Beginning Drawing Lesson 4 – Ink Line and Tone Drawing


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Adding the Next Element of Art: Shape

Let’s look at the next element of art: Shape.

Shape– An element of art referring to a two-dimensional area clearly set off by one or more of the other visual elements such as color, value, line, texture, and space.

We have already been using shape and you didn’t even know it.  When you create a contour line drawing, you are defining a “shape”… the shape of the subject of your drawing.

Shape is a two-dimensional element.  What that means is this… shape is an element used in a drawing, a painting, or any other art form completed on a flat surface… like a sheet of paper or a canvas.


Art Media:  Pencil and Ink

We have already used two different art media, but you may not realize exactly what these are.

In a pencil drawing, the media used is actually “graphite”.

Yes, your pencil “lead” is not really lead.

Graphite can be found in the form of a drawing tool we call a pencil… it can come in the form of a graphite stick… it can even be found in a powder form.

All of these forms of graphite have their uses in different drawing techniques… of course, the most common is the drawing pencil.

The second medium we have used is “Ink”…

Ink is a drawing medium that can be found in many forms also.

The original ink form, of course, was a bottle of black liquid ink.  This was used by dipping a “quill” into the bottle of ink, and then drawing or writing until the ink was used up… and then you dipped into the bottle of ink again.

Lots of things could happen… not all of them good… like big blots of ink drop because you pressed too hard with the quill.

The next tool, the ball point pen, was invented back in 1888, but was not commonly used until much later.

Magic Markers came along in 1953…

The next addition was the felt tip pen, invented in the 1960’s.  The first was the “Flair” pen by PaperMate… still my favorite.

Another form, called gel ink, was invented in 1984.  Today, gel pens can be found in most any color.

Which is best to use?  That is totally a matter of preference, although the old standard pen and “india” ink has stood the test of time.

Some markers, especially the kid-safe water-based markers, fade over time.  But they are still great to learn with.

As you develop your skills you may want to invest in the more expensive ink drawing media developed especially with the artist in mind.


I found this “graphite pencil value chart” and I have found it very helpful…

Pencil Tones Chart

When deciding on which pencil to use, compare your reference image to the chart above.  If you don’t have a reference image, you can compare your drawing to the chart to see what value would best fit in your artwork.



Complete at least one inked line and tone drawing

We will be using two media for this piece of art work.  The lines will be done in in ink, or, in this case, felt tip pens.

The tone shading will be done in different values, or shades, of pencil.

The actual term used to describe this type of art work is “mixed-media”…  because we are mixing two different mediums in our artwork, ink and pencil.


Learn the steps to best complete the contour ink drawings:

  1. Sketching lightly… lay out the basic shapes of the subject
  2. Continue the drawing by refining the contours of the subject
  3. Ink your contour lines with a black felt tip pen
  4. Clean up any unwanted construction lines with white eraser
  5. Use pencil to develop tone (shading)… try to include at two different degrees of shading
  6. Blend shading with blending stomp or tortillion
  7. Clean up any unwanted shading


Important things to notice…

Be sure to draw lightly when sketching the basic shapes.  You may need to make corrections and revisions, and you don’t want your unwanted lines to show up later as you complete your drawing.

You don’t want to focus on details in your basic shapes sketch… notice the lack of details in my basic shapes sketch below.

Take you time when inking your drawing… ink is permanent… mistakes can’t be corrected.

Be sure to let you ink dry completely before you clean up and erase your construction lines

Use a variety of tone values in your drawing… this creates a much more interesting drawing.

You don’t have to use a stump to smooth every area of shading… if you want an area to have a texture such as bark on a tree, don’t blend the shading.


Here is my basic shapes sketch…

ink line and tone



Here is my final ink and pencil drawing…

ink and pencil line and tone drawing


Next week we will begin discovering the use of color…