Drawing in Pen & Ink with Grant Fuller

BeachProfessional artist Grant Fuller has prepared this pen and ink course specifically for North Light’s “Artist’s Network University”. It is designed to give you the best and easiest experience of learning on line. This course will guide you through the first stages of working with pen and ink and then offer some challenging but achievable demonstrations to advance your skills. Materials and techniques are clearly explained so you will readily understand the procedure and start creating right away. Each week for four weeks you will download the assignment which contains the demonstration artwork and instruction. You can copy the demo exactly or work from your own reference material using the instruction included.As an added bonus you will receive Grant’s eBook “Start Sketching and Drawing Now” as well as his one hour “Drawing Workshop” DVD. This is important because pen and ink work starts with a pencil drawing as the foundation.

Start Date:

September 30, 2014



Course Length:

4 weeks


Grant Fuller (bio)

Course Materials:

View Course Schedule


What You’ll Learn:

  • Beginning drawing techniques for using different pens and inks
  • Tips for selecting the correct art supplies for your style of art
  • How to advance your pen and ink art through weekly demonstrations

Who Should Take This Course:

  • Beginning artists who want to learn how to work with the permanent medium of ink
  • Experienced artists looking to include more pen work in their art
  • Anyone looking for pen and ink drawing lessons from an expert instructor

Art Supplies You’ll Need:

  • Pens. (the ideal pen for artwork is one that is light fast and waterproof if you do not want smudging or fading)
  • Nylon tip such as Sharpee or Pentel may not be light fast but they are usually waterproof.
  • Nylon (or synthetic) tip which use a pigment rather than a dye and are light fast, waterproof on paper and can be left uncapped longer than most.
  • Technical Pens such as Rapidograph by Ko-I-Noor or Mars Matic by Staedtler use ink which you load yourself. The best flowing inks are ones recommended and sold by the manufacturers.
  • Rolling Ballpoint pens which are made by many including BIC, Pentel, Uni-ball etc. These may not be light fast but usually are water resistant enough to avoid smudging by your drawing hand.
  • Dip pens. Available at major art supply dealers and have some advantages. Even though they constantly require reloading, the width of line can vary much more than the types of pens discussed so far. They are very inexpensive and can use heavier inks that would normally clog a technical pen. They also have a wide variety of nib shapes including calligraphy styles.It is worth experimenting with different ones until you find a preference. For these demonstrations I used a set of 4 Staedtler pens with light fast pigment. The size range is .01, .03, .05. and .07.I also used a .07 roller ball which bleeds into the paper slightly to create a wider line than the pigment ink. For the large black areas I used a Sharpee type of broad stroke marker.Other options would be India ink and a fine synthetic brush. Feather quills and home made nibs can give you a unique result but if you are just beginning, keep it simple for now.
  • Paper. Good quality cartridge paper, acid free card or cover stock, and illustration board are all good surfaces to try. I used cover stock for three of these assignments and illustration board for the other.If you are planning to do commercial art or comic art you may want to get some good drafting velum and rig up a light box for tracing. For the assignments here I did the pencil work on the same paper and then erased it after the ink was done.
  • Pencils and Erasers. I used a mechanical pencil with a B lead. You can use your preferred type of pencil but keep in mind you will need to erase it later unless you use the tracing technique. I recommend a kneaded eraser or one which does not damage the paper.
  • Tracing. If you want to trace your pencil work instead of working directly over it, you can buy a light box or improvise one yourself. A piece of glass (taped around the edges and corners) raised by a few books, high enough to slide a lamp or LED light under. Or tape to a window if you have a bright simple view.


Course Syllabus

Lesson One: Getting Started

Reading Assignment:

  • Read pages 93 and 94 of “Start
    Sketching and Drawing Now!”
  • Read Assignment 1 PDF handout
  • MATERIALS: For this intro try your various pens
    and papers to learn what you like.

Homework Assignment

  • Starting with a simple shapes, explore the process of
    making your plan with the pencil and then using the pens
    of your choice to see which ones work best for you. I
    used the nylon tip permanent pens for this but it is important
    that you explore a few in order to get comfortable.Hatching and cross-hatching. In order to fake half tones
    in ink, we need to find ways to mix solid black and
    white patterns to create the illusion of different degrees
    of shadow. A hatch is just a series of short straight lines.
    They can be closer together to make a darker tone. You
    can alternate the angle of two layers of hatching to get the
    cross-hatch effect.
  • Complete drawing exercises included in the Assignment 1 handout

Lesson 2: Getting Serious

Reading Assignment:

  • Read pages 22 and 23 of “Start Sketching and
    Drawing Now”
  • Read Assignment 2 PDF handout
  • MATERIALS- Pens: nylon tip 01, .03, .07. Paper: Acid
    free cover. This is what I used but continue to explore.

Homework Assignment:

  • Complete the tracing demonstrations included in the Assignment 2 PDF created by Grant Fuller

Lesson 3: Still Life Set Up

Reading Assignment:

  • Watch the provided video
  • Read Assignment 3 PDF handout
  • MATERIALS – Pens: Nylon tip .01, .03, .05, .07, roller ball for bolder lines.
    You could even choose a brush with India ink or felt marker for large areas.
    Paper: Cold press (medium textured surface) Illustration Board

Homework Assignment:

  • Complete the still life drawing demonstration included in the Assignment 3 handout

Lesson 4: Drawing People

Reading Assignment:

  • Assignment 4 handout
  • MATERIALS – Pens: nylon tips .01, .03. Sharpee type pointed marker
    for the hair. Also some white designer color or Chinese white watercolor
    for touch up and drawing back into the hair.
    Paper: Acid free cover stock.

Homework Assignment:

  • Complete the portrait drawing exercises included in the Assignment 4 handout


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