How to Make a Pen and Ink Illustration – Part Two

Welcome back!

In the previous part of this tutorial I showed you how I make a pen and ink illustration.

This time I am continuing with the fun part … Color!

You will need:

You can use watercolour, goauche, brush inks, markers, colored pencils or even crayons. I usually use Pelikan gouache or Windsor Newton watercolours.  These get expensive fast, but the good news is the starter set will alst you for a good long time. For this tutorial I am using my Pelikan goauche.

[amazon template=thumbnail&asin=]

Clean water – you will need a jar or cup of clean water to wet and dilute your paints.  DO NOT LEAVE A DRINK ON YOUR TABLE.  You will, inevitably, dip your brush into your drink, and drink your painting water.  Although paints are much less toxic than they used to be, neither option is good for either you or your painting.  Leave your drink someplace else!  I know from sad experience that soda and tea are Not Good for art.

Paper towel – I use a pad of papertowel to dry my brushes and soak up extra water. I also you a twist up peice to dab water from the surface of the picture.

A flat table – watercolours are runny. If your table is not flat, you will know very soon as your paint all dribbles downhill.

Here is my final inked image from last week.

When painting watercolour images you need to remember and important fact, and that is surface tension.  Water colours are made mostly of water. As the water settles into the absorbant paper the paint goes wherever the water does. This means if you paint wet-on-wet the colours will merge.  It also means if you have a bright yellow thing next to a green thing, and both parts are wet the paint will jump your lines and blur together.  Since that is not an effect I want today, I will paint my image in sections.

My first layer of colour.  This is a solid almost taxi cab amber yellow. As you can see I slopped over onto the black parts of the wings in someplaces. I’m not all that worried about it, since I can tidy that up off the black ink with a wet brush easily.

This is where you have to work fast and not answer the phone (or stop to take pictures!) To get my second layer of a light orange and the yellow to naturally blend, I lay down the orange wet on the wet yellow paint. Well mostly.   My studio is very dry, so I have maybe five minutes to work with here.

The second layer, a light orange, is laid in wet right on the yellow.  If you look back at the source image from last week you can see how I’m matching the coloration of the actual butterfly.

I have also gone back with a small brush, with just water, and tidied up the edges where I went onto the black. As ou can see this has worked the colors into the wings a bit more in a very natural fashion.

I have filled in the branches with a layer of yellow ocher, and then a light olive. The same light olive goes on the leaves. The veins are picked out, while the paint is still wet, with another layer of the same green.  On the butterfly I’ve added a small amount of bright scarlet to the wings in  a few places to intensify the oranges.

Here is a closer view of the wings. You can still see the color laying on the black parts of the wings.

And the final (still wet!) image. I added a final layer of shading and detailing to the plant as well as the body of the butterfly and tidied up some details.

In a day when this is more dry I will layer it between several pieces of paper towel and stick it under a heavy book. After a week or so the paper will be absolutely dry and flatten out again. After it is bone dry and flat, I can come back and tidy up my one or two drips with white paint to make them less noticeable.  (you see them now don’t you!)

And that is the final image!

Thanks for reading through all this, and I hope this inspires you to try your hand at pen and ink illustration. I’d love to see what you have made, so please comment with links!

 – Lyrra Madril






Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *