more is more


I thought I would share a little of the process I've used whilst recently immersing myself in all things ink. I am a huge admirer of illustrators who use ink in a really intuitive way but I'm realising that there's so many ways to use most mediums there's no 'right' or 'wrong' way. That being said, learning something new always involves a whole load of research, I love finding things out myself and this week has prompted many lightbulb moments when the penny has spectacularly dropped and some nugget of realisation has bedded in. 

One of the first delights I found out a little while ago was that not all inks are created equal. In the past I've used ink to draw, not with pens or brushes but with sticks. There is a very particular skill required to get a piece of wood make a sympathetic mark and without any obvious means of allowing the ink to flow, it can get tricky. I wasn't very precious about what ink I used and didn't consider its properties at all.

So when I found out that ink can be both watercolour and waterproof I was a little excited. ok, make that very excited as I realised the opportunities this offered. After acquiring a few new bits, a couple of bottles of ink and some nibs and pens I was off! That sounds like I dynamically set forth and created but what I actually did was spend a little time mark making, getting the feel of the pens, which nib produced what line, what effect could I get with which brush. I read about what paper to favour, looked at a myriad of inspiring images......then just had to get on and start.

I should say that although I'd read which paper to use I rather foolishly decided I wouldn't bother, it was my first attempt so it didn't matter. Huge mistake, ink loves decent watercolour paper and behaves quite nicely if allowed. Unsurprisingly it was none too impressed with the A4 crappy computer paper I started with so that was quickly rectified and we promised never to mention it again.

These images show the process.


I learnt that whilst the ink can be pushed about you have to act fast. I told myself that if the phone rang or there was a knock at the door then it had to be ignored if ink and brush were in motion! Before I started I'd mixed up six 'shades' from black to palest grey. I let these sit in the little, dipped palette I have and the ink was happy to be resuscitated with a little water the next day. If I needed to add a little drawn detail then out came the waterproof ink and pen. I also learnt that there is no helpful barrier when working ink up to a line, unlike when I use watercolour paint, though that could be more to experience and intuition than an actual fact!

My brain is teeming with possibilities now, I've started another one I intend to work the same way but after that, who knows? I do know I love the idea of combining the static with fluid, that's something to explore at a later date.