Monthly Archives: July 2018

Basic Drawing Class to Start



I will be teaching a basic drawing class at the Maumelle Center on the Lake beginning September 12 – October 31 from 9:30 to 11:30 am.  Cost is $45. per person plus materials.  Signup at the Center will begin sometime around August 27.  If interested, let me know.  The description and materials list follows:

Basic Drawing Techniques:

For students with little or no drawing experience or training. Students will work from life and from photos to translate 3-D objects to a flat picture plane.  Basic techniques include line drawing, the use of value, positive and negative shapes, measurement and proportion for accuracy, enlargement from photos, and perspective.  Sketchbook assignments are designed to increase students’ skill and understanding.


  1. 9 x 12” spiral sketchbook suitable for pencil, pen and ink, charcoal, watercolor
  2. Medium and small paper stumps for blending
  3. Graphite pencils: 2H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B
  4. Erasers: kneaded and white plastic
  5. White charcoal or pastel pencil
  6. Compressed charcoal in different grades or charcoal pencils
  7. Drafting or artists’ tape
  8. Drawing board or foamboard big enough to hold 18 x 24” paper with clips
  9. Permanent India Ink Pens –  (Rotring Art Pen, Pentel Techina,  Micron, or Staedtler .03, 06 nibs)
  10. Pencil sharpener or sandpaper block, or X-Acto knife for sharpening
  11. Workable fixative
  12. Paper towels, tissues, soft cloths, or chamois
  13. Ruler and large t-square
  14. 2-3 sheets of 18 x 24” drawing paper
  15. 1-2 sheets of large Canson Mi-Tientes pastel paper in medium greens or blues
  16. Erasing shield
  17. Electric eraser
  18. Dusting brush – optional
  19. Viewfinder/red glass – optional
  20. Black marker – optional




Last Three Pen and Ink Drawing Lessons

Drawing a building with pen and ink only was the next assignment. A review of perspective was given to those present (see former blogs on Linear Perspective). Students selected from black and white 8 x 10″ photos of different types of buildings as their subjects and worked in class and at home to complete. I don’t have images of these because some didn’t get finished. Drawings were started however.  References for pen and ink drawing were books of Claudia Nice: Creating Textures in Pen and Ink with Watercolor and Drawing in Pen and Ink.  Gary Simmons book: The Technical Pen was also used.

My example is below:


We ran out of time on this because I wanted to spend the next two sessions on scratchboard drawing.  My reference was The New Scratchboard by Charles Ewing which includes many experiments. Scratchboard materials were explained and examples shown.  Scratchboards consist of white clayboard covered with black India ink, so it is really the reverse of pen and ink drawing on white paper.  The black has to be scratched out to form the values.  Colored inks and acrylic colors can also be used to augment the drawing.  The materials included 3 5 x7″ scratchboards, fiberglass tools,  scratching nibs with holders, steel wool, needle tools, sandpaper and steel wool. The assigned subject matter was animals — this was because of the ability to portray exciting texture on the scratchboard.  Ink washes and details made with pen and ink are also possible.  This was a new medium for most of my students, and they did some great work as shown below:





4th Pen and Ink Drawing Lesson

The first item of business when all my students arrive is to place the homework or what was done in the sketchbook during the week on one of the tables so that all can see and comment.  Remember that the homework assignment this time was to draw still life objects as the negative shapes and fill in the background with designs as the positive shapes.  So these are some of the drawings they did:

The fourth lesson was about doing a portrait using an ink wash for the values and pen and ink strokes to complete. The white of the paper was to be saved either by using frisket, or a white marker. Using 8 x 10″ black and white photos, the students used the grid method to reproduce the portraits in their sketchbooks.  Then they mixed 4 different values from light to dark of the ink wash and began mapping in the forms and shadows.  If unable to complete the portrait in class, students were to complete it at home and bring it in the next class period. Because of several absences, not all the students were able to complete this assignment.


3rd Pen and Ink Drawing Lesson

The objective for this lesson was to use ink washes in various tones to shorten the drawing time, even out the values, and pulling the elements together into a cohesive artwork. Pen and ink stokes were to be used mainly for details and texture. Students were to use 8 x 10″ black and white photos for their subject.

All first made a good drawing of the subject on sketchbook paper either free-handed or using a grid. Four small cups were set out with a little water in one, a little more in the second, more water in the 3rd, and the most in the 4th. We put a drop of India ink in each cup, thereby making 4 different values, plus the white of the paper and undiluted ink for the darkest tone.

We worked light to dark with a round watercolor brush, and made sure to let each value dry before adding another. Layering of values could also be used. When all the values were laid in, students used their pens to complete the painting. These really turned out great!


The homework assignment was to draw a still life composition with bottles, vases, etc. but instead of developing the positive shapes, students were to break up the negative shapes with patterns in pen and ink, thereby making the still life objects the negative instead of the positive.  Here’s my example of this assignment:

2nd Pen and Ink Drawing Lesson

The second class on pen and ink drawing got serious about making strokes to indicate value, shape, and texture with several sizes of pen and ink nibs.  Some students used Rapidograph refillable pens while others used disposable Hybrid Technical pens in .3 and .6 sizes.  I first gave them papers with four bottle images that I had drawn.  They were to practice using hatching, cross-hatching, stipple, squiggle, or contour line to value the outlined bottles.  Here’s the image I used for this exercise:

After completion of this exercise, each student selected either an object brought from home or one of those supplied to draw in an 8 x 10″ size.  We reviewed the steps to drawing from life:

  1.  Draw the large shapes first
  2.  Map out the secondary shapes (including shadows, highlights, reflections)
  3.  Look for connecting shapes
  4.  Use the negative shapes

Really good drawings were made of these objects using a variety of strokes:

Here is my example:

They were to finish their drawings at home and bring an 8 x 10″ photo to work from next week.  We will be using ink washes as well as pen strokes to complete these drawings from a photo.


I just completed teaching an eight week class on pen and ink drawing (from 1:30 – 3:30 pm) at the Maumelle Center on the Lake.  I had eight students in varying degrees of drawing expertise, but they all did marvelous work and seemed to enjoy using pen and ink.  My final two classes centered on scratchboard drawing – the reverse of drawing black and white, since the 5 x 7″ clayboards were covered with black ink and the lights had to be scratched out with different tools. For this and the next six posts, I will explain what we did and show various examples of my students as well as mine. For your information, I will list the artist books that I used for inspiration at the end of the last post.

Session 1.  Materials were discussed along with right and wrong usage:  Art Outfitters in downtown Little Rock had been kind enough to fashion kits that included all of the materials required for the course.  I emphasized the importance of the sketchbook in practicing drawing daily.  Sometimes, homework assignments were given to encourage more drawing practice. When pen and ink is used, every stroke is a commitment, since there can be no erasures!

In this first 2 1/2 hour class, we concentrated on loose pen and ink drawing using twigs and ink in bottles.  We went outside and chose from any of the trees on the campus for our subject matter. They were to start with the trunks and build upwards, suggesting the leaves in clumps and light and dark values to define.   This was a fairly quick way of drawing, akin to contour drawing.  Here are two examples from the class:


Students came back inside and were told to select a single object or their hand to draw in their sketchbook using a black marker and only two values:  black and the white of the paper.  This was to be a quick study of loose instead of tight drawing technique.  A review of gesture drawing, sighting, and measurement was given.  Here’s an example:

For homework,  I passed out sheets of different kinds of strokes used in tight rendering of pen and ink drawings.  Students were to duplicate these strokes in their sketchbook to practice before coming for the second lesson, which would be to draw an object from life using appropriate pen strokes and their drawing pens.  They were encouraged to bring objects from home that meant something to them or their families.  Below is an image of the page with stroke examples they were given.