Ink Drawing Techniques: Pen & Ink Sketching Basics

Ink Drawing Basics

Pen and ink drawing is one of the most visually varied art practices in history. Dating back to ancient Egypt, ink drawing has been used over the centuries for many different types of art, from calligraphy to tattooing to art sketches and formal drawings. In modern times, ink drawings have been used largely for illustration, whether for advertisements, editorial cartoons, or inking comics. But the practice of drawing in ink unites artists through the use of many of the same ink drawing techniques including hatching, crosshatching, wash, and various forms of line.

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How to Draw with Ink

Van Gogh ink drawingInk drawing is perfect for beginner art because it doesn’t require a lot of equipment to get started. Anybody can begin with pens and paper lying around the house – even if they’re less than ideal for the purpose. You can always upgrade after you feel more comfortable with drawing basics.

It’s also a great place to start if you’d like to expand into watercolor later, as waterproof inks make a perfect frame in which to paint watercolors.

Of course, the key is practise. Download these drawing exercises and sketch away every night. Once you’ve got that down, you’ll be able to achieve more exciting things, like painting with ink and mastering subtle gradations and shadows. Download our free ink drawing tutorial to learn more about how it’s done!

Top ink drawing artists

Daniel Egenus: Hailing from Sweden, this artist is so renowned he’s often used by advertising agencies, and has illustrated for BMW and Nike, among other companies.

Vincent Van Gogh: Of course, this post-impressionist artist is a household name for his pastels, but his line drawings were equally impressive. The Dutchman used various pens in each piece to add texture and weave different types of lines together.

Ralph Steadman: Fans of Hunter S Thompson will recognize this name as the illustrator and comic who often partnered with the famed gonzo journalist. He’s well-known for creating the iconic artwork for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.



Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.