I switched to drawing with pens in my sketchbook instead of pencils a long time ago, probably high school. The pencil sketches would smudge and I hated that I couldn’t get the lines to stay crisp. Back then, I was trying to draw more realistically, and I’m not good at that, I knew that early on. I was more interested in the story and the characters in my artwork than perfecting the form. Plus, I really have the WORST handwriting/penmanship, so in school I needed a nice fine tip pen to even attempt to write anything legibly, well that’s if I wanted to actually take notes to study with. And since most of my notetaking in school primarily consisted of doodles and daydreams, drawing with pens became my favorite way to draw.
Neatness was definitely not a priority when I drew, and it still isn’t when I’m freehand sketching. I loved the texture of the pen scrawling & scribbles, and building up the dimensions with varying my pen pressure on the paper.
Nowadays I work primarily in pen, but I try to be a little more clean with my strokes and more decisive with my pen marks. I use pencil lightly to sketch my ideas, placement, expressions etc. then I add in the permanent lines.
From here, I color in with my markers or I scan the image & add color in Adobe Illustrator.
When I draw in a freehand manner with my pen, its generally in these curvy and semi connected shapes. I can do this for hours, throw on some music, or a podcast (We Hate Movies, The Read, MmHmm Girl, 2 Dope Queens, This American Life—my go-to broadcasts) or I pull up Seinfeld reruns on Hulu and zone out. I draw them as just outlines, sometimes as part of a zentangle or I spend time coloring them in with fine point sharpies.
When I create, I use pen primarily and it's the medium I am most comfortable with.
What do you think about drawing with pen? Would you try it? Share your thoughts in the comments!
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