiple directions), stippling (dots), and scribbles to shade.

I'm pleased with the outcome, although I think the background is a bit on the busy side. That said, I was experimenting with various forms of shading. If my sole goal was composition and making something pretty, I would have gone for a more simplified, yet still abstract background.

More from the pen and ink class to be posted in the coming days. Just waiting to get them all back from my teacher. Stay tuned!

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