My one and only ink drawing

Wow, slippy, I think there’s lots of emotion in this picture. And it’s very captivating! But you know, we are our own worst critics!!

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That’s so true… Usually right after I finish something I’m not happy at all, it takes me a couple days to start liking it myself. Even with the portrait I made I was so disappointed in myself. I really was. Now I love it tho.
It’s a weird feeling but I guess I’m not alone in that.

Amazing again @SlippyPaints ! Don’t judge yourself too hard, I think the structure of the building is very nice! I also saw your other post, I don’t have any advice on where to start. :sweat_smile: But I hope you try ink again! And I don’t know if this is really an “ink” drawing, but in comics outlining is referred to as “inking” so I hope it’s alright if I share this digital piece I did? I’ve been using the textured pen and I LOVE it. Jesus loves you!!!

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Oh my god, yes! Of course it’s ok for you to post this!
This looks amazing :star_struck: I think Digital art is so cool!
I wanna learn all about it later on. I even bought a pen to draw but no special Huion Kamvas tablet yet cuz I wanted to draw with graphite first. And yeah, on the iPad it doesn’t work too well so I put it on the side for later.

But this drawing is cute :slight_smile: amazing work!
On what kind of tablet did you made this?

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Thank you @SlippyPaints :relaxed: I use Wacom Intuos Pen Tablet. Also, stabilization is one of the best tools ever invented for digital drawing. It delays your pen movement so that you can create smoother lines easier, and not all programs have this feature, so keep that in mind! Jesus loves you!!!

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Hi there,
You have produced a very personal drawing which is very atmospheric makes the viewer wonder about the ‘back story’ which makes it intriguing. My only feedback would be to introduce more textural shapes as your strokes are mainly all lineage p, although this may be intended? I’m attaching one of mine where I used Matt’s turtle tutorial and added in background to support it.


Hello Glenn, thank you for sharing your first pen and ink drawing. I’ve been enjoying this forum for some years now and as far as I know, there are not many pen & ink persons here. I happen to be stuck with ballpoint pen drawings because I’ve been working on an animated film making using ballpoint pen drawings, so I sort of feel that I’m a bit responsible for giving feedback to someone who posts pen and ink drawings. So here goes…

I think your drawing shows that you have a very good eyes to see the changes in values. Actually, I think that’s the most important asset you can exploit for pen and ink drawings, I mean, at least when you’re working on black and white works. Because you cannot rely on the colours variations in your b&w artworks to create an enjoyable scene, you need to be very very careful in expressing subtle changes in values in your artworks. The lack of rich values variations in b&w works means flat and boring works. In order to express a wide range of values in your artworks, you first need to be able to observe them in your photo references. Your drawing clearly shows that you can do both. I once wrote “I think that the control of the mid-tone in your drawings really makes or breaks the success of your works.” in one of my forum topics before, and I think that you’ve already gotten the hang of it.

As to the potential improvements to your drawing, I would suggest that you work on making the structure of the barn clearer. Roughly, there are two areas where I don’t get the structure of this barn, as indicated with red circles:

Regarding the roof and wall, I cannot tell how the roof is connected to the front wall. When I see this sort of drawing I expect something like this, i.e. the boundary between the roof and the front wall forms a straight line.

Are there any cuttings with the front wall of the barn in your drawing? That was the question I had when I first looked at this drawing.

And I cannot tell if the side wall is vertical or sloped because the distance between the side pillars and the wall is unclear. Some pillars look a bit far from the wall, but others look as though stuck with the wall.

This is what I mean by “making the structure of the barn clearer”, but this is only if you’re trying to create a realistic drawing. If not, what I mentioned here is probably all meaningless. Anything is possible in drawings; you may have drawn some imaginary scene with a barn and a tree, which has nothing to do with a real one in the real world.

Regarding the lack of emotional/dynamic component, I may add floating clouds, silhouette leaves in the foreground like I did in my “at dusk” on which you recently commented “omg, omg”. Sheep, dogs, my favourite cats, hen…some animals would make the scene lively. Or a bird on the roof would be lovely too. These additional items may not in your photo reference, which does not matter. I once wrote about creating a new scene combining different reference photos to add some story-telling nature to your art in a topic “tomatoes in colored pencil” for your information.

And then, I will show off some of my pen drawings following your suggestion.

This is the first piece I drew with a ballpoint pen:

followed by these works:

Other works are here.

I look forward to your new works with pen&ink! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :+1: :cat:

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First of all thank you so much for all feedback! It’s really super helpful and I will keep these in mind the next time I venture in ink drawings.
When I bought all my drawing stuff last month I thought it was a good idea to get me some copic pens as well as I do like the medium to work with. So on a late night in bed I grabbed my papers and pens and searched on my phone for picture I could maybe recreate myself, thinking it would be some good practice. The picture I found was a realistic landscape of a farm with a barn and fields and vaguely two people. I made a quick sketch in pencil first and then started with the tree, frontside shed, side of the shed and finally the roof. I waited on purpose with the roof as I knew I would have problems with that. After I finished the roof i honestly felt I ruined the drawing. I took it as a lesson and felt I should move on to the next one iso finishing this one. Perhaps if I added the landscape the roof might have not been so noticeable.
I agree with you on the places where you circled it red. In the reference picture these parts are very dark and maybe make more sense with the landscape (on the side of the shed) I think the parts sticking out of the roof are just unfinished wooden planks. It was very hard to see in the reference picture.

It all comes down to a guy in his bed picking a way to hard picture to draw with ink pens he never used before. I never make it easy on myself… I made my first portrait last time in graphite and it was the hardest portrait I could find for myself. I think that’s how I like to learn, just to try it and see where it takes me.
I posted that picture on the “your graphite drawings” form.

I’ll definitely make more ink drawings in the future and being new here I now have the help of the wonderful people like you and of course Matt and his videos to point me in the right direction.

Your artworks are amazing and I’m a fan of you :100:
The amount of details you put in there is crazy and must take serious amounts of time. Well spent time might I add…

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

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I think I can honestly say nothing was intended in my drawing. The reference picture I chose was way too difficult too start with. I wasn’t planning on making it this far in the drawing as it was my first time using ink, in my bed, in a pretty dark room in the middle of the night. I just wanted to try out my pens. It’s because I was so disappointed in my roof I didn’t finished the whole drawing and took it as a lesson for next time.
Your artwork is so amazing and inspires me to keep using ink more often. (I’m now in my graphite zone)
I agree with you, by adding background the drawing will look a lot better and maybe I wouldn’t feel so bad about the roof anymore. But I did felt I messed up too badly to keep going in this one. I might use this drawing later on to add background more as a practice piece.
Thank you for commenting and sharing your artwork!
I really love the people here and I think I found my place to grow more.

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

Hi Glenn, many thanks for your reply.
I’m glad that you’re a kind of person who doesn’t get upset with critiques which include some suggestions for improvements. When I was working as a manager I’ve seen some people…actually not a few people who took almost anything personally and got pretty readily upset whenever they got some “negative” feedback on their performance. So I’ve become pretty careful about giving feedback to others and mostly I simply don’t because as long as you keep your mouth shut, you’ll never get hated. But when I saw how you introduced your work here, I thought probably you would be OK with feedbacks provided that they are of any use for you.

I am also glad that you know how you can train yourself by giving yourself hard subjects from the beginning. I remember one of my Pilates mentors who would basically disagree with movements modifications for Pilates beginners. I myself am a Pilates instructor licensed from a US Pilates organisation, and while in my training course in the US I learned many, many movements modifications patterns, i.e. how you can make the required Pilates movements easier for the beginners. The mentor I mentioned was not happy with the idea of changing the movements because she thought that by “trying” to do the original unmodified movements people get closer to the benefits of practicing Pilates. How perfectly they can perform the movements are not critical. That was her belief. I think this applies to art training as well; by tackling difficult, but also personally intriguing subjects, you can develop a very helpful habit of analysing the subjects to devise the best approach to creating a successful artworks. Probably you will fail, which is not critical, because every time you fail, you can just take it as an opportunity to develop your self-critique mindset and recovery skills at the same time. Most importantly, these things can not be taught, but are necessary to acquire for your long-term growth.

Lastly, I would like to share my ideas about the use of photo reference. I don’t use the reference photos as they are. The reasons for this are:
a) In most cases, I am not the one who took the photo so I cannot claim that the artworks basically replicating the reference photos are purely my original. The choice of subjects, scenes, compositions etc. are not my ideas but the photographer’s. These sort of artworks can be acceptable as only practice pieces which you don’t exhibit in your shows or sell as your original works. But I’m not interested in producing practice pieces and I don’t have the time to do that either. I focus on creating only original works so I cannot use the photos as they are if taken by someone else but me myself.
b) I have not found a single photograph about which I felt I wanted to replicate without changing anything in the photo. I always have my own ideas about what I would like to show on the picture plane and no existing photos which materialize my potential visions can be found. Perhaps this is because I left photography and shifted to computer graphics and then drawings.

So, what I usually do with reference photos is to select relevant multiple photos and combine them digitally to prepare my final reference photo I can actually use for my drawings. Even the combined reference photos are not satisfactory in most cases because some parts are too dark, some unnecessary objects are included etc. like you mention regarding your reference photo of the barn. So I edit the final reference using photoshop to remove unwanted things, adjust the values etc. until I feel confident that the photo will work fine as reference.

Here is an example of how I have prepared the final reference for “my life as a cat”:

I selected these photos first. The red circles are portions I wanted to use:

I added these portions to this photo:

This is the final reference.

But you can see that I changed so many things in my drawings by comparing the reference and my drawing. Most of these changes have been improvised.

I don’t know how many of Matt’s critique videos you’ve already watched, but I myself watched all the episodes without skipping anything when I became a Virtual Instructor member a few years ago. He takes a structured critique approach to all the artworks submitted to the Member’s Minute and therefore there are many, many repetitions you hear throughout the entire episodes. But he sometimes says something which he does not repeat in other episodes and I’ve found those bit of remarks very very important and inspirational. Unfortunately I don’t remember which episode that was, but he once said he did not want you to send the reference photo because he looks at your artwork as it is, not as the replica of the reference photo. Tell you the truth, I took this remark very seriously because I interpreted this like “don’t let your reference photos have control over your original artworks”. It is not like your artwork is rated high or low by how close your work is to the reference photo. You’re the one who utilize the reference photos for the purpose of achieving your goal to materialize what you originally wanted to express, and not the other way around.

Sorry, it’s become soooooo long!
I hope any of what I wrote here is of some help for you :upside_down_face: :cat: :pancakes:


Hi Maki!!

Yeah don’t worry, I take “negative” criticism always as a positive thing :slight_smile: I really don’t mind and you don’t have be careful about how you say things to me. You can just talk to me like how you feel. You’re a very kind person and I know you just wanna help me and I don’t take that for granted at all, I really appreciate the time you take to reply and you’ve given me so much helpful tips!

First of all, yes I completely agree with you that I haven’t drawn something original and I can’t claim it as my own. I totally understand that and iv thought about that before. But I’m only a couple weeks in my learning process so I figured I don’t have to worry about creating an original piece yet. I need to learn and understand my mediums first, how they react, how they mix with each other and stuff like that. In the near future I will definitely start creating original pieces, I think that will be so fun to do as well. I definitely don’t want to keep copying other work but for now, just to learn, I’m ok with using existing references. (It’s a small thing but u might have noticed I never signed any of my drawings either, but I will, when they’re original pieces.)

I really like your idea of taking parts of different photos and combine them to a new picture, and created something from that. I might try something like later on, I was just thinking of taking my own photos but your way seems a lot more fun tbh.
I also have a really hard time to imagine things in my head to draw, I mean, I used to be so creative but as I grew up things got just black in my head. I need a reference to draw these days. I really hope as I get more into drawing again I unlock that creativity or at least be able to improvise a little when adding pictures together (like u showed me)
I think that’s why I like portraits now. U need that reference… and it needs to be exactly copied, or the portrait doesn’t look the same anymore.
Overtime I will use more mediums and hopefully more creativity in my drawings.

(Btw I have the small 70 pieces polychromos pencils from Faber but now I see they have a giant wooden box with 120 pieces… after my holiday that will be the first thing I’ll buy :slight_smile: I just need it :drooling_face: I wanna give colored realism a shot too and then maybe try oil painting. Meanwhile I’ll keep using graphite and ink as my “go to” medium.)

About taking difficult drawings to learn from seems just more fun for me. I’m prepared to fail, and I will fail a lot, I don’t mind that at all, I still take that as a good learning experience and I’ll always give it my all.

I haven’t had plenty of time to watch videos here (a little busy at the moment, going on a holiday soon to Thailand so lots to prepare) I only saw a couple lessons. I will check all the critique videos of course and I’ll keep an eye out on the advice he gives. I think I sent a picture there for criticism as well. He saw it cuz Matt mailed me last time. (My account was on hold for some reason so he helped me getting it back and commented on the picture I sent him)

At the moment I’m still busy with a drawing for someone, it’s a slow process, I probably don’t have to tell you how long it takes to make a drawing that crazy detailed. And cuz I don’t have the experience it takes even longer, last time I spent 2 hour on a part the size of your thumb for a drawing take will take a whole A3 paper. But I enjoy every second of it and I told him I would make it as detailed as possible :slight_smile:

I wanna thank you again for your time and all the helpful tips, iv learned so much from you already :slight_smile:
I’m still exploring the website so I don’t know if I could follow you or something but either way, I’ll keep an eye out for your work! Your style so comforting…

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

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Both Maki and SlippyPaints,

Thank you both, as always I learn so much from Maki’s experience. I am just learning too and tend to do the same as you Glenn, pic out things that are too difficult and LOVE to have my works critiqued. I think it is one of the best ways to learn.

Like Maki, when I joined almost a year ago now I went through every single critique and have gone through some of them more than once. There is so much to learn from them. Not just Matt’s educational critiques, but each persons style and use of the medium that they have submitted.

I look forward to seeing more you your artwork Glenn, and Maki, your critiques!



I’m really looking forward to start watching those videos, I watched his first ever today from 2015, have a long way to go :joy:
I really love just diving in a drawing not knowing what to do… I find myself erasing a lot and trying again but it works for me. Maki gave me so much to think about as well. Iv been here exactly one week (free trail ended today) and I learned more then ever. I really do feel I’m at the right place to meet artists like you guys and and just take my drawing to the next level.

(Quickly about the covid, yeah it’s been difficult, if done so much therapies or psychologists, exercising… nothing seems to help. Iv been really through a rough hard time in my life. Now I’m working as hard as I can on myself to get back full time at my work. The only positive thing is it steered me back into drawing so I am happy about that.)

Thanks again Teri for your comments!
I definitely look forward to see your stuff as well!
Maybe I’ll see you in the next “let’s get sketchy” episode on YouTube!

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

Hi again, Glenn.

Well, while I was reading your reply concerning creativity, I remembered that I had some relevant discussions with somebody else here before. I searched my communication history and found these threads:

I think you will perhaps understand what Mark is concerned about in his topic and you may find my ideas and suggestions to his concerns in my topic a bit helpful. It’s been two years since I shared my very personal ideas about creativity so I revisited it carefully, but looks like my stance has not changed since then. But I would like to add one thing to my ideas back then, because I myself have experienced something new during these years. The addition is “be as quick as possible for catching your inspiration because you actually cannot tell what will work as your inspiration sources.” For example, the following are the things which quite unexpectedly worked as my inspiration sources this year:

  1. A very simple facebook comment from my gallery manager.
    Well, it is about this kitten drawing.

When I completed this work, I decided that it was a failure for some reasons. But I shared this anyway on my facebook page and my gallery manager really loved it, commenting “what a lovely BABY cat!!!”.
Well, she did not use the term “kitten”, but she wrote “BABY” instead. When I saw this comment, I found myself having a very weird feeling i.e. I took this as a failure, and she took it as a cute little baby. Then I thought that the term “baby” was absolutely incompatible with the term “failure”. All babies are so precious and no babies can be a failure. I felt that I was a bit sinful about having decided that the drawing was a failure. So I changed my mind and decided to celebrate the birth of this “baby cat” by surrounding her with mimosa wreath. Hence this work titled “mimosa celebration” was born.

And fortunately, one of my online shop followers immediately loved this piece, bought a copy, and very kindly, even posted a 5-star review comment.

  1. Exploration in framing setup.
    I was thinking about my next gallery show and I wanted to find a better framing setup for my pen drawings. So I searched for some framing ideas on pinterest and found this photo, which I really liked.

I sent out this photo to some frame shops in Japan, but they did not have a framing mat of this colour. So I started looking for some possible alternatives, and found a mat of a colour named “iron”. I ran a framing simulation using photoshop and really loved the combination of mahogany frame with gold lining, and iron framing mat.
Then I started thinking what kind of artworks would be perfect for this setup. This is how I came up with “the classic garden drawing series”, which includes “at dusk” and “my life as a cat”.

So actually you cannot tell in advance what will work to motivate you to create something new and it is so important that you do not ignore it when something flashes in your mind. In my understanding, your art is not born only when you’re in your studio. Wherever you are, whenever it is, you just stay open and keep listening to your inner voice. Then you will find the seeds everywhere, the seeds which may blossom into your artworks in the future. Ideally, you should start working on them immediately, or at least take a quick note of your ideas if circumstances do not allow you to do it.

As to your first step to recover & enhance your creativity, by the way, I wonder if it might be interesting for you to think about an original drawing with a theme “water and woman”. Since you’ve already learned pretty much about how to draw a woman’s face and water with graphite, this is where you have overcome initial “technical” difficulties to some extent. Then it should make sense that you take advantage of it and next challenge yourself with “conceptual” difficulties in your next piece. You see, there are different types of difficulties in art; technical vs conceptual. Now you’re a bit confident with the “how to” part of drawing water and woman’s face, so you give yourself a new homework concerning “what to” part of a drawing of water and woman. If you don’t come up with any designs for this theme, just go google it, then you will find what other artists, including fashion/ad photographers have thought about this theme. These images will work as your “reference” photos, not technical reference this time, but reference for working out your own concept and original design.

I’m glad to know that you’ve already submitted your artwork to the Member’s Minute. I look forward to looking at the episode where your work is featured. Just for your information, these are the episodes covering my works:

Matt says something interesting in many of these episodes which he does not repeat in other episodes. So you may find these ones particularly interesting.

It has become so long again… :rofl: Hope you’re not fed up with it.
Have a good time in your holiday! :+1: :wine_glass: :cat:


I will definitely see you on Getting Sketchy, and hopefully the live lesson too! I can’t comment since I do not have an account but do enjoy watching the feed go by, as well as Matt and Ashley’s interactions!

There were days that I would sit and just watch critique after critique. I learned so much!


June 15

I’m really looking forward to start watching those videos, I watched his first ever today from 2015, have a long way to go :joy:
I really love just diving in a drawing not knowing what to do… I find myself erasing a lot and trying again but it works for me. Maki gave me so much to think about as well. Iv been here exactly one week (free trail ended today) and I learned more then ever. I really do feel I’m at the right place to meet artists like you guys and and just take my drawing to the next level.

(Quickly about the covid, yeah it’s been difficult, if done so much therapies or psychologists, exercising… nothing seems to help. Iv been really through a rough hard time in my life. Now I’m working as hard as I can on myself to get back full time at my work. The only positive thing is it steered me back into drawing so I am happy about that.)

Thanks again Teri for your comments!
I definitely look forward to see your stuff as well!
Maybe I’ll see you in the next “let’s get sketchy” episode on YouTube!

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

Hi Teri, thank you so much for your kind words.
I’m glad that I’ve found another person who watched all the Member’s Minute episodes. I’m also glad that you say you look forward to seeing my works critiqued, but I don’t know, I guess he’s flooded with artworks sent in for critique and probably he needs to prioritize someone who has never been critiqued before?
Anyways, I look forward to seeing your other works in the coming episodes! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :+1: :cat:

Hello Maki,

I agree about the critiques. I think he may have a lot of new members. I have also submitted a couple of pieces for critiques as well as questions, but he has not had time for them either.

I really have wondered how he keeps up with more people joining all the time.

I’ll still keep an eye out for him to critique yours, and thanks for keeping an eye out for the pieces I submitted.

I did put an acrylic tiger on the forum if you get a chance to look at it. I was looking for some help/advise/suggestions before I do it on a canvas.


Hi Maki,

Thanks for the links, been watching em whenever I have some time!
Ill give you a more detailed response soon as well.
Iv just got the news my wife her visa to come live with me is approved! Hopefully she’s with me in the next couple of months, it’s been too long since iv seen her so we both extremely happy and a little shocked it’s finally happening :slight_smile:
Talk soon and sorry for the delaying the response !!

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:


Take your time and A HUGE CONGRATS!!! :+1: :+1: :+1: :tada: :tada: :tada:**

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Hi Maki,

I wanna say quick iv been watching some of the links you sent me and you’re so right. Placing, shadows, the meaning, structure, gradients… he talks about everything! It’s so good :blush:
Your drawings are amazing and really inspiring!

I’ve also been thinking on what you said about the “what to draw” subject. I think u really gave me something to think about. Woman and water…
iv been brainstorming some great ideas I can work out later. I think next couple months I won’t have too much time to work any of them out because I leave soon on vacation and then my wife comes to live with me from Thailand. So it’s a little bad timing at the moment and besides some random sketches I don’t think I’ll create a lot significant. But I’ll definitely be thinking about ideas to draw later on and I might be able to sketch some in the meantime :blush:

Thank you for giving me all these helpful tips :blush:
I might have missed some points you talked about and I will get back to you. Had a little time so thought I reply quick.

-SlippyPaints :orange_heart:

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