Exercise 28: Using markers or dip pens
This exercise suggested using marker pens or dip pen and ink, with an emphasis on brilliance of colour. Before doing the ‘finished’ drawing, I tried three different compositions, using different media and techniques.
I began by using marker pens, by both Berol and Caran d’Ache (Fibralo). The Berol were slightly broader than the Fibralo pens, but not significantly so. I used both for a greater range of colours. Working on watercolour paper, I sketched a wide horizontal composition, with the green band of the tea towel underlining the arrangement of fruit. As both pens were water-soluble, I used a slight wash on the apple to see how it would blend the colours. I used a few different marks, including hatching and stippling. The colours were much brighter than I would usually use, but they would be useful if a graphic effect was desired. I can imagine using them to work out ideas, but would be less inclined to use them in finished pieces of work.
For the next composition sketch, I tried drawing with ink using a chopstick! I had seen this technique before, and this seemed an opportune moment to try it. The resulting sketch was quite rough and ready, and it was hard to control the amount of ink the wooden chopstick picked up. That might improve with practice. Blobs of ink made the highlights of the apple disappear. I imagine this technique could work well on a larger scale, perhaps for portrait or figure drawing.
For the third composition, I used drawing inks with both a dip pen and brush, on watercolour paper. I placed the fruit on a tea towel, with a strong light overhead slightly to the right. I wanted to create a graphic high-contrast picture, as the medium and bright colours seem to call for it. I’m not sure if the stark black shadows look strange – I think they do, and yet there’s something about them I like. Initially, I drew the composition using yellow ink. I then went over these lines using Indian ink, and discovered that the yellow shone through here and there. This was unintentional, but I liked it.
For the finished drawing, on a separate A4 sheet, I selected this composition, and worked in a very similar way to the preparatory sketch. I used a variety of marks, including hatching, stippling, broken line and squiggles. I included a small section of the green band of the tea towel in the upper left-hand corner, which hopefully is enough to set the arrangement in context. The fruit of the banana, in my finished drawing, was slightly yellower than I would have liked, but I compensated for this by darkening the surrounding tones. Also on the finished piece, I used stippling to suggest the pitted surface of the lime, and applied areas of wash to the apple, orange and lime. The graphic quality created by the strong colours and shadows emphasise the negative shapes in a pleasing way, I think. The resulting drawing was an uncharacteristic one for me, but that’s what this part of the course is about – trying new things.