Hatching an Apple in Ink

In this lesson I will be showing you how to loosely sketch an apple using form based hatching with a dip pen and ink.

You can work from life using a piece of fruit, or if you prefer, you can use the same reference as me: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/PXL_20210926_160845388-scaled.jpg


  • Dip pen and drawing nib
  • Indian ink
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser


  • Begin by using your pencil to very lightly sketch the outside of the fruit, stem and a suggestion of the shadow.
  • Then you can use the pen to lightly trace over the pencil sketch.
  • It may work well to use the nib on its side during this stage as that will give you a finer line.
  • Once the pencil sketch is traced over, you can erase the pencil lines and begin developing form using hatched lines.
  • Try to get these lines to follow the form where possible. As the apple is so round, this will rely on lots of curved lines that are denser nearer the shadow edge and lighter / less dense as the form turns to the light.
  • Some lines will run down the form of the apple and some will roll out of the edges of the apple. Where they cross will appear darker and reinforce the shadow. This is the best way to use hatching to create an impression of 3D forms.
  • You don’t need to be super neat – this is a sketch after all! Just have fun 🙂
  • Finish a with few darker accents one the shadow edge (you can make darker lines with the nib by using the flat of it and pressing down more so that the metal splits at the tip).
  • Look for any details as well (like the spots that I’ve drawn in).
  • That’s it, well done!

Nōtan with Ink – Representational and Abstract Sketching

In this lesson we will be using a brush and ink on paper to draw a realistic sketch and a couple of abstract studies using the Japanese Nōtan approach.


  • Ink
  • Paper
  • Brush

Reference image link: http://drawandpaint4free.artcoursework.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/photo-1605117012605-b68dedd4accc.jpg


  • You just need to use a single brush and undiluted ink for this exercise.
  • Begin by analysing the subject and determine what will be light and what will be dark.
  • Then start laying in the darkest shapes using the simplest brushwork possible.
  • As you add more dark shapes, the image will begin to appear.
  • Avoid adding too much detail or second guessing yourself – it’s better to work as confidently as possible with this type of sketching.
  • Keep going until all the dark shapes have been laid in.
  • Pay close attention to how the intersecting light and dark shapes work together to create a strong impression of the subject.
  • Now that the realistic sketch is complete, you can use what you learnt to experiment with some more abstract two tone studies.
  • Play around with different sizes and types of shape and see how altering a shape impacts the overall composition.

Having Fun in Pen and Ink – Simple Sketching

Hi guys, this is the first in a new series of lessons that will cover pen and ink drawing. In this session I will be showing you how to create a lively little sketch from a single dried leaf using just a pen, nib and some ink.

You will need:

  • Some paper
  • Nib holder
  • Pointed drawing nib
  • Ink (any black drawing ink is fine)


  • Begin by dipping the pen in the ink and lightly tapping a few dots to roughly place your subject on the paper.
  • I started with the top and bottom of my leaf before beginning to map out the outside of the leaf’s form.
  • Try to vary the thickness of the outline by pressing more or less firmly with the nib. You will need to dip whenever the ink runs out while drawing.
  • Pay attention to how the tilt of the pen affects how the ink is coming out (the ink drips down with gravity, so if the pen is held too flat, no ink will come out).
  • Once the outline is complete, you can loosely map out the shadows (darkest parts) of the drawing.
  • Once the outlines of the shadows are lightly placed in, you can begin to use hatched lines to darken them.
  • Try to make the lines follow the form of the subject (rather than arbitrarily sketching them in).
  • Finally, spend some time laying in darker, thicker lines as accents where necessary.
  • This will help give the drawing some more variety and intensity.