Detailed Brush and Pen Drawing – Layering in the Shadows

This is the first part of a series that will show you how to make an artwork in ink using a mixture of brushwork and pen. In this session I will show you how to use gradual washes of diluted ink to develop more complex tonal relationships in the shadows.

You can use the same reference as me by downloading it here:


  • Watercolour paper
  • Small soft round brush
  • Indian ink
  • Water pot
  • Pencil


  • You will need to use very diluted washes of ink in this session – make sure you’re not dipping into pure indian ink!
  • If you use more diluted washes, you will have a lot more control over the values as you build them.
  • Begin by darkening the parts of the shadows that are definitively dark.
  • You don’t need to go completely dark just yet, instead, try to find more detail as you wash over the darker tones.
  • Work around the whole subject so as to avoid over-saturating the surface.
  • Once a section is dry, you can return to it and apply further washes.