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.