View Full Version : Two dogs and a self portrait in pen

01-15-2019, 04:02 AM
I've recently returned to pen and ink. I quickly wore out my Pigma Microns and upgraded to some Pentel Hybrid Technica ballpoints.

The Pentels are lovely and cheap, but I wanted something even better and got a set of Rotring Isographs.

Then I discovered Strathmore Toned gray paper...and the archival white Gellyroll ballpoint pens by Sakura and I was off to the races.

These are in order, newest at the top:

This one is a friends dog, from a photo I took, and all Pentel Hybrids, plus the Gellyroll white, which comes in widths. There is a little bit of gray Prismacolor marker under some of the blackest crosshatching. I guess it just saves time on the crosshatching, fills in the gaps.

This was a commission. It's all Isograph pens, plus the white. You can put white ink in the isograph, but the gellyroll white is more reliable.

Self Portrait from life - in a mirror. This one is all Pentel Hybrid ballpoints:

I love the way the black and white of pen seems to almost come alive with color. Feel free to offer criticism and suggestions, I like hearing what people think of my art.

pedlars pen
01-15-2019, 05:36 AM
Nice work Mark,nice to see the use of the coloured paper & white ink too- very effective.
Which coloured paper did you use to use a pen on ?
The dog at the top isn't inviting me to give him a pat though , I think I'll just admire him from a safe distance ! :lol:
It's great though to have caught the emotional depth in these dogs.
Cheers Mike

01-15-2019, 02:22 PM
Thanks. That dog is actually super friendly...I think I caught him having a moment.

The paper is Strathmore toned gray. There is an explanation of the process here on their website (https://www.strathmoreartist.com/blog-reader/kevin-keeles-toned-paper-illustrations.html). Kevin Keele has done some amazing pen work for Disney on this paper.

Scene Chaser
01-15-2019, 05:50 PM
Three fine drawings. I like your technique for creating hair. Your washed areas work well too.

01-15-2019, 06:30 PM
Wow! Great work Mark, I love your technique.

01-16-2019, 01:01 AM
Nice work! Someone else posted a drawing here recently on toned paper that included white pen; I like the look.

Thanks for the link.

Charlie's Mum
01-16-2019, 07:04 AM
I too like the toned paper ... it gives an extra dimension to the wirk I think.

Really excellent drawings, esp., for me, the SP ... which has some very sensitive work... lovely delicate hatching.

Glad you've refound your love of P&I, more drawings for us to rnjoy!

01-16-2019, 12:38 PM
Maureen, Glad you liked the self portrait. I feel like it's a more honest piece than the dogs, since it was done from life, which is my preference.

On the other hand, I've sold a couple of the dog drawings, so there's that.

I picked up my pens again because I wanted to be better at drawing. I'm primarily a plein air oil painter. But I was finding that some of my oils would bomb because I'd forgotten how to draw.

But then once I started working in pen I remembered my love for pure drawing. Pen is fun and frustrating at the same time. There are always big errors in my pen drawings, and it's frustrating to be unable to erase.

But that magic that happens with pen...where I get in the zone so quickly, and everything just works, makes the errors tolerable.

I do love that gray paper. I'm learning to leave the midtones undrawn...it's already there, in the gray. This commissioned drawing shows that:


Charlie's Mum
01-17-2019, 10:52 AM
Yes, drawing from life hones so many of our skills much better than copying from a ref ... but, especially for animal portraits, that's usually the only option!

Why not join our monthly challenge ... that's all about drawing from life ... it would be good to have you join us.:)

01-17-2019, 07:58 PM
Fantastic work, Mark!

01-18-2019, 01:00 PM
Yes, drawing from life hones so many of our skills much better than copying from a ref ... but, especially for animal portraits, that's usually the only option!

Why not join our monthly challenge ... that's all about drawing from life ... it would be good to have you join us.:)

Charlie's Mum, can you link me to the "monthly challenge" page?

Wetcanvas is rather large and I seem to get lost-distracted in all the sub categories

Thanks all. I feel honored to have such accomplished artists like my work.

Kay, I surfed around your website, loved your cow art. I'm going to have to find some cows and get reference photos. They look very marketable.

I agree that animals almost have to be done from photos, unless you lived with one and could draw them sleeping

01-19-2019, 11:57 AM
Hi Mark!
I too do many commissioned pet works. I love your fur mapping! I generally get lazy with that I'll admit!
I want to check your you link offered! Can never learn too much (just can spend too much money on paper!)
I'd check the right eye on the lab. I also get the perspective off when they have that head tilt. The roundness would be partially hidden by the nose and the tilt. It's so difficult to do in inks because you've dedicated yourself with that first ink mark!
Overall I love them! (I never draw humans- they come out looking like dogs!)

Watercolour lover
01-27-2019, 02:08 PM
Perfect! I won't repeat what everyone had said.