Total beginner in pen and ink

I’ve been playing with watercolour lessons since retiring a year ago and seemed to gravitate to those lessons that highlighted the work with pen and ink. I tried a few simple drawings, got hooked, and have started the Pen and Ink Experience. I thought the gap between drawing textured cubes in lesson 3 and a full scenery in lesson 4 was too huge but went ahead anyhow. The step-by-step detailed video gave me the confidence to try a picture of my back yard. I struggle with differing textures and tones, especially in the trees and would appreciate any critique or suggestions.


Greetings, Teresa. Welcome! :smiley: I am not expert at pen and ink. As a matter of fact, I know nothing. But, I do know that your piece here is very nice. You have a lovely back yard and you did a good job drawing it.

Try making more darker values in the trees and House.The texture of the trees are fine. I think it is a great job though.

Just like Denise, I feel you did a great job with varying the rendition of the trees as well as applying good perspective. Just like Ginny, I cannot claim to be an expert but I think that if you would push the dark values a little more in some of the trees it would provide a little more depth to the image. Great job! I like your backyard too.

Hi Teresa,
I think this is a great work and I do understand how hard to deal with the “textures” of trees. I introduced some tree pen drawings in the following link, which I suspect may be of some help.

But I used a ballpoint pen to draw these trees so I guess the control of the device was much easier compared to other types of pens.
Hope this helps :beers:

Thank you, everyone - I appreciate the encouragement. I hadn’t thought of it earlier, but I just changed the reference photo to black and white so I’m much more comfortable on where to darken up.
Maki, thank you so much for the tree examples. The detail is fantastic and they will really help me!

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I had to read a few more replies to figure out if that was your drawing or the reference.
Really, it is just a matter of practice, You get better the more you do it.
I am doing the 31 day challenge that is also pen and ink. I am doing the tree tomorrow and while getting up my confidence to try it, I finished a small one and am confident I can do it.
This is also a short challenge nest to the one you are doing now. I have learned a lot in it. Matt goes through how to do things before he has you do it. Some have taken me more than one day.
Good luck and just remember that if you do something every day, you will improve.
You might also try adding a little watercolor to the drawing after they are dry. Just make sure you are using a micron pen or something that will not run.

When you suggest the 31 day challenge, do you mean the “Subjects in Pen and Ink” lessons? I was thinking I’d try these next. If these are the ones you are doing, do you recommend doing them in order? (and if they’re not, how do I find the challenge?)

That’s the ones. I would do them in order. They seem to get more difficult as you progress through them. They also use nib pens and a wash so you will probably need a brush and possibly some micron or similar pens. Some of the lessons use nib pens. They are not expensive but you will need some waterproof ink for them if you are going to put watercolor over the drawings.

Looks like a book illustration. Very nice.

Hi Teresa :slight_smile:
I’m not advanced enough to critique, but boy is that a great piece!

Matt has some great pen/ink lessons on this site. If this is your first attempt at that medium, you will certainly be able to follow his instruction. Very nice beginning, and I love the composition.