Thursday, January 12, 2006
old-school pen and ink
Until recently, I never really worked in pen and ink. That is, whenever I drew in black and white, I worked mainly with brushes. I was never a fan of modern cross-hatching styles and was always more interested in artists who drew 1 precise line over 50 little hatched ones. One time a friend of mine who was very good with pen and ink tried to teach me how to use nib-pens and was horrifed to find out I didn't even know how to hold one correctly.
However, a couple of winters ago, I re-discovered the work of some old-school pen and ink masters and I was absolutely floored. I had seen some examples of work by guys like Joseph Clement Coll, Charles Dana Gibson and Franklin Booth years before, but at that time I didn't even understand how the work was done. I thought it was some form of print-making or something. When I saw it again recently, I GOT it. These guys were just incredible artists, and treated pen-and-ink work like oil-painting -- only they just built up their tones using lines not colour. My favourite of the old masters is Orson Lowell, and I discovered his work mostly through the fine "Illustration" magazine put out by Jim Vadeboncoeur. If you like pen-and-ink illustration, especially from it's glory days in the early part of the 20th century, I highly recommend you try and find his work -- its unequalled.
The above sketches are my attempts to play around with pen-and-ink. I don't do much of it, still prefering to use brushes, but I have at least learned to hold a pen correctly. They were all drawn from an issue of "Slam!", an NBA basketball magazine. See if you can guess which players I've messed up the likeness on...
Posted by Michael Cho