A while back, member adebanji started this thread about sketching on mass transit, and it made me remember an article we ran in Drawing magazine about an artist named Marvin Franklin. Franklin enjoyed drawing people with a ballpoint pen on the New York subways, and his hand was free but sure, scribbling in darks and roughing in forms only to refine them to a wonderfully artistic finish somewhere between realism and a bracingly original expressiveness. I think about him often when I draw in ink, because the medium he used with such a sense of familiarity has at its heart a contradiction: Ink’s permanence can set you free.
I like to draw in a figure-drawing group using a red PaperMate pen because it forces me to either slow down and make very careful marks, or do the opposite–to ignore the permanence of the marks and make them freely. Drawing in ink forces my hand one way or another. (I also like drawing in red pen because it gives me a chance to create with it instead of correct–the activity I use a red pen for all day long in my job.)
What does pen-and-ink do for you? Let us know by posting a comment. In the meantime, here’s a piece by Franklin for you to ponder.