How to Use Drawing Ink

Updated July 20, 2017

Using drawing ink to create artwork can produce a striking and beautiful piece that shows off your artistic abilities. Beginners sometimes find drawing with ink intimidating. Drawing ink can produce a darker, bolder finished product that can be hard to achieve with pencil alone. Following the proper steps and using the correct techniques can eliminate the uncertainty associated with drawing ink and help produce a work of art you can be proud of.

Draw the design in pencil before the ink is applied. Use a standard HB pencil, drawing lightly as the pencil marks will need to be erased after the ink drawing is complete.

Outline the drawing in ink on a heavy-grade, two-ply drawing paper.Use an Ink pen, ink well and drawing ink, which can be found at any craft store or hobby shop. Ink pens have tips on them called nibs. Nibs come in various widths. Dip the nib of the ink pen into the ink well. Carefully outline the major lines of the drawing. Do not hold the pen in one place for very long as pausing will cause the ink to bleed, creating a spot of ink as opposed to a line.

Shade the drawing using a crosshatching technique. Every line counts when using ink as there are no shades or values, only pure black lines. Shade the drawing by moving the pen in a back and forth motion creating many different crosses. This technique is called crosshatching and gives the effect of lighter values and shading. Dip a thin water colour brush into the ink and apply it to areas that need to be coloured completely black. Keep the pen clean, wiping it with tissue when it becomes too covered in ink.

Erase pencil lines once the picture is complete and thoroughly dried. Drying times vary and can be found in the manufacturer's instructions on the back of the ink bottle. Use a soft, kneading eraser to remove the lines as it is more effective and gentler on the paper.

Clean the nib, pen and brush with a pen cleaner. Pen cleaners have solvents in them designed to dissolve drawing inks. They can be found at craft stores and hobby shops.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard HB pencil
  • Heavy-grade two-ply drawing paper
  • Ink pen
  • Ink well
  • Drawing ink
  • Thin water colour brush
  • Tissue
  • Soft kneading eraser
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About the Author

Elizabeth Vander Heide has been writing since 2003. She owns and operates a successful mural and hand-painted furniture business. In addition to art and decorative painting, she is an experienced hairstylist and makeup artist with a wealth of knowledge of the beauty industry. Vander Heide writes decorative painting instructions and seminar guides for professional tole painters. She studied at Cappa School of Hairstyling.