Pen and Ink Drawing

by Aug 3, 2020Art Supplies, Personal

Trying new mediums…

Jane talks us through another new medium you can try if you want to expand your skill set and discover a new angle for your art work.

The modern pen

In a previous blog (Art Students – Materials) I mentioned the uni pin drawing pen. They come in different nib sizes for extra fine 0.05 to 0.8

These allow you to start creating Pen & Ink drawings without getting to grips with dip nibs and bottles of ink.

graphics fine liners

Illustrating nursery rhymes

Using a selection of sized pin pens I produced these images for the nursery rhymes “Hickory Dickory Dock” and “Ride a Cock Horse”.

I used a smooth heavyweight cartridge paper and tracing paper on the background.

Illustration for Ride a Cock Horse
Illustration for a nursery rhyme - hickory dickory dock

Dip pens, nibs & ink

Or you could use a dip pen and assorted nibs, this will require a bottle of ink.

This picture is of my own personal collection of cartridge pens, dip pens and nibs, quill and ink.


Collection of nibs and ink


What are the differences between all the above?

Drawing ink (top left)

Winsor &Newton Indian ink is a good quality ink to use, these are available in different colours. I have the large bottle but they are available in a 14ml size bottle.

The quill ( mine is a modern version)

Traditional quills are made form a bird’s feathers usually a large goose feather. Hand cut so that the hollow shaft of the feather allowed ink to stored for writing.

Dip pen & nibs

I moved on to dip pen and nibs after practicing with the black cartridge pen in the picture. I now have a large collection of nibs. I have done a blog on calligraphy with some of my efforts.

Cartridge pens

I started off with a cartridge pen with a calligraphy nib and I loved using it, all you have to do is just change the cartridge every so often. No need for a bottle of ink, it’s a good way of getting started and having a go and getting used to holding the pen at an angle of 45 degrees.

Quink ink

Another good quality ink.

Poster Set

This set is called a poster set and that is because it has larger than normal nibs which allows you do do poster size large letters.

For example, here is a poster I did in A2 size and the text across the top was produced by using the largest nib I had.

The line work in the poster is all done with a dip pen.

poster set of nibs
poster design

Calligraphy sets

Here are two of the sets I have.

First, is a set I bought a couple of years ago on holiday. I love collecting calligraphy sets and you can get some beautiful sets if you’re lucky.

Second, is a box set my brother bought me from his travels.

calligraphy set 1
calligraphy set 2

Good quality paper…

We haven’t talked about a good quality paper. In my opinion it needs to be fairly smooth and bleed proof as you want the pen to glide across the paper.

I have used velum before and it’s excellent but not always easy to get hold of and if you can can be expensive.

Parchment paper is a good option but do make sure it’s bleed proof as I’ve found out to my cost in the past.

As for sketching I like to use a 160gsm cartridge paper that has a fairly smooth surface.

Here is an example of a building I’ve drawn in pen and ink on cartridge paper.

I hope I’ve shown you how versatile a dip pen and a bottle of ink can be.

Now, it’s your turn to have a go at Pen and Ink drawing and Calligraphy!

pen and ink building drawn on cartridge paper

Gadsby’s sell a range of pens, nibs and ink as well as the paper necessary to produce pen and ink drawings (Art & craft materials and supplies). This image shows some of the items in stock currently.

Obviously, the personal calligraphy sets shown are not available at Gadsby’s.

You have to supply the artistic talent and dedication to make the pieces you love. It is hard work, but it is amazing fun too.

pen and ink art supplies available at Gadsby's

Jane is a member of the Gadsby’s team. She has a wide knowledge of the arts & crafts products and materials sold by Gadsby’s both from the perspective of an advisor in the shop and, for many of the products, from personal use too.

Please note that this is not a service that Gadsbys offer to clients – just an example of the private work done by one of the highly skilled and knowledgable Gadsby’s team shown for your interest.


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