Drawing Tutorial: Inking

If you've noticed, I usually prefer to draw in ink.

Drawing ink is fun but difficult because you can't erase and you usually rely on one tone for the entire project. So if you want to add lighting or shading, you need to use technique to imply light.

There are three main techniques to use to shade in ink:
Crosshatching is made by drawing "X" shapes with your lines. The closer the lines are, the darker the shading will look. Most artists shade in ink with some form of crosshatching. It can done very clean and precise or super, super messy.
To crosshatch, the first thing you'll do is choose your light source:
Here we will be shading a circle. Something a lot of beginning artists do is outline everything in ink first. I recommend leaving your lines broken where the most light would hit. This implies that the light is blurring out the harsh edge. If you outline everything, it'll make it look more graphic - which is fine, if that is what you're going for.
We're going to start our first direction of crosshatching. Notice that I follow the shape of the circle - don't just go straight horizontal or vertical, unless you want your object to look perfectly flat. Use more lines where it will be darkest (way from the light source) and few/no lines closest to the light source. The best drawings (or paintings!) have a lot of contrast - meaning you should go both really dark and really light.

Now do lines in a crossing direction from your other lines. I like to crosshatch really messily, so I switch up the direction. The important thing is that there are more lines on the opposite side of the light source and they lessen closer to the light.

2. Stippling
Stippling is shading by adding a million tiny dots. It's super fun for people with tendinitis (like me!) but it's a really important and widely used technique. Stippling is fun because it makes you feel like you're really good right off the bat. It just takes a ton of patience. It is really meditative, so don't try to rush or get frustrated. It takes the longest of these techniques for sure, but the result pays off. The same rules apply here as they do for crosshatching: more dots = more shading, less/no dots = light.

3. Scribbling
I use a combination of scribbling and crosshatching in most of my shaded work, mostly because it's faster and creates a fun, loose, messy effect.
For scribbling you can go in any direction, just make sure you follow the basic rule of more lines = more shading. 

These techniques are the backbone of most ink drawing. You just find your light source and shade each individual shape of any piece. You'll find these techniques in everyone from Tim Burton to classic illustrators like John Tenniel. It takes a lot of practice to feel confident! I recommend starting with natural shapes, such as flowers, to get your shading down. 

These flowers were both done using stippling. Remember to try as push your darks as much as your light. Meaning you want black shadows and white highlights for the most contrast.

This is old from my sketchbook, but done using scribbling.

Another old sketchbook piece, with stippling.

This piece is really large, but was done with crosshatching and scribbling. I also used brush pens to fill in the larger areas.

Supply list:
Micron Pens (in a variety of sizes, but my favorite is .01)

I like mixed media paper since it's thicker in case you use a lot of ink.

Happy inking!

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