Comparing Pencil and Ink

Pencil drawing is great fun to be sure.  It’s possible to get soft and subtle gradations from light to dark.  Careful drawings come out both lifelike and expressive.   Plus there’s the distinct advantage of being able to use an eraser not only to correct mistakes, but to pull out highlights and to soften dark areas. Despite all these benefits, I continue to enjoy my ink drawings.  I like building values and discovering the subtlety of tone that can actually be achieved simply by varying the line.  I’m fascinated by the graphic quality of the drawings and the distinctive value patterns of fine vertical lines.  Sometimes it may seem like a subject is not well suited for ink, then I discover otherwise.

Take these two drawings of gourds. As a demonstration for a class I drew the same gourd in pencil and then in ink


Even though I changed viewpoints, you can tell it’s the same gourd.   In the pencil version I was confident I could vary the values to get a good representation of the bumps and rough edges.  I wasn’t sure how this would come out in ink, but by carefully portraying the values the result is a crisp rendering of a rough and curvy gourd.



Here’s a rose in pencil and in ink.  Although you might think pencil is best for those gentle petals, ink can be applied in a gentle manner as well.  The ink depicts the depth and design of the bloom.  It’s different, but equally successful.

There’s no right or wrong medium.  The best one is the one you enjoy and that expresses your unique artistic viewpoint.

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