Thursday, June 2, 2011

Drawing Lesson In Ink Line.

The teacher in me has decided to share my ink line techniques and thought processes when drawing in my sketchbooks. I have been drawing and journaling in these books since I left KYW-TV 3, in 1974.

Here are about one-third of my sketchbooks. I recently started number fifty-two.

Artists use sketchbooks for many different reasons. For some, like Claes Oldenburg, they are a place to explore new ideas.

I use mine primarily to capture my fellow humans, and their relationship to their environment. First of all it is about the SHAPES of the "things." Those things in this case are the people, the counter, the patterns in the floor, the upright oxygen tank, the bulletin board and the different angled papers pinned to it, and the implied door and space beyond, behind the man facing us.

All of the things I enumerated above are the POSITIVE SHAPES. Equally important to an artist, when drawing or painting, are the spaces in BETWEEN all those POSITIVE shapes. These we refer to as (you guessed it!) the NEGATIVE SHAPES. These can change as the drawing evolves.

Picture a donut. The donut is the POSITIVE SHAPE, the hole in the middle, and all the air around it, are the NEGATIVE shapes. There is a saying: "If you get all the SHAPES right, then you've gotten all the THINGS right."  

If I decide to go to the next level and add TEXTURE  and WEIGHT to the drawing but still just use ink line,
then I must make decisions about the resulting VALUES, and how their distribution throughout the drawing changes the over all feeling. Here I've started to add more line, which creates TEXTURE and VALUES.
(Degrees of LIGHT and DARK.)
In this graphic VALUE SCALE you can see most of my options. By changing the angle of my pen or brush,
and the continued build up of a variety of ever darker textures, I can go from the pure white of the page to
areas of pure black. 
Here is the final full-value and textured drawing. Not necessarily BETTER, just DIFFERENT, than the
initial more airy drawing in line.A definite overall PATTERN. The female doctor's "whites" are now even whiter because of the contrasting mid-values around her. The darks in the doorway imply the depth of the darkened room, while framing the man's head.
It's all part of the fun of having my pen take me for a walk across the page.


  1. This is a wonderful post. I hope we will get to see inside all the sketch books eventually.

  2. Thank you dear friend and fellow arteeest.
    I see you survived Memorial Day, and the Wayne Paint Out.

    I LOVE this!
    The first picture is FABULOUS!
    And so are all the rest.
    And the lessons!!