Hey, guys- Here's an article I've added to the About The Drawings
section of my site; thought I'd post it here as well. Hope something of this is useful.
Lightening and Removing Inked Passages
There are a number of ways of correcting and revising inked drawings. Iíve experimented with using white inks to add or restore highlights, but that hasn't worked well for me- I prefer to allow the whites of the paper to form the highlights of my drawings. So with that in mind, here are a few ways I lighten and remove inked passages.
Though it may seem odd, erasers have become an indispensable part of my inking process. Inked passages, even when dry, can often be lightened considerably with a hard rubber pencil eraser- And this wonít degrade the paperís surface nearly as badly as a more abrasive ink eraser can. This won't work with all inks, with very heavily applied inks, or with highly absorbent papers. But with the combination of ink and paper I use most often, Sakura Pigma Micron pens, and Strathmore smooth-surface Bristol Board, lightening inked passages is a viable option, and one I rely on regularly.
There are times when inking a bright object or surface carefully simply takes way too long- And trying to work delicately rather than boldly just doesn't work for some textures, either. Often, I'll ink a passage a bit darker than it will end up being, knowing I can lighten it by as much as third, and relatively easily.
Inked areas that have not yet dried can also be lightened in this way. Still-wet ink will smear, though, so I work from the inked areaís edge inward, and away from clean paper. Smudges happen. But they can be minimized. And those that do find their way into my drawings can still be lightened and often eliminated completely, too.
Ink accumulates quickly on an eraser used on an inked passage, so I clean my erasers often by rubbing them hard on scrap paper. When an inked passage, even a dried one, has been lightened with an eraser, the eraser particles that are left on the drawingís surface also contain ink. To minimize smudging, I brush them away as lightly as possible, with a feather or lambís wool duster.
If an inked passage needs to be lightened further, or removed completely, Iíll use a small piece of very fine sandpaper, 320 grit or higher. Rubbing lightly in overlapping circles helps make the abrasions to the paperís surface more random and less noticeable. A scrap of sandpaper can also be folded, and the folded edge and its corners used to remove a fine line or point from an inked passage.
As with erasers, ink particles will accumulate on the sandpaper very quickly, so I refold the sandpaper to expose a clean portion after every few strokes. If Iím lightening a passage, a few strokes may do the trick. If more scrubbing is necessary, I lift off the accumulated residue from the paperís surface with a kneaded eraser between applications of sandpaper.
Paper thatís been abraded and roughened will become much more absorbent. This effect is apparent in passages that have been lightened with a hard rubber eraser, and much more so in areas that have been sandpapered. Further inked dots and lines will tend to bleed and widen, so all re-inking of those areas must be done carefully.
Sandpaper is a fairly extreme option. But on more than one occasion, Iíve used it to remove an inked passage completely, and been able to restore that area of the drawing back to clean, acceptably smooth paper.
Another tool I use occasionally is an X-Acto knife. The sharp point can be used to remove very small areas of ink, and restore or add highlights by exposing the white paper beneath. Resting the tip of the bladeís cutting edge on on the point where I want to remove ink, I scrape the blade lightly from side to side. A few strokes are usually enough to expose clean paper. If more strokes are necessary, Iíll vary their angle so that the resulting abrasions to the paper arenít all parallel.
I consider this another relatively extreme option, and I donít resort to it often. But I know of ink artists who utilize this technique routinely and very effectively. The work of Richard J. H. Kennedy
) is an impressive example.
© Mark Reep 2004