Sketchbook and a Pen

There is something really satisfying about going out with the most basic of sketch tools: paper and pen. I love the flow of lines, of ink on the page, of forms taking shape. These magnificent old beech trees were perfect subjects. I found the first one late Sunday afternoon on the banks of a river and the second two days later in a cemetery. It took me about an hour working on site to make each drawing. Back at home, I couldn’t resist adding a touch of color to to the page. What about you? What are your go-to artist tools?

European Beech, Micron 02 pen in Stillman and Birn beta sketchbook.

European Beech (Florence Griswold Museum, Old Lyme, CT), Micron 02 pen in Stillman and Birn beta sketchbook.


European Beech (In Memoriam Cemetery, Wallingford, CT), Micron 02 pen in Stillman and Birn beta sketchbook.

31 Comments on “Sketchbook and a Pen

  1. The pen drawing really portrays the strong shapes of the two majestic trees that you found. The use of the single colour background is effective here to reinforce the shape of the trees; nice work!

    The pen is my favourite tool as well. A sharpie or a uni-ball are my favourites.
    As for using some limited shading or patches of colours to give the drawing some sparkle, I am still not sure how to go about it and keep looking at other sketcher’s work to get a better feel for it.

    • Your line quality is really lovely– so what you’re doing is obviously working. I like the loose washes you add, too. Sometimes, I find it hard to wade in just a little with color, but in the case of the trees, I’m glad that’s all I did. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Sounds like you had a great time sketching. The results of your outing are really nice. I like the negative spaces between the rugged branches. I think when sketching trees it helps to think and create interesting shapes between the branches to give tree character and nice composition. Enjoy your sketching.

  3. this is motivation me. keep writing i like simple steps i know it is not always the case but simple goes a long way more than we think when we can. blessings 🙂 peace

  4. oh i meant to mention since i am chemical sensitive i use basic pencil whether color or grey/black. sketch paper… pen wouild be great i like to try it. 🙂 blessings

  5. These are wonderful! I like the idea with the colored background, sets in a special mood 🙂
    I love pen and ink but so far I have managed to carry only a pencil with me. Can’ t wait for another inspiration from your posts! 🙂

    • Great! Glad to offer some ideas and inspiration. Yes– the color does set a mood and helps to define the main subject. I don’t think it would work as well with pencil…but maybe.

  6. Beautiful! I love how you treated the background with color 🙂 I am mostly a pencil person as I still am not fully confident in using pen exclusively ! – I will go over pen once I have the basic lines down the way I like it and then use the pen for rest of the sketch.

    • I find I get into a good groove with just pen. I just go over the lines until I get the one I like (you can really see that on the first tree). Without an eraser, there is less starting and stopping, less self-critique, and more loose lines. That said– still still usually use a pencil if I want to be exact– usually for drawing birds and sometimes for buildings, because I don’t draw them often.

  7. Wonderful, I always enjoy your work. Thanks for sharing.

  8. The Lamy pen is great for making different line widths in ink. The nibs are SO EASY to change. DeAtramentis document ink comes in many colors to suit ones mood. Wonderful trees with striking contrast of negative space.

    • Hi Linda- I am having trouble with my Lamy! Shocking, but true. I can’t make it go, which means I have to clean it (again) and start over. I have an EF nib, but it’s still pretty thick for me. I love the IDEA of the Lamy– now I just need to make it work. If you don’t notice any artwork done with the Lamy in the next few months, you’ll have to nudge me again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: