“Steadfast” – Pen & Ink

“Steadfast” – Pen & Ink

20180210_Steadfast_PearLk_PI_140x104mm“Steadfast” – Pen & Ink, 5.5×4.1″/104×140 mm

It took hours to hike in, and it was worth every step. At lunch, we sat by an emerald lake in silence. A few more miles brought us here, surrounded by peaks that–eons ago–had been buried under heavy ice. These were the stalwarts, those that remained standing after all else had been scraped, carved and carried away. They stood cracked and broken, yes, and crumbling even as we watched, but steadfast nonetheless. This peak was but one of many. So are we.

“Beckoning” – Pen & Ink

“Beckoning” – Pen & Ink

Beckoning_ArchesNP_UT_PI_285x205mm

“Beckoning” – Arches N.P., UT – Pen and ink – 11.25×8.25″/285×205 mm

“Beckoning” – Arches N.P. – Utah
– Pen & Ink on watercolor paper – 11.25×8.25″/285×205 mm
(Available for sale; PM me for details!)

The trail is long, rocky and dusty. The sun is hot. We have traveled for miles already. Still, the juniper beckons. We follow.

Deep Woods, Deep Winter

Deep Woods, Deep Winter

DeepWinterHovel_InnerVision_PI_230x168mm“Deep Woods, Deep Winter” – Inner Vision
– Pen & Ink – 23×16.8 cm

Another season. The long wait begins.

Drawing Geek Notes: I wanted to try snow with pen and ink, without doing too much prep. It worked! I used the Hi-Tec 0.3 and 0.4 mm technical pens, finally running out of ink in the 0.3. I was prepared, though: I had another one handy. Again, I did the majority of the work with the 0.3, but the depth really started happening with the 0.4 mm pen. I went over certain spots and finalized some details with the 0.3 at the end. Pretty fun to do!

 

Here Be Dragons

Here Be Dragons

Dragon 1 - Graphite and White Charcoal on Colored Paper, Digitally ProcessedOver the years, I’ve done hundreds of drawings as inspiration and exploration for my epic fantasy novel “THE VALENBLADE.” This is one from a few years ago. My fascination with dragons started way back when I was a child, so “The Valenblade” had to have at least one. (Spoiler alert! It does.)

You can buy “THE VALENBLADE” on Amazon as either an e-book or a paperback!

 

Early Stage: “Somebody’s Home”

Early Stage: “Somebody’s Home”

During #Inktober 2017, I stretched out quite a bit, trying new things. I found that many of the skills I’ve been using for my pencil sketches translated surprisingly well to pen and ink. When I first started using drafting pens back in the 1980’s, I was mimicking the amazing engravings of Albrecht Dürer (as best I could!) and trying to get every scratch to line up perfectly. What I discovered this last month was that I’m more expressive when I stay loose. The first gray stage of this forest interior, “Somebody’s Home,” is a good example of what I mean.

WIP_SomebodysHome

Early gray value block-in for “Somebody’s Home.”

In the past, I would have planned all of this out ahead of time, and painstakingly drawn every leaf. While it’s all well and good to do that, I’ve discovered that my style is actually less meticulous now, and I’m having lots of fun letting things direct themselves more.

Note that the tree trunks are mostly denoted by directional curved lines. I find that if work from the bottom of the page to the top, I can use the heel of my hand as resistance, which helps me to make relatively evenly spaced marks, but I don’t try to make them exactly the same curve or distance apart. I don’t even try to make them fit precisely within the faint pencil marks that delineate the trunks. Everything else is about “flow,” how the textures will lead the eye.

The bracken on the forest floor is done in patches. Later on, I use some of the gaps or overlapping marks as inspiration for where sticks and pits might go.

Here’s the final result. (More discussion below the picture.)

20171027_Inktober_SomebodysHome

“Somebody’s Home” – Pen and Ink – 10.5×7.5″/20.5×18 cm

You can probably pick out some of the new things I’ve added, and some bits I actually “removed.” With ink, everything is additive: there is no undoing a mark, no chance to erase. If it’s going to be removed, it’s got to be morphed into something else or obliterated in shadow!

I have it easy, though. Back in the 1500’s, Dürer was making grooves in metal with a “burin” or “graver.” Every stroke counted. I’ve always been intrigued by this bit of “The Knight, Death and the Devil,” below, in which the master seems to have corrected a mistake. Look at the light “swoosh” shape that mimics the base of the hoof, and the two bright lines that might have been the initial position of the horse’s shank.

DurerMistake

Yeah, I think we can let that bit pass for a twig or blade of grass. Amazing.