An easy way to use two different coloured inks in a sketch

April 6, 2021 | 2 Comments

As mentioned last week, I’ve started using more coloured inks in my work once again and my fortnightly Scottish castle sketching session with Esther Semmens was a great way to get back into the mindset of switching pens.

The chosen subject for our zoom chat was Brodick Castle on the Isle of Arran (somewhere I haven’t been yet!) It was a perfect choice for using two different coloured inks as there were two main elements – the stone and the roof. So I chose the pens with Fog Grey and with Brown ink (both De Atramentis Document). So the act of choosing a simple subject (in terms of the number of colours) is my number one tip if you want to start using multiple coloured lines.

It was then simply a matter of remembering to switch pens when I changed from drawing the stone to the roof and vice versa. It sounds easy to do but it is an extra thing to think about. And as I was talking a lot at the time (and it was early in the morning) switching pens made this sketch harder than it normally would have been. I was also alternating between line and colour and it was a tricky example of foreshortening! Ah! I love a challenge!

The most interesting decision in this sketch was which ink to use for the green areas. I decided to use the Fog Grey to contrast with the brown stone walls, but on another occasion, I would use brown lines for landscape elements.

At one point I picked up the wrong pen – a pen containing a raw sienna ink! Can you see where this occurred? Not a big deal.

Thanks, Esther for another fun session!

Have you ever sketched with two different coloured pens when working in ink and wash?







  • Arlene Lennox says:

    I prefer the look of your sketches with ink lines, so I am glad you are getting back to it. The Super 5 Dublin is a nice ink for foliage. I love the contrast of the Fog Grey and Brown ink lines. I guess I need to put the Fog Grey back in one of my pens!

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