Traditional Pen & Ink (7)

August 12, 2011

Breakthrough! This is suddenly looking like a Traditional Pen & Ink drawing. All I did was add hatching and cross-hatching to a contour line drawing, still paying a bit more attention to lines “meeting up” correctly and lines not randomly cutting across each other as I would in an on-site sketch. I still can’t resist patches of “sketching” here and there and the perspective is still obvious “off” in places, but that will right itself over time.

I’ve transcribed another street view sketched by Ptolemy Dean in his book on British architecture and “tidied up” his energetic, sketchy lines to fit the look of the traditional pen & ink. His sketches are A4-sized and my “copies” are too. Of course Dean’s sketch “conceals” lots of fine detail which I have to work around somehow. While solid forms like chimneys are okay, Dean isn’t going to make every door or window frame or every stucco moulding  correct in great detail. I based the hatching and cross-hatching on his watercolour washes.  Mine suffers still from a variety of marks, but that will come in time.

Of course I’m aware of two important elements: pen & ink can become “cold” in its clinical accuracy; this black-and-white style doesn’t have the vibrancy of colour. Virtuosic drawing is fine as far as it goes and while I enjoy Moira Huntly’s and Bert Dodson’s freedom of line, I’m also aware of what Jocelyn Maughan, Cathy Johnson and Albany Wiseman promote as proper “basics” for sketching and drawing.

If nothing else, this little digression from on-location sketching into Pen & Ink will improve my perspective and my representation of motor vehicles.

Coming up next is a streetview of King Street South, Newtown NSW 2042. It feels extremely odd to be copying from photographs, something I’ve gotten away from, but there are lots of similarities between Ptolemy Dean’s English streetscapes and suburban high streets in (then) colonial Sydney full of buildings from the late 19th-century.


Albany Wiseman, The Artist’s Sketchbook

Jocelyn Maughan, The Draughtsman’s Contract

Bert Dodson, Keys to Drawing

Cathy Johnson, Sketching and Drawing. First Steps series.

Moira Huntly, The Artist’s Drawing Book


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