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Ink on Paper

This may seem like an obvious choice, but can you believe that as someone who likes to draw, I’ve never used a professional, artist-grade ink pen? I’ve used Sharpies, standard ball point pens, graphite pencils, colored pencils, charcoal, markers and pastel, but never just a simple artist ink pen. I realized the need when I wanted to scan hand drawings into Adobe Illustrator and pencil wasn’t quite enough (the more saturated the marks on paper, the better).

So, I ordered a set of Faber-Castell PITT artist pens and tried them right away. I was nervous at first since I’m used to drawing with erasable mediums. But, starting with pencil first and then going over the lines with ink takes away some of the fear factor.

Here is a snapshot of my first illustrations using the pens. I’ve always had an interest in foliage that naturally forms patterns and wanted to incorporate some examples I’ve seen on various trips to local gardens. The ink on paper feels really good and I love the contrast of pure black on white.

patterned leaf sketches in ink

Next, I scanned the page into my computer and brought it into Illustrator where I did an image trace. This converted the digital image into separate vector drawings that I could manipulate at will. The digital versions aren’t exact replicas of the original drawings, but they are close enough.

I cleaned up some of the lines that looked a little rough and even slightly changed the shape of the elephant-ear leaf. Then I applied color to each of the drawings. While I had already chosen a color palette, it took time to find the right combination I was happy with. At the end, I left out a color I originally planned to use and went darker with the background to really make the leaves pop. Lastly, I arranged and duplicated the elements into a pattern and…


Pattern of Patterned Leaves-sm

I think this pattern would be pretty on gift wrap. 🙂


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