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A Country Home - Work in Progress

Photo of a Country home that will be used for reference

I've never tried using ink washes but it's something that appeals, probably because of my love of Pen and Ink. I haven't done any research nor watched anything on YouTube so I'm very much making this up as I go along. What I've decided to do is draw a building using Fineliner pens and then add shadows and shading using diluted ink applied by brush. I have no idea how it's going to turn out ... could be a disaster.

So this is my chosen subject and my reference photo is one I took myself.

Image showing first stage of drawing

The first stage of the drawing was to get down a basic and rough pencil outline. This was drawn freehand on Extra Smooth Surface Bristol Board. Once happy with the outline I went over it with a Pigma Micron Fineliner '02'pen.

Image showing second stage of drawing

I made a mistake with the pencil drawing that I've only just noticed. The verticals to the small outbuilding on the right are way off. I have drawn in new verticals and I'll try to disguise the error as I go along. Once all the outline is in place I erase the pencil, it's job is done.

Image showing third stage of drawing

With a very fine Fineliner (.05) I hatch in the roof tiles by drawing horizontal lines in a 'skipping' action. In other words, I allow the tip of the pen to 'skip' across the paper creating broken lines. This needs to be fairly random. Additional lines are put down to indicate area's of shadow and darker tones. Lichen and moss on the roof are shown by 'scrimbeling' (a sort of circular scribbling technique).

Image showing fourth stage of drawing

The next stage is the brickwork. The bricks forming the chimney's are conventional house bricks and laid in a staggered pattern. The house bricks are more 'country cottage' style and vary in size. Not every brick is drawn, just enough to convey the illusion of the brickwork

Image showing fifth stage of drawing

The windows have been shaded in very dark, which I think adds life to the structure. I've taken care to avoid making the black too 'solid' as the little chinks of white paper give the impression of reflection and transparency.

Image showing sixth stage of drawing

With the main building finished it only remains to fill in the details. The trees in the background and the garden foliage will be largely painted with a dilute ink solution, so I am leaving these fairly bland ... a little detail, but not too much. The foliage growing on the building is again Scrimbled, and the gravel is a simple dotty stiple

Image showing finished drawing

The last, and most exciting stage .... the Ink washes.

Firstly I mixed just a few drops of Permanent Black writing ink with water to get a fairly pale wash. This I applied to the building wherever shadows were needed. I also used it for the lawns.

Next, with another wash mixed a little darker I painted in the trees and and garden foliage, HOWEVER, as I went I occasionally dipped my brush into neat ink to add a drop into the wet wash. This created marvelous tones as the two strengths of ink worked together.

Finally, I used neat ink on a fine brush to paint the large lefthand tree and add dark detail in to the foliage.

Well, what a learning experience that was. Like every 'new' medium we try, the unexpected can be a pain or a joy. Overall, though there are many things I've learned about working with ink, this experience was more joy than pain. The way the neat ink bled into wet pale washes was superb. A few areas are darker than I wanted but learning to control the ink was half the fun, and I love the way some patches have purple hues in them. This is certainly something I will do again and I'm keen to try different inks .... Sepia might give some interesting results.