INKredible: A Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Colored Inks | Anna Sokolova | Skillshare

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INKredible: A Beginner’s Guide to Mastering Colored Inks

teacher avatar Anna Sokolova, Berlin-based Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

21 Lessons (2h 8m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. What is Ink?

    • 3. Types of Colored Inks

    • 4. Choose Your Brushes

    • 5. Choose Your Nib Pens

    • 6. Choose Your Paper

    • 7. Mushrooms

    • 8. Poppies

    • 9. Buckthorn

    • 10. Landscape

    • 11. Printing with Inks

    • 12. Abstract Technique

    • 13. Lettering

    • 14. Calligraphy

    • 15. Fountain Pen

    • 16. Squirrel

    • 17. Butterfly

    • 18. Owl

    • 19. Owl Details

    • 20. Your Task

    • 21. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

This class is for all levels. If you’re a beginner you’ll have a great overview of what you can do with colored inks. We’ll explore different techniques that anyone can try. Using simple and effective brushstrokes, we’ll turn the Natural World inspiration into artworks. If you’re professional you’ll enjoy drawing more complex examples and experiments.


Lessons include:

  • Types of colored Inks
  • Choosing your brushes
  • Choosing your nib pens
  • Choosing your paper
  • Easy-to-follow techniques
  • Fountain pen drawing
  • Experimental techniques
  • Printing with ink technique
  • More than 10 Demos 



Post your artwork in the Project Gallery before 31st of December 2020, 23.59 EST for a chance to win one of TWO Annual Skillshare Premium Memberships


Meet Your Teacher

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Anna Sokolova

Berlin-based Artist

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★ BONUS! ★ As an extra thank you for pre-ordering the book you'll get an exclusive mini-workshop!
When you order the book, fill out the special form and you’ll get the workshop before the New Year.


Anna Sokolova is an award-winning illustrator and artist based in Berlin, Germany.

Anna works with mixed media and is inspired by merging the traditional and innovative approaches in arts. A member of the NYC Society of... See full profile

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1. Intro: [MUSIC]Most of us enjoy doing a lot with very little. With colored inks you can do just that. My name is Anna, and I'm an award-winning artist based in Berlin. Today, I'll share with you my passion for mysterious medium of colored inks. Well, actually, this medium is so mysterious that when I was starting out, I couldn't find everything I needed in one place. I thought things were more complicated. I've been or rethinking a lot instead of just enjoying the process, and that's why I've created this class. This class is totally beginner friendly. I'll guide you through everything. First, we'll learn how to choose inks, brushes and paper. Then we'll start to explore inks. Using simple and effective brushstrokes, we'll turn the forest inspiration into artworks. We'll even experiment with unexpected techniques that actually anyone can do, so even if you never used colored inks, have no fear. If you're a beginner, you'll have a great overview of how to befriend this fantastic medium. I'll show you more than 10 demonstrations. If you're professional, I'm sure you'll get some inspiring insights too, or just enjoy drawing with me more complex examples in the second part of the class. Before we start, some cool news. Skillshare it and I are giving away a one year of premium membership. All you have to do is upload your artwork in the project gallery before end of November. Yes, follow me, not only into the woods, but by pressing this button above. Are you ready? Now, let's get cozy, make yourself a hot beverage and let's get started. 2. What is Ink?: If you are like me, you are enjoying nature. You love to explore roots, parks, and botanical gardens. Now we're standing in a Grunewald, which is a giant green forest in Berlin, Germany. Some trees here are more than 400 years old, and inks are even older. Colored inks is a very broad term that can relate to anything, like printers inks, tattoos, fabrics, and markers. In this class, we'll focus on the liquid form of colored inks that can be used with both brush or an ink bam. But every type of ink has its own unique personality. Join me in the next video, we'll talk about the most useful types and forms of colored inks for a modern artist. Don't forget your hot beverage. 3. Types of Colored Inks: Welcome to the studio where we have all the treasures. My first treasure is shellac based ink. It's very vibrant and can be diluted in water or used straight from the jar. I use it for my professional work. You can obtain both set in finish or glossy finish with a thick application. Now, metallic inks, I have golden and silver. It's super fine metallic pigments. Different colors suspended in shellac or acrylic solution. Now the most popular option, liquid dye based inks. These inks are generally not waterproof when dry, except for India ink. Also, they have a low resistance to light, which means they fade over time. It's great to use with dip pens like I did here, you can achieve really fine lines. You can also use protective UV spray. Take my class Thinking Ink to learn more. Another inspiring option is a fountain pen with the cartridges. I have a few of them. It's a pen that has a metal nib to apply a water-based ink. It has internal reservoir to hold ink, so there is no need to repeat to dip the pen in an inkwell during the use. I just get these inexpensive cartridges; I have violet color, blue color. So it's really comfortable to use and pretty affordable, if you can handle this box. That's right. These are pretty traditional materials, and here we have more experimental ones. For example, this is a new format created for Inktober challenge and the inks are presented like a color sheets. We have a wax paper to protect the inks. The colors are vibrant. Let me show you the artwork I did with them, so you will see the difference. The colors are very bright, but they differ a lot. It's fun to use, but I wouldn't recommend it for professional work. But it's a fun new form. Just for you to know. Another fun option is a brush pen. I'm sure you've seen a lot of them lately from various brands. It's like a liquid inks or liquid watercolors. It's awesome to use for lettering or on the go or for sketching outside. For example, sketching in the forest. I'll show you a few demonstrations in the class. There are also various markers. These are alcohol-based markers which are colored inks mixed with alcohol. You can make an awesome blending with just a few colors without water. I've got a whole class dedicated to that. If you're interested, you can check it out later. Here I used just three colors without any blender or water. Now let's move forward to learn more about materials. 4. Choose Your Brushes: Let's talk about choosing your brushes. The good news is that you don't have to buy anything expensive for inks. It works with everything and with anything, even without any brushes at all. But I'm sure you are curious. Of course, you want to experiment. So let me show you the most interesting types of brushes for colored inks. Here they are. These are the brushes I mostly use. These are synthetic round watercolor brushes of various sizes; large and small. This one is a flat brush, it's suited for blind straight lines. I know many artists love it and use it a lot, but I don't use it much. Chinese brush aka oriental brush, it can vary in sizes and can hold water really well. This is one of my favorites too. It's called French brush or a mop brush. It has a special construction to hold a lot of water, so you can make both large and fine brush strokes. Next one is going to be a fan brush. It's great for experimenting and for making unusual marks. The wash brush, it's great for your arsenal if you use a lot of water. It makes large washes, I will show it later in the class. As for my favorite brushes, here's the artwork I've recently painted as a book illustration with colored inks. For the whole illustration I used just these two brushes; small one for outlines and the larger one for washes. You can use what you love. 5. Choose Your Nib Pens: You can use almost anything to make marks. If you use different inks and if you diversify your line, you can create artworks of amazing energy and depth. For the final slides, you can use a dip pen or a bamboo pen, aka reed pen. Looks weird? Sounds weird? Not at all. Let's take a closer look at this both options. These dip pens, I usually use for traditional ink drawings and calligraphy. The most popular option is to get a holder and some nibs of your choice. They're very inexpensive, so I advise you to just buy a few and try them out. This one is for calligraphy, but I use it for drawing too. This way, you can see the lines very comfortable. I have a favorite one with integrated nib, so I can't change it, but it's so awesome. Let me show you what I did with it. I got this one in Italy. I have created this artwork for a book cover and used the nib pen with colored inks. You can see that the hatching is used for defining the shadows, and all the small fine details are very clear too. You can check my class, Think in INK, if you're interested in more detailed practice. For the tail here, I used a small round brush. What we have left here is this unusual reed pen. I rarely use it for my work, but it can make very expressive strokes. Let's check it out. I'll take this huge bottle of gray ink and show you the line. It's very unusual if compared to the dip pen. This drawing and also a writing tool is made from carving and shaping a straw reed or bamboo. It's great for expressive painting since you can achieve a huge variety of lines and very unusual textures. This expressive flower is very oriental looking. You have to dip it pretty often, but it's okay. You can also splatter ink like this to have a bit abstract effect, or you can use the side of a reed pen like so or so to experiment with mark-making. I think we're ready to move to the next video. 6. Choose Your Paper: I'm sure you've seen a lot of special for ink paper in our supply stores. But I found that for colored inks, watercolor paper works best. There are myriads of options, but there are three main surfaces to choose from. Rough paper. It has a lot of tooth and works great for landscapes and abstract art. Cold-pressed paper. That's my personal favorite. It has a slightly rough finish and can be used for both details and expressive lines. Hot-pressed paper. It has the smoothest surface for tiny details and very fine lines, but it is less forgiving. Same goes for Bristol paper and toned paper. I mostly use weight of 300 GSM. For my professional work, I use a lot of layers, so this paper takes more ink. Now I think we're ready to start practicing. Let's move on. 7. Mushrooms: Welcome to the studio. We begin with a simple warm-up before drawing a mushroom. It's a shape in the form of C letter, and I fill the whole sheet of paper with it. It helps to relax and ease the pressure. I'm working with a brush band but, of course, you can use a normal brush with liquid inks of any form. I tried to make different letters, but I'm sure you've already guessed that this looks like a mushroom cap. It gets easier and easier, and I will change the color just to add interest. So now it will look more like a mushroom's cap, various angles. Another C and another C. Here's the difference between standard brush pen and a French brush. The variety is huge, let me show you. This is a mop brush or French brush. The same cap looks very different like so. You can see it's almost a mushroom. Now I'll practice a bit and we will have some space left. I will show you another practice in example. I'm going to take a brush pen or any brush you have and draw with a side of it like this and this. This fun exercise is great for the hand especially if you will change the angle. Wait a bit. Different sides, different sides. I should switch the color so it will look more interesting. Now the angle, the side of the brush, and I'm filling the whole sheet of paper with this mark making. There is still some place left. So I will use different angles and different sides of the brush to make marks. This is very relaxing exercise, and I love the texture. A few more strokes, and this will be enough using the brush pen. As a result, we can draw a simple mushroom using what we have learned just now. I'm working on the watercolor smooth paper, and here is our famous stroke and a another one on top of it. The mushroom cap is almost ready. Now let's switch the angle texture. It will look imperfect like in nature, of course. Let's change the angle one more time. This will be almost a circle. Note how I try to follow the shape. Now it's time to draw a stripe. With a few lines, I draw the outline. Then I will fill it using the set of the brush like we did in practicing. Adding some gills, a dot, and a line, and a dot and the line very lightly. There's always white space left. So with the tip of the brush, I'm filling this texture, you can add some shadow over the first layer. Now the second one, and then same routine, the outline, then I will use the side of the brush, like so and you've dot and the line, dot and the line. I always try to define the shape of the mushroom better. So I move in a specific direction, and additional shadow will look nice, and another angle. Let's add this shadow. Oh, this brush bounds are full of unpleasant surprises sometimes. These blobs are not welcome. I draw the outline and repeat everything again. You can combine different colors, of course. Mushrooms are very popular in food illustration, resides as surface button design. I'm sure you've seen a lot of it. The more you practice, the easy it will get. Just don't overwork this simple design. This is very basic one. Just make sure there is always white space left. It's a very simple and effective way to draw a mushroom. Now let's move on to the next demonstration. 8. Poppies: Let's create one of my favorite flowers, poppies. I've mounted the watercolor paper using the paper tape. I'm using this cold pressed paper. We will pick some colors. I have a sketchbook with swatches here. This technique is based on contrasts, so I pick the yellow as the main color. Of course, you can use any colors, and the red color as a contrast. We will also need green for leaves. I use olive green usually, but it's not that important, and turquoise for a bold accent. Let me show you how it works. These are the basic principles. This technique is super-helpful. You can use it in so many ways. It works with water colors too. I'm preparing the main color and a bit of deep red. Now, I will take a fringe, aka mop brush, and fill it with orange, then dip in red a bit. Yeah. Roll it like this. I roll it in my hand like a roller. It reminds a bit of printmaking technique. So beautiful color combination, and this is the principle we will use in drawing poppies. I will begin with a large petal, the brush with orange, then dip it in red. Changing the angle I think a little bit, maybe, I think a lot. Try to create the shape while rolling the brush in my hand. Paper towel can be helpful if there's too much water. I try to change the angles to find interesting solutions. These forms can be very unusual. I really can't wait to see what you create, because there are so many possibilities. I'm trying to keep the white or light orange between petals. It's a very loose manner of drawing poppies. So it can be much more detailed if you want it to be. All the strokes are very different. So I change the angle and it's really hard to make the similar ones. You will definitely have your own unique artwork anyway. I will continue working in the same manner on the other flowers, petal by petal. While our flowers are getting try, we'll prepare some green. Oops, yeah, that can happen. It's really convenient to have two colors ready; the lighter one and the thick one. The lighter one, the lighter green will be diluted in water, like this, and the thick one is straight from the bottle. You will see why I'm planning the work like this. I'll take synthetic round brush and work with whitewash on the leaves. In this loose manner, it's really hard to make a mistake. No precise work is needed. So I just paint as I feel. When I paint, I think about composition in general. So I fill the space here and there, and I also think that this design can work as a surface pattern afterwards. So I draw loose leaves in very, very bold shapes. Round brushes are perfect for that kind of work. It's important to have different direction of the leaves and various strokes. So not every mark is the same. I fill the space. Maybe here, it's close to the edge, but not so much. I have enough space. I can also add a darker color if I feel like it. I already think about the next step, which will be the pride and bold middle. A few strokes. Yeah, it's almost enough for the first layer. So we have this middle, it should be really, really bright. That's why we have this turquoise color. We need just a little bit. It's really vibrant. So I take this with a clean brush. Color and put it here. It works great with orange. You can see right away. It's a very loose stroke, so the white edge is very important also. Yeah, super. Now, when we're almost done at this stage, I think we should really save some time and use this electric machine to dry everything. Beware. Our canvas is dry. With a thick, deep green, I'm drawing the fine lines in the middle. That's my plan. The first stroke, and I think the brush is too thick, I will change it. I need the final brush. Where is my small one? Here it is. So with the finest brush, I make some marks and fine lines right on top of blue, turquoise, to be precise. These is very, very scattered dots without pure logic. So the whole matter of the painting is very loose. Note that we're not using black color at all. This green is dark enough and it complements the whole composition. So we are working without black color here. Few dots. I use various directions, and this one. It looks beautiful on the white of the page we left. It really shines. Now, it's time for the second layer on the leaves. With the darker green, I will work on different leaves all over the painting with a bigger brush. We can also add more shadows, just if you want to define edges a bit. But that's not necessary though. It gives more three-dimensional feel. I use it sometimes. If you want to add some brightness to the artwork, yellow can work really great, but I better show it in the next video. We will have the whole artwork dedicated to the yellow color. I think we did a beautiful artwork and with a bit of yellow here, and here. We can move to the next video and explore even more. 9. Buckthorn: Welcome back. We have a beautiful sketch here and I light it a bit with a kneaded eraser. You'll find this sketch in class resources 2. I always use kneaded eraser to lighten the sketch. It's very comfortable and we won't see bright pencil cell. In this demo I'll be using these three colors. So basically it's yellow, orange, and green. This will work with any types of colored inks. I will prepare the colors right away so I won't have to spend some time near in the painting. You can see the contrast between this colors already. One will be for highlights and another for shadows. I will define the shape of a berry with a yellow starting like so. I'm leaving the white of the page as a highlight. This is crucial for this technique. Then I add orange on the other side like so. This will build up a shape. When dry, this will have a wonderful three-dimensional effect. You will see. It's very important to keep the white of the paper and the edges of the berries. I'm doing the same with the rest of the berries, keeping the white of the paper as a highlight, yellow as a highlight, and adding orange to define the shapes. When working with orange, I always think about the shape of a berry. So I try to define it using the brush and the color together. I work on every berry separately. Pay special attention to the edge. While the berries are getting dry we can work on the leaves. Where is our famous olive green color? Here it is. I'll take the green and divide it into two little puff, the lighter one and the darker one. As you can suggest, this one will go for the first layer and then we will work on details with a thicker ink. I will draw various leaves combining both colors starting with a lighter mix. I'm trying to avoid full outline and keep the whole brushwork very light. We can even add yellow essence afterwards. I will scan this artwork so you'll have a better impression. Yellow color can add a balance to the whole composition so everything will look in the same tint. Before adding final details, let's try everything. Beware of this electric weapon. The artwork is dry and we can add details with a thick green ink. I work on the top of the berries and add these small strokes, small dots, I would say. Four tiny dots. I carefully think about the place where to put them. So you can see that every berry is facing different direction and it's important to keep it this way. So even this tiny stroke can make a huge difference. That's the whole principle of inks. Here I really love this Chinese approach to inks. Yeah, we can add some shadows here and define leaves better. Now we can add more shadows, wash it a bit, and just leave the details according to how it feels, right. That's it. I think we did a beautiful painting. Final details. Join me in the next video, you will be surprised. 10. Landscape: How do you feel about your first artworks? I know it's not as easy as it seems, but I'm sure you did a great job. Don't forget to upload it to the project gallery. Now you're thinking, why am I holding this spatel in my hand? By the way, it's a German word. Now, I am not a construction worker, I just want to share with you some experimental and yes, maybe questionable techniques for colored inks. We'll start by drawing a landscape using a palette knife. Let's get back to the studio. This object looks familiar. Let me show you what you can do with it using any sort of thick colored inks or actually any paint. I'm using them right from the bottle, to have these painterly consistency. Acrylic inks, shellac inks, all will work great. Another color, and you will see it looks so awesome. A few dots, and now magic. By using different sides of pallet knife, I make various strokes and it's so satisfying. I really hope you'll try it just by changing angle a bit, the beautiful abstraction comes to life. My palette knife is pretty soft and you can use any type of knife. Maybe even real life, but I'm not sure. It looks awesome. You can try different colors and it will always look in a very expressive manner. Now you can even try some mark making. Let me show you another example, I'll clean the knife. Another example is also very simple version of a mountain. I will use a bit of brown and I think I will mix it with green too. It's not very typical color for mountain, but it's the principle we're studying here. Now I'm dragging the ink all over the paper like so. I use different angles, and I'm pushing the ink right on the surface. I don't have any further reference, just I think we all know how the mountain looks like. It's a general impression of the mountain. I think we can even add a ground or maybe water depending on the geography, usually something like this, and maybe even trees. Some artists use the palette knife for the whole painting, using gouache, watercolor, oil paint, acrylics, anything. These are trees, imaginary trees. These are really easy to draw, if you may say so. Yeah, and we have a ready finished landscape. This technique is so inspiring. I hope you will try it. Yeah, something like this. Next I will show you a beautiful landscape painting inspired by Tuscany, Italy. I'll be using large sheet of paper and a big wash brush. As colors I've picked, inspiring warm colors yellow, olive green and as a contrast, I think is sienna. The typical Tuscany colors if you know, if you've been there. I will have blue as a contrast just a little bit. The wash brush allows to take a lot of water which is crucial for this technique. You will see. I dip it into water, a lot, yeah, even more, then in yellow, in green, and a brave stroke, and one more and one more. More yellow, one last stroke. This is a very brave stroke. You have to let yourself go, in some psychological sense of the word. You don't have to be afraid of spoiling anything, when you work with such large wash brush. All the elements will look beautiful. I build up the composition randomly and I change the direction of the brush, and I use a paper towel to remove excessive water from the brush. I just paint how it feels right, whatever that means to you. One by one I add various angles where I feel more pigment is needed. Get rid of excessive water, and add blue, very light. Yeah, like so. It's almost enough. Yeah, we'll make it dry. What else? What else can we do at this stage? Almost nothing. Well, of course you can use the secret weapon to add more texture. Sometimes it's really awesome, and we will dry everything. It is dry and it's time for beautiful Cypress Tuscany trees. You've seen them many times. I'm using the tip of the wash brush to paint or to draw these trees, it's a great technique, you should really try it. It's a great idea to used fine brush for details on the trees. I use this to add texture and rough strokes here and there especially on the foreground just to correct the shapes. I will work all over the whole painting. Next step will be to add shadows with burnt sienna. Note the three-dimensional feel adds the direction of shadows, like the sun is high above. This magical secret is a really secret source of this type of imagery. If you use this shadow effect, this will bring three-dimensional feel and in general the cheerful feel to your painting. I work on every tree. There are not so many, so don't be lazy at this point or at any other point. Add shadows in different directions. It's almost like a sand clock. Every tree deserves attention at this point. I sound very philosophical. Our wonderful landscape is finished and join me in the next video to learn more about other inspiring experiments. 11. Printing with Inks: Welcome back. I hope you enjoyed the first experiment. Now we're going to print with colored inks. You can print with almost anything: feathers, leaves, grass, fruits, and vegetables cut into shapes. Where our atmospheric cloth, I'm gathering some autumn leaves and objects right in the forest. I hope I will not meet foxes or other fluffy friends today, but maybe I will find some feathers. Even though some objects repel the ink, you can carefully rub the surface with soap to remove the oil. That's right. Let's move to the next video and see how it works. 12. Abstract Technique: I have a large sheet of hot-pressed watercolor paper ready. I'll put a lot of water using a wash brush of course. I didn't put any tape here it's just a little sheet of paper. A lot of water, we need a lot, a lot, a lot. For this technique to surprise you, you should be ready for the uncontrolled environment, whatever that means. Now the interesting part. I'll put some colored ink on the forest treasure like this. Of course you can use any colored inks. It's a dye ink. I use a brush bound, but it will work with anything. I'm anticipating magical effect, but now I carefully, carefully paint over these leaf. It's almost done. Almost enough. It's enough, almost enough. Now be prepared for the magic trick. It almost happening. It's happening. Look, it's so magical. It has a life of its own. I try different angles. This can be turned into beautiful surface pattern design or just abstract painting. Now we can just continue experimenting. If you put more water or more ink, the result will be different. I advise you to try dry paper, to try damp paper. Different options, different combinations. Like in my monotype class, if you've seen it. This is awesome. It's a very expressionist painting we have here and I feel I need a contrast. Not that much, but yellow will work great. Without any doubt, a few drops here and they will react with the dye-based ink. Some unexpected surprises may happen. Yeah. I'm sure you will try this technique and create something really magical and beautiful. Red essence, just a few. You can notice that we have a general color of green and then a few essence here and here. The most difficult part in this technique is to stop. Because honestly I can't stop and I try to print over again and again. Well, yeah, maybe I shouldn't have done that. But there are no rules so I try more and more. I think we should move to the next video. We will explore lettering with colored inks and then calligraphy in Russian, in Cyrillic. If you're not afraid, let's move on. 13. Lettering: One more amazing technique for colored inks is lettering and calligraphy. It's more than just producing beautiful handwriting. It can take so many shapes of meaningful symbols and messages. So even without any previous experience, it can lighten up your sketchbook in an instant. Let's explore a few examples, and I hope you'll try this technique too. I have very original and unexpected word choice here. The first one is hello, but in a pretty intricate lettering. You'll find that in class resources too. The second one will be in Russian in Cyrillic, meaning hello too, which is my native language. I will start with the usual hello. It's really useful to work with brush bounce. This way, you don't have to deep the tip of the brush every time in inkwell, but it is not very precise. I usually look for some fonts in Internet I like, and get inspired by the shapes of letters and composition of fonts. This H is a very Gothic version, I would say even with Baroque elements. Usually the first letter, the initial one is the most decorated. The rest of the letters will look more like a handwriting. I have fewer decorations, ornaments, and different elements here. So E is the usual one and next, we have two letters of the same design, with an interesting shape of the following one. I don't use a lot of strokes, but I also don't paint each letter at once, and of course, the exclamation sign so we have a proper greeting. Now if you're willing to learn something new, try the Russian word for hello, which sounds like privet, and we'll start with the first letter, which sounds like pueem. It's a very simple version, so you will have a better understanding. The second letter looks like actual P in Latin, but it is pronounced as R. I will not speak with a Russian accent like in the movie, but I'm sure you know this idea and I'm sure you know what I mean. The next one is E and it looks like U, and this one looks like B, which is actually V. Then we have version of E and the last letter looks like M. This is the full version of privet in Cyrillic. In the next video, I will show you the Gothic beautiful version of this word. I hope you will join me. 14. Calligraphy: Welcome back. Do you remember the haunted house near the forest? I was so inspired by the weird sign there. It was saying something like, "The decision is final." It looks like a Gothic, old, Ex Libris version. Let's take this inspiration and use it for calligraphy version of rational worth but of yet in Cyrillic. I've prepared an outline. You can find that in class resources too. I will use a paint brush for the first layer. The calligraphy style suggests a lot of decoration, especially for the first letter. So I will work carefully on every element on this first letter. I will use different brush pressure to make sure the lines are intricate enough. Of course, it will be easier to paint with a brush, but it will take longer. I find it very inspiring to learn calligraphy and lettering in foreign languages. So you have very unexpected shapes of letters, different alphabets. For example, we're doing right now with Cyrillic. Cyrillic letters are very intricate and they differ a lot so you can make a very fine design with it. In calligraphy, it's most important to consider the piece as a whole. To think about general balance. I'm still working on the first letter. This is Gothic greeting and we should be very precise. You can see that readability is not so important. Usually I can't read calligraphy at all. It's also very helpful to think about it in sense of rhythm. Like the repetition of elements. It plays a huge role. You can even consider calligraphy as a pattern. I admire people who can write long letters in this beautiful handwriting, I hope I will learn it someday. For now, I can only work on separate words. So the shapes are repeating themselves. I will work on every letter separately. In this old-fashioned but eternal style. These elements are really awesome. I hope you will draw it and show it to me. I'll be very happy to see a version of the word hello, which is previat. I can't stop telling it. I have a chance. Why not? So let's continue working on it. [MUSIC]. The darker brown, I draw the shadows on every stroke to add the three-dimensional effect to our Gothic piece. Well, of course, I won't work on every stroke this time, otherwise we won't do anything else. You have to align the shadow with a design in general. So I used darker strokes on the first letter especially and on the sides of all the letters afterwards. We have a beautiful effect already. [MUSIC]. Time to add another dimension. As usually, we do it with white. This one came in Cyrillic set but I'm almost sure that you can use any ink. It can be replaced with acrylic marker or Gouache paint, but of course not with a pen. So I will highlight, a few elements. Not to overwork the piece, I plan to highlight just the main lines, the main shapes of our Gothic construction. [MUSIC] I'm adding final patches and I hope you're inspired to learn even more. 15. Fountain Pen: Welcome back. Now we'll work with a fountain pen and unexpected violet ink. Let me show you the difference between fountain pen and the usual nib pen. In our case, the line always stays the same. Whatever I do, the inks are inside the pen. All I have to do is change cartridges. Nib pen is different. Nib pen allows to create beautiful verity of lines. You can see it right away. But of course, you need to repeatedly deep the pen in an inkwell during the use. You can check my class thinking ink to learn more. In both options the inks are water-based. For this demo, I'll be using fountain pen. It just more comfortable and it's getting very popular these days. I'll be working with a fountain pen over very very detailed sketch. You can find a sketch in class resources. My pen has a very very extra fine metal nib to apply a water-based ink. I usually start to draw the basic lines and then follow up with details. This pen has a really small internal reservoir to hold ink and split it tiny itself. But I really like this size. I can also buy variate of colors. It's really easy to use, and I keep it in my pocket. Why in the pocket? In my purse, in my bag. I don't have a lot of all supplies with me usually, just a few pens maybe, and a note book. I tried to keep light lines, and I always keep the whitespace near the edges. That's the most important principle of draw with ink. This way it will look beautiful like in Vintage Books and not like an overworked doodle in some other place. I prefer using darker colors, even with colored inks like violet or blue, or maybe deep orange, and the sketch is very detailed. I don't think about composition much when I draw. It's very important to understand that, because sometimes when you watch them where you think that something is invented right away. But most of the time, of course, depending on the technique, it is well thought through composition. Now, I will start the relaxing part do these, which will form the tree without additional lines let's see how we can make it work. Maybe it will be more comfortable like this. I add shadows with another layer and some additional elements of composition I feel that unlike here, here and maybe here. If you put another line, it will look darker, but not too much, and now this is it. Don't forget to erase the sketch using kneaded eraser or any soft eraser. This ink instantly dries so there is no fear to smudge anything. I think we have wonderful result and we can move to the next video and learn to draw a squirrel. 16. Squirrel: Welcome back. Here are my go-to colors for a squirrel. Very surprising, right? And these two are for outline and shadows. We will see how it goes. I begin with preparing everything right away, not to spend much time on it later. This will work for shadows and outlines, and this will add some darkness to the piece, some dark squirrel. I should stop talking and start drawing for sure. So this one will work for fur as a main color, our squirrel is very red. But there are very different kinds of squirrels, depending on where you live and which part of our huge planet. I will start with a very loose outline. I always begin withdrawing the head. It makes me feel a better connection with the piece and in this case with the squirrel, which is awesome. So sometimes I even start to paint with an eye, but it doesn't work great for the dummy so I will start with an outline. I never close the outline. So there's always a wide edge near every line. Paying special attention to the eye finally. So our squirrel has a character right away. This is the most important element of the whole illustration in this style. We can put the darker shape and don't forget to leave the highlight. Of course, you can use acrylic marker afterwards, but it's nice to leave white of the paper. So I will continue, a tiny smile, so a happy squirrel, and I will continue working on every element in a loose manner without closing and any outlines or closing any shapes. When working on the tail, we're not drawing every detail, just an impression, a hint like everywhere else. Now it's time to add the color. I mix the ink, and we'll plan some large brush strokes. So we have the colors ready, it's a mix of orange, sienna, red something of your choice. So I begin with a round brush and carefully, choosing the place and the space, I apply the color. I try to use very bold strokes. Be careful with the face, if I may say so. You should leave the white near the eye here, just a small hint of color, and here. For this style, fewer strokes work better, so always try to keep that in mind. The most challenging thing is to overwork that piece. Just a few strokes, just a two strokes may be for this part of the squirrel, and we define the roundness of the shape and the tiny paws like this. And now the large, confident stroke like so. A flush a tail full of confidence. It sounds like a fairy tale. So a tail, it looks like a fox's tail. That's right, and some shadows here. We don't use black color at all. Just some shadows and washes. Now we can add shadows with a darker color. We can add even more interest with red. Note that I am taking a very very light wash of red on some very specific places of our squirrel. So on cheeks here, here, and maybe on the tail I'm not sure. Let's try this first and this. So I am defining the shape. Everything looks very inky right now. Let's make the tail even fluffier. A fringe brush works great in this sense. I have a very small size of this brush. And of course, the fine final details, a nose, whiskers, I don't know if it's a correct word for a squirrel, but you can see what they are, and it's smiling maybe it is laughing, ears. We didn't overwork the piece so, now we can enjoy adding these small details. As we have a beautiful foundation. The eye of course, is the most important, and defining the shape better. I'm really happy with the result. I hope you will try it. And we can move to the next video where we'll learn how to draw butterflies. Let's move on. 17. Butterfly: Time for butterflies and very unusual ones. I pick this vibrant colors and these four contrast. I'm sure you'll love this exotic glow in butterflies too. I will use a bigger palette, so it will be more comfortable to use different washers. I prepare the blue colors and then I'll prepare orange by that. But we'll begin with a broom. It's a wet on wet technique. Now I put the water on the whole shape of a butterfly. I carefully follow the shape of the wing. The whole surface is wet enough for this technique. I don't use wash brush because I need a very precise work. French brush can work okay because it holds a lot of water, but I wouldn't use anything bigger than that. Now all the edges, everything is covered precisely with water and this sketch appears even brighter. Now, we will put color like so. The butterfly is coming alive. Note that I keep in mind the direction of the wing and I move the paint ink in our case, closer to edges. This way, I work on the second wing. We have smooth transition. After that, I will add a darker blue right now. The paper is still wet. While the paper is still wet, I'm adding the deep dark tint of blue. I will do this on every edge and we'll have a beautiful gradient right away. When the first layer of wings is ready, we can work on the butterflies tiny body. Let's define the shadows close to it. I will prepare the orange and gray. Orange first. It can be yellow or a new bright warm color and gray we will need so it will be easier to form shapes the same time. I don't use black, so I use only dark colors. With orange, I will draw the outline of the body. That very shape of the head and the rest. I've picked these colors to have a complimentary feel. You know that orange with the blue, it works with great contrast. I'm using very specific color palette to make the illustration bright. Now that is even brighter. This will make our artwork even more vibrant. I work on the yellow shape and then plan to expand this warm color gradient on the wings too. With a fine brush, our own details. Very fine lines going from the body to top of the wings. I'll need another brush for that. This will work like a beautiful gradient. Now we'll add another layer of dark, deep blue on the wings. The process will look exactly the same. It will just make the whole impression more aesthetically beautiful. What is left is only a few shadows, and we're almost done with this butterfly. I will work a tiny bit on the middle. I'm thinking about the next one already. Beautiful result. Now the butterfly is a complete opposite with a bright, cheerful orange colors. I will start right away. We'll just draw the wing starting with color bright orange, cheerful one. Now when I'm started painting, I think that it's better to have outline first. It will be easier to paint afterwards. Maybe I should just draw the outline. This type of butterfly is a very graphic one. I will use gray. I don't use black color. The whole outline will look like a graphic design. Well, the outline is ready. Now it works like a coloring book. Which means we can switch off the brain and just enjoy the process of coloring, mixing the colors a bit, but not that much. The coloring is finished. We need to try everything to prepare the surface for the second layer, everything is dry. Now I plan to add another hue and depth to the wings. Of course, you can work very precisely. You can put several layers, use gradients, additional transparent layers. But this is the simple butterfly. I will add the graphic elements that were left on top of the wings and some very distinguished marks which make this particular butterfly recognizable for those who care. The final effect with red on the wing. Awesome. Now we're ready to move to the biggest project of this class in the next video. 18. Owl: Thanks for joining me again. We'll create one of my favorite animals, owl, but very magical one with unusual colors. I'll be using these for feathers, violet and evil pink, and these for grass and greenery, and of course, gray for darker tones, just in case. I will prepare everything to be ready. This will be the main color, I will dilute it to have a lighter wash, and I will use the same color for darker and intensive ones. This is a very tricky one, very bright. I have to be careful with it. Now, I covered the whole sketch of our magical owl with water. I use a [inaudible] brush, it holds a lot of water, so the whole face is covered, and I begin with a subtle, subtle, subtle, mark making near the face. I avoid the eyes. It sounds very psychological, but I'm talking about our [inaudible] around here. Note that I tried to keep very specific direction of every brush stroke. The paper is very wet and I've worked very carefully. I try to shape the ink to follow the growth of feathers. So my plan is to define the whole skull underneath the feathers, even if it sounds very creepy, but I'm sure you know what I mean, so I carefully work with small mark making elements here on top of the head. Owls have this awesome pattern near the top of the head. So I try to imitate the three-dimensional feel of it using various mark making technique. This is the blend, this is the blend with ears, and this is the blend with the rest of the owl. I begin to work on the feathers. It looks so magical. The paper is wet, you've noticed, I'm sure, and I can shape the ink and the pigment at this stage really beautifully. So I use two brushes, removing all the water to help me shape the feathers and the wing of our character. At this point, I will risk to add pink. I know it's not necessary, but it will add a magical and the deeper feel to our character. I'm not sure about this mark, but I can fix that. You can fix anything actually, and with feathers, it's easy. Our character needs value or volume. So this is how we do it. With the back feathers, with the dark mark making, which cut the shape of the owl to make it three-dimensional, just like this. The paper is still wet, so the strokes are beautifully blending into previous layers. At this stage, I can add more shadows already to have a deeper picture. I will move the ink in the direction of the head. It's a scary part to draw eyes. One of the most important parts of illustration, you should be very careful, but at the same time you can fix all the mistakes later with a white. Don't worry. I like to use a lot of dark in eyes, and I leave the highlight as the highlight of the paper. Let's think a bit and add more shadows. [MUSIC] At this point, I add gray shadows to the different elements I find beautiful. For example, to the ears, maybe to the chin, here and there on different parts of the artwork. I also use range brush, to soften a bit these areas, so we won't have anything too crispy or too graphic. The paper is still pretty wet. I will need to use a hair dryer after this stage, and this is it. Yeah. It is dry and I will use dark violet with shadows to work on the very important areas. It's a scary part because this gives a facial expression, if I may say so. We don't want our character to be evil. But we want to express some emotion anyway. I think it's always nice. I tried to have a balance here working with shadows and highlights. I feel it's time to add a bit of pink again, this time on different areas. Oh,this looks nice. I continue to add various subtle shadows and feathers in different areas, it is too precious [MUSIC]. We've accomplished so much already. In the next video, we'll finish the piece by adding fine details. 19. Owl Details: Welcome back. Our forest friend was waiting for you. Here's what will make this all really interesting. I prepared the brightest color for the eyes and another one for gradient. A few drops will be enough. Now, let me take the fine brush and carefully, carefully apply yellow right to the eye. I've worked way carefully applying the ink only to the part of the eye, not the whole eye in general. Then I will add red on top, which will make it look orange, with a gradient, like this. This is the very important part. It will make the whole character of the bird. But if you made a mistake, don't worry, you can use white gouache on top or just digitally adjust something. There is no place for stress here. The deep look of our forest friend is asking you a question, what will you do next? What will be your next artwork? We have a very curious bird here, but I'm sure you have a lot to tell. Now, the interesting part, again, we use white ink. This is the obvious choice, but of course, you can use gouache markers. Another paint may be acrylic, but I wouldn't use pens. Now, with ink, I plan to dilute it in water, so I'll be able to apply few a layers on the feathers. So I have this two pools with diluted inks and more thick version of it. With confident strokes, I begin to build feathers. Bigger brush is needed here for sure. More feathers, and more, and more, and more. When working near eyes, I use undiluted thick inks. This way, I can show more [inaudible]. It's more realistic, but we're not doing very realistic artwork. Our friend shouldn't feel lonely on the page, so let's add more greenery around. I prepare the deep, dark green color and the yellow. These two colors will be enough to add atmospheric background to the piece. Now, with a brush, I will put the water in the shape of various leaves and branches. This is a very crucial step. This shape will remain the same when it's dry. So it's very important that we keep in mind the composition rules and just the overall feel of the piece. A few strokes here and here. When I do this, I imagine green color in my head already. We will begin with yellow. With very light strokes, we put the background color on the greenery. Know the brush strokes, they are very, very loose. This style will contrast with our main character. So I can work near the outline with a bigger brush. Let some color fall on the feathers, as the light would do, and now, the dark green master comes into play. It's not scary. Note the brushstrokes again. This will be a very, very, very loose impression of green background. Just a tiny bit of shape to support the main character. It will build up the interest, and we'll give an element of story telling to the piece. I water everything, and this part is very, very important too. After that, I will need to dry everything, yeah, that's it, and peel off the masking tape when it's still hot. It's just easier to do. It's a great tip. It's almost ready. But of course, there are always things that we want to make better. Great option is a charcoal pencil. My plan is to go ahead and correct all the tiny mistakes, or details, or shapes, and to make our forest friend even better, I will work on feathers, maybe correct the shape of eye a little bit. This process is absolutely endless. I know you know what I mean 100 percent. But in general, I'm happy with the result. So I will continue scrupulously drawing and we'll ignore this terrible sound. You go ahead and watch the next video to learn about your task. I should really leave this guy alone. 20. Your Task: I'm happy to see you've made it this far. I feel myself like Mr. Porter in the Forbidden Forest. We've discovered the wonderful things you can achieve with colored inks. Your task is to create your own ink artwork and upload it to the project gallery. You can choose any subject or just follow along one of my examples, I've uploaded a helpful PDF. I'd be happy to find your work on Instagram too, just don't forget to tag me right on the image so I could actually see it. There is one more video left. 21. Final Thoughts: When you work with ink, it feels almost like dancing across the paper. Fine lines or bold experiments can be made almost effortlessly when you love the unique character of this fantastic medium. I hope this class inspires you to share your artworks. Upload it to the project gallery. This way you'll enter a giveaway to win one year of Skillshare premium membership. Don't forget to press this "Follow" button above and you can also subscribe to my mailing list where I share some exclusive art inspiring insights, and of course you can check my other classes here. For example, on botanicals, sketching, inks, watercolors, and very, very special monotype technique. Now, please don't worry about the art materials much. Use what you have even as just an old ink bottle and sheet of paper. Most important, enjoy your art practice and see you next time.