Blog #10 Planning With Pen And Ink Drawing First

There are always so many fantastic approaches you can take when you paint with beautiful watercolours. Loose and flowing images or abstract shapes with impactful colours or high realism that leaps off the page. Some approaches take more preplanning than others, like when you need that accurate drawing to plot out what you plan to paint. When that’s the case I like to do a light pencil drawing first and then over that I refine it by using an archival quality permanent ink drawing.

Once the ink is dry it becomes permanent and won’t blur or streak if wetted. That being said please test your ink to be sure that it is permanent, you can’t always believe the manufacturer’s label. This will now give you the freedom to wet your watercolour paper and paint over your ink drawing with your watercolours. Seeing that your watercolour paint is transparent you won’t be covering up your drawing. Those clean expressive lines of your ink drawing is a lovely accent to the overall effect of your painting.

As you can see above, I completed the drawing portion of my painting in black ink first. You can go traditionally by using a calligraphy dip pen with metal nibs and a jar of liquid ink or a fountain pen or use handy ink pens or ink markers that come in a multitude of pen nib sizes. It depends on the style and thickness of the line you want and whatever sits most comfortably in your hand will be best for you. Now that your ink drawing is completely dry you can start applying your various watercolour washes. Each succeeding layer of paint increases the colour intensity and delineates your image. You can add more depth with shadows and more interest with added details.

Having that ink drawing as your guide makes it an easy process to paint the elements accurately and get the finished results you were hoping for. The completed painting ‘Beauty In A Bunch”, was a joy to do and ended up being a loving gift to a family member!