my third attempt at pen and ink with hatching
The drawing is the bones of a painting for me, and also one of the most pleasurable parts to work on. When I draw on canvas I use a brush and paint rather than a pencil. It’s easy to wipe off the drawing and start over, so there’s not a lot of pressure to get it right the first time. And the gratification comes faster than when painting, where the end result takes a lot more time.
my first drawing of this little boat, made using Tombow felt tip pens
But sometimes, I like to make a drawing that will stand on its own as a work of art. I particularly admire the drawings of Rob Adams, an English painter in several mediums who creates drawings well worthy of hanging on the wall. I have one of his paintings and one of his drawings, and in both cases I had the pleasure of watching him create them. Rob uses a pen and ink hatching technique to create different values and textures in his drawings. I decided to learn it.
a different view for my second drawing with the felt tips
I started in my comfort zone, using felt tip pens of different values and some photos I took this summer of a beautiful wooden dinghy that we saw in Bucks Harbor. I’ve often used these pens to create a value sketch, which is a monochrome drawing that shows the pattern of light dark in the scene. I made several value sketches from photos taken as the boat moved around in the current.
and yet another view drawn with the felt tips
This little boat is a real classic. It was made using the lapstrake or clinker technique, where the planks overlap each other, giving the boat strength as well as its rounded shape and characteristic striped look. The approach has been beloved since Viking days for stability and maneuverability.
my first traditional pen and ink attempt, though I went back to the felt tip for the water
From the value sketches, i chose one and tried it in pen and ink, to get a feel for the medium. The feeling of the pen on the paper is different than with the felt tip, and also this ink is permanent. I did the line drawing in pencil, went over it with the ink, and erased the pencil after the ink was dry. But I wasn’t quite satisfied with this approach, and studied Rob’s work again to try and better understand the hatching.
The drawing at the top is my third attempt at hatching this image. I tried it first (not shown) on the same sketchbook paper as the other drawings in this blogpost, and finally on some fabulous blue paper made in France that Rob recommended to me. I think I'm getting the hang of it.
A Clean Glass 6"x6" oil on canvas board
Is it too late? I don’t think so. I actually like New Years resolutions. I like the new year giving me a chance to start again. And I make different kinds of resolutions. A favorite every year is to learn more about wine. That sends me to wine tastings (remember those?), podcasts (I like Wine for Normal People), to the bookstore, and maybe even some vineyards.
Experts say that it’s easier to make a resolution that adds or changes a habit, something that you can do every day. And the less time it takes, the easier it is. I have one artist friend that did a drawing every day last year. That’s a great habit! Just 10 minutes a day drawing makes a big difference. I’m going to do that one this year, even though I'm starting a little late.
Above are quick sketches using a Tombow pen. The markings in the middle sketch test different pens.
Online challenges are being offered in the new year to keep us motivated for those habit changing resolutions. Seven Day and Thirty Day Challenges are the most popular. They range from money management to thankfulness, with everything in-between. This year the New York Times is hosting one about eating less sugar! Often you can sign up and get a prompt each day to remind and inspire you. And you can use the challenge hashtag on your favorite social media site to post your results and see how everyone else is doing. Several times I’ve done Thirty Day Painting challenges. Those are harder to do than a drawing challenge, because of the time involved. It's very rewarding to see your skills improve over the month.
Mini-paintings from a challenge in 2017, oil on paper
But for me, the best resolutions are the ones about learning something new. If you’ve always wanted to paint, or gotten stuck with your painting and put it aside, this is a great time to dive back in. Because of the pandemic, there are a host of online painting classes being offered now, some of them by me! Check out the Classes page.