Pen And Ink Drawings

Creative Pen And Ink Drawings

pen and ink drawing

Even if you’ve never tried pen and ink drawing before, mastering this creative pursuit is a lot about regular and persistent practice and experimentation.

As is the case with most disciplines, simple movements of the pen might feel unnatural at first and can seem like a huge effort when you are starting out.

However, these are the foundation stones of this particular art form. Your creativity must be complemented by a steady hand and a strong foundation and various techniques can be incorporated to make your drawing stand out.

I have outlined the basic pen and ink drawing techniques below and you can use a mix-and-match of these different methods to achieve the effect you desire.

Pen And Ink Drawing Techniques


A large number of drawings created in pen and ink involve the use of accurate straight lines, this is known as hatching. The principle behind hatching is that the distance between the lines that you draw will determine what shade that section of the drawing acquires. The closer the lines, the darker the area and vice versa.

  • Etching horizontal lines right across a canvas depict motion. These can be of varying thickness and can be used very effectively in drawings that have water reflections.
  • An up and down motion can be created by drawing vertical lines. These can be used to depict atmospheric conditions or distance.
  • Rotation can be depicted with diagonal lines, general mass and particular roundness. A good use of this technique would be if you are drawing a planet.


This is another pen and ink drawing technique that involves the use of hatching. In this technique, fine parallel lines are drawn to add shade and texture to your drawing.

  • You can acquire a mesh-like effect by using perpendicular lines to cross those that you have already drawn.
  • If you wish to add thickness and give it a tone, all you have to do is add layers. The overall picture can be given lightness or darkness using this technique.
  • Adding diagonal lines to the cross-hatching will enhance the darkness that you wish to achieve. This is better than colouring an entire section of the canvas black.

Contour Line Drawing

This technique involves drawing outlines that follow the curve of the subject or the object. Crossing these lines is called cross-contour line drawing. For example, if you wish to lend a sphere an impression of being in motion or spinning, you should deftly sweep cross-counter lines inside the sphere to achieve this effect.

Contour lines can also be incorporated in cross-hatching to add tone and texture. The additional effect that contour lining provides is an accurate degree of motion and shape.


Also called stippling or dots, Pointillism is fun and involves repeatedly marking your canvas with dots of varying textures, sizes, overlaps and tones. The final effect could be similar to the one created by drawing lines. Artists tend to use this in areas of the canvas that need more delicate detailing. Subtle effects can be achieved using this technique and it can be used to create a dramatic play of light and transparency. Eyes can be drawn very effectively using this technique.

Practice, Practice And More Practice

If you keep practicing your persistence and patience will pay off.

Using only the basic pen and ink drawing techniques given above you can produce great drawings.  How well you eventually use them will depend on how persistent you are. And again your persistence will depend on how motivated you are at learning to draw.

You can use hatching, cross-hatching, contour line drawing and pointillism on paper as well as on canvas and different coloured inks can be used to make your drawing look more stunning and capturing. Always use good quality ink and paper as this will prevent ink bleed and smudging.

Above all, keep practicing and hone your drawing skills. Pen and ink drawing can be fascinating, with a lot of different techniques that you can mix and match to create different effects.

This article only touches upon the basics. If you want to learn more tips and tricks, please contact me and I would be delighted to share what I know. Also, do explore our other related pages on the sub-menus.