Masterclass: Creative Line Art Drawing With Ink Pens | Giovana Vescovi | Skillshare

Masterclass: Creative Line Art Drawing With Ink Pens

Giovana Vescovi, Illustrator | Graphic designer

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7 Lessons (27m) View My Notes
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Concept Creation For Your Drawing

    • 3. Sketching

    • 4. Outlining

    • 5. Patterns And Textures

    • 6. Creating Depth: Lights And Shadows

    • 7. Wrap Up

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About This Class

If you love drawing with ink pens and want to bring your illustrations to another level, this class is for you! In this class you will learn how to make complex and detailed line art and dot work drawings from your imagination. I broke down the creative process in 5 simple steps after many years (my whole life!) of trials and errors practicing the art of drawing to make it easy for you! 

What you will learn:

  • Express an idea or feeling in your drawing: Do you sometimes feel like drawing but can't come up with a good idea? Do you want to express your feelings, but don't know how to? In our first lesson I teach my simple process to develop a concept from your imagination using visualizations exercises, associations and reference research. 
  • Pencil sketching: I will share my process to put the first lines on paper with pencil. Positioning is everything! 
  • Outlining your sketch with ink: Time to make decisions about your drawing. What stays and what goes? Is the drawing balanced or does it need more or less details? 
  • Creating unique textures and patterns: Get inspired by life and nature to create the movement you want in your drawing. I will share my favorite textures using simple lines, circles and scales. Feel free to copy them or get creative and come up with your own!
  • Add light and shadow to create depth: The difference between beginner and advanced drawing lies in the ability to create depth in your artwork. I will teach you my process to build the contrast with beautiful shadows and give you practical techniques to apply to your drawing using lines and dots. Here you will learn how to make your drawing pop from the paper! 

Even if you are new to drawing with ink pens, you'll find that this process is simple and easy to apply to your art!

About your instructor:

Hi everyone! My name is Giovana, I am a Brazilian artist living in Canada, and drawing is my lifelong passion. I've experimented with almost every medium there is, but drawing with ink pens has been one of my favorites for years. I like how such a simple material can produce very deep and complex artworks. Today I work as a graphic designer, illustrator and holistic therapist helping others communicate with themselves through self awareness and art! 


1. Welcome!: Hi, everyone. Welcome to my Skillshare course. I'm Giovanna. I am an illustrator and graphic designer based in Canada. Today I'm going to share with you guys my creative process to come up with very detailed and complex drawings with ink pens. I know this type of drawing is full of information and it looks difficult to make, but I'm going to make it easy for you. I broke down the creative process into five simple steps that you can follow with me. First, we're going to find the theme for your drawing. Second, we're going to sketch. Then we're going to outline, add textures, and then add light and shadows to create contrast. In this class, we're going to cover practical things about drawing with ink pens, such as different techniques to get different effects. But we're also going to talk about life and movement and how observing nature and our subconscious mind can help us in our drawing. My goal with this class is to help you make your artwork powerful on the paper. Stay tuned and learn experience, and soon you'll be drawing like a pro with ink pens. 2. Concept Creation For Your Drawing: Remember that you always have something to say. The most difficult thing I've struggled with in the past was thinking that my voice was not worth it. My message was not good enough. That really set me back and I want to tell you now that everyone has something to say, either through speaking or dancing or drawing. It doesn't matter how are you going to express yourself. What you have to express is important. Hi everyone, welcome to lesson one of this class. To finish your class project, you're going to need a few materials. First, you're going to need a bunch of ink pens, different sizes. The most important ones would be zero one and maybe zero five for some filling. You can play with different ones, but the ones I used the most are zero ones. You're also going to need pencils to sketch, eraser, paper to draw and optional you can use a ruler or a compass if you want to do marks on the paper before you outline with your ink pens. Another tip for you is using gel, white pens. This pens are very good for when you make little tiny mistakes or if you want to put some light on some spots and this can be the game changer for your contrast part of the class. Before we start to draw anything, we have to decide what we want to draw and I know that sometimes this is the hardest part. Me as an artist, there so many times we're outside in front of a white paper and I just blanked out and two hours later I was scrolling on my Instagram, not drawing anything. I came up with a little process that helps me decide what to draw. The first thing you're going to do is to just basically close your eyes and you and your feelings, that's simple. We're just going to close your eyes and let everything come up to you. Maybe you're going to think about something you have to do, maybe you're going to think about something you're feeling, a person, anything. Just let your thoughts come up, check on with your body, see how you're feeling. Is there any anger? Is there any frustration? Is there any sadness or exhaustion? Anything can be materials to your drawing. This step and most of the steps in this class are not rational. Don't try to understand what we're doing, just let things naturally come to you, even if they don't make any sense, even if it's nothing, even if nothing comes to your mind, then maybe nothing is your starting point for your drawing. That is okay. Just sit with me in silence for a little moment. For me, I feel water it's like I imagine myself in water. I found my thing, it's water and maybe for you, it's a color, a shape, an element, a body part, it doesn't matter. Just come up with something that's the starting point of your drawing and now you're going to write down. Write down the main starting point for your theme. It could be really anything. You can even draw, if you see a shape, you can draw the shape, you can write a word, you can write a paragraph. It doesn't really matter what it is, but just put something on paper. That white canvas can be really intimidating so just put something on it. From there, I want you to start doing associations with this beginning that you've found. From this starting point, what is related to this somehow? For me, water, I came up with fish, curves, corals, not breathing, dreams, octopus, slow. I have a few things that come to mind when I think about water, even things that has nothing to do with it, like hands. Hands came to my mind maybe because of the movement of the hands. I don't know, it doesn't really matter why. Write down everything on a map. From this, I want you to choose what do you feel like drawing? From all this things, you put down what you're comfortable with drawing? What do you think could be your main element on your drawing? Could be one or two things. If you're still not comfortable with anything, keep finding words until you find something that you're like, "Okay, I can draw this." For me, I was interested in the octopus when it came to my mind, I'm not very familiar with drawing octopus. I did a one drawing of octopus in the past and I love drawing hands. I'm used to draw hands. I want to draw hands even though it not necessarily makes much sense. I'm not really sure yet what to draw, but for now, just decide one or two little things that are going to be your main elements for your drawing. Now that you define your main theme, even though it's not exactly clear, or maybe it is for you, but for me it's not clear yet what exactly we're going to draw, we can go searching for reference pictures. If you are very clear on what you want to draw, you can even create your own reference pictures. Reference pictures are not pictures we're going to copy but pictures we're going to use as a reference for proportions, lighting, sizes. Everything is going to be based on that and you're going to create something completely different from that base. For example, if you're thinking of a specific facial expression, you can make that facial expression and take a selfie. I have done this many times and I've used my boyfriend and my sisters as models for me many times as well, because there was a time where I drawing a lot of faces and portraits. This is one idea. But if you're going to draw a flower, if you're going to draw a fish, you look for pictures online and come up with the best positions, the lights and shadows in your drawing based on a picture that you've found. We're going to look for some references and I usually like a few websites like I also love Pinterest because why not? First, I'm going to look for a hand just to see if anything comes up. This hands are really cool. I like this one. I like this one that it's like the main element somehow. As you can see, I don't have a clear idea on what I want to draw but seeing this pictures are starting to inspire me. Start saving all the pictures you might want to use. Just save it on the side and then we'll make a decision later. I also want to search for octopus. All of this pictures of octopuses, I don't love it. I'm not very inspired to draw a whole octopus like that. I'm just going to use the tentacles. I really like the movement of the tentacles, that's what most attracts me on an octopus, I'm having the idea of making hands that have octopus tentacles instead of fingers. I've done that before in one drawing and I really liked it. I think we're going to do this now but focusing on the hands and I want a good position of hands. I do like this one that I saved, this one that has two hands together, maybe two hands that have tentacles interlacing each other. You can also do this on magazines if you have a lot of time to spare. Now that you came up with your reference photos, stay tuned for the next class where we going to bring your idea to life. 3. Sketching: Hi and welcome to our second lesson. In this video we are going to sketch. Now, they've came up with reference photos and some sort of an idea with me. My idea is not 100 percent clear yet. We're going to put our ideas on paper. So have your pencils and your paper, and let's start. I align to begin by marking with the ruler, the center lines, just so I know where to position my elements and you're basically going to start by doing a rough draft of the elements just to position them on the paper. This is something that throughout all the years I changed a lot. In the beginning, I would just start sketching through the detail and after I was done, I would be like, whoa, this is just small on this paper, or this is to the left or to the right. You don't want to make that mistake because this is going to change the result of your artwork, before going to relate better to your artwork, if you position your elements well. Start by sketching your elements, following your reference pictures, just a rough positioning, so you can have a main idea of where everything is going to be on paper. When you start getting more confident that this is what you want, start outlining the sketch. Here I'm starting to create the tentacles, of course I don't have a reference picture for this specifically, so I'm following my intuition and I have reference pictures for tentacles itself. So I have a better idea of lighting and shapes and sizes, even though I don't have an exact reference picture for this whole composition. When you have your main elements in paper, you're going to start wanting to place a few details in the background. That's how I create this effect of complexity and lot of information going on in the drawing, you basically have to add as much elements as you can. When we add textures and lights and shadows, it's going to look really beautiful. If you're not sure what elements to add as details, think about nature, observe outside. Look for some references of plants, little animals, abstract shapes. You can think of triangles, rectangles, squares, circles, anything can become some sort of a pattern. I feel very inspired by nature, so I use a lot of nature shapes as you can see, I have some leaves. I have some things that remind me of their nature. With time, you're going to have a few of those elements and patterns that you like the most and you're going to repeat them throughout the drawing to create something more organic. When you're sketching, you might have a better insight of how it's going to turn out in the end. You might want to change a few things. I started doing a sketch thinking of horizontal artwork. In the middle, I figured out that it's good to look better as a vertical artwork. So I organized all the details in the background, in the direction from bottom up. You're going to have a better feeling of this when you are sketching. As it usually is, the drawing is going to build itself throughout the whole process. So keep following your intuition and meet me in the next class when we're going to start using our ink pens. 4. Outlining: Hi, and welcome to lesson 3. In this lesson, we are going to start using our ink pens finally. I'm going to show you a few of my favorite pens. This is a 01, this is the one I use the most. This is a 005, which is going to give you a much thinner line. If you want to do a very detailed and delicate drawing, this is going to be the best choice for you. This is 04, just so you see how much thicker it is. This is 05. This is a 1.2, which I use to do fillings and to create solid colors in my drawing. The thicker the line you use at this point, the heavier your drawings going to look in the end. I suggest you start with a very thin line, could be you use a 01 or a 005. As you can see, we are going to have to make a few decisions here. Just go for it, outline your sketch, and trust the process. You're going to end up with a lot of shapes and don't worry about filling them because we're going to do that on the next lesson. Once you have a good outline of your drawing, jump to the next video where we're going to finally make this drawing interesting and add some textures. 5. Patterns And Textures: Hi, everyone. In this lesson, we're going to make this drawing a lot more interesting by adding textures. If you look around, textures are what give movements to things. It can express different feelings like the feeling of flow, the feeling of a structure, chaos, stillness. When you look at nature, you'll see that everywhere you look there is a combination of many different textures and many different movements. This is how you create this effect of complexity to your artwork. I'm going to share with you some of my favorite textures that I use in most of my drawings, but feel free to create your own and make sure to share your creations in the comments down below, I'm so curious to see what you guys came up with. Lines are one of my favorites because it can really create infinite different textures with it. If you make lines that are very close to each other, your final element is going to be a little darker. If you make lines that are a little farther from each other, your final element is going to be lighter. It's nice to create different patterns with lines, so you create some contrast in the end. This is actually going to help your viewer to receive and process all the information you're offering them through your drawing. If you make patterns that are too similar to each other, then it can be a little too much information, it can feel like too much, and you can feel a little messy. So the contrast really helps people feel the balance in your drawing. You can also play with curvy lines, straight lines, uneven lines, short lines, and long lines. You can fill them with black and all of this will create different movements and feelings. This is such a simple texture and I love it. You can play with the size of your circles, making them bigger or smaller. Here, you can really see the different effects you can get by changing the sizes. I like leaving my circles white and painting the background with black, but you can do the opposite too. This texture somehow gives me the feeling that I can read when I'm looking at the final piece. It's really nice to vary your textures to create space in your drawing, if that makes any sense. Scales are amazing to create depth as well. I'll show you some of my choices for this drawing, but the sky is really the limit here, guys. You can make something completely unique and different and create some beautiful scale of your own. To create the contrast here you really want to paint part of your scales black, or use lines to differentiate the beginning and end of each scale. As you can see here in this example, I'm using lines that are coming from the same point to create some sort over there and light when the lines open up. Here's what we have done so far. On the next lesson, I'm going to teach you how to add shadows to your elements and this will also help with the contrast. 6. Creating Depth: Lights And Shadows: On lesson 5, we're going to talk about contrasts and how to create lights and shadows in your drawing. This step is the longest one, so be patient, don't give up, and let's make something really beautiful together. First, let's clean our paper from pencil marks. Now I'm going to show you a few ways to add shadows to your drawing. First, you have to remember that the light is already there. If you're using a white paper, your paper is the light, so you're only adding the shadows. To add the shadow, you need to know where the light is coming from. My trick to do that in such a complex drawing is to decide a light corner. So you're basically going to decide where the light is coming from, and you can write down a little S for shadow on one of the corners, and L for light from the opposite corner. That way, you always know where the light is coming from. Now just step back a little, look at your drawing and think, if the light is coming from this corner and hitting each element from this side, then what is the shadow going to look like? Where is this shadow going to be on each element? Now that you decided where your light is going to be and where your shadows are going to be, you have a few different ways to do shadows. You can do little lines, you can do little dots like this. This is actually my favorite way and the way I'm going to use the most in this drawing, you guys are going to see it. But this is really time-consuming, so if you don't have that much time, I would go with the little lines. Just so you guys know, you can do lines that are less neat, more random, and that gives them more messy look to your drawing. This is just a curiosity, but I've seen people use letters as shadows. You can write down letter over and over again, and then it turns out into a shadow. I've never used this way and if I would choose, I would go with these two first ones because they're more delicate, more neat, more clean, and I'm used to using those two ways. Now you're going to move from shadow to light. Remember that the shadow is always going to be on the opposite side of the light. If the light is coming from right, then the shadow is going to be on the left side of each element. On the shadow spots, you're going to add your shadow with little lines or little dots or whatever way you chose to do it. If you're choosing dots like I am, then you're basically going to do a lot of dots on the shadow parts and spread out the dots in the direction of the light. Something that's going to really create that beautiful contrast in your drawing is to make the front elements a little lighter and the back elements a little darker. So whenever you have an element that's in front of another, the element that's right behind it should have a shadow. Now is also the time for you to fill the elements with black ink. So whatever elements you think could look really nice being a lot darker, you can create this drama, filling the elements with black ink. You can add some new details, and in the textures that are made with lines, you can use little lines like this to create the shadows, and just like on these scales, you can really see the effect of making the shadows on the elements that are behind of other elements. Here's another way to do it. As you can see the movement you do with your hands is very subtle. You press depend on the paper and you move in a diagonal direction from the paper. In the end of the line you're making, your pen is not touching the paper anymore. Now we can make some final touches. I love adding some drama to the drawing. So usually, in the end, I take a break, and I come back to it and I make the dark parts even darker. This is a little bit of all we have so far. I decided to add a few more details, some more leaves on top of everything. Stay tuned on the next video so we can wrap up this class and you can see the final results. 7. Wrap Up: Hi everyone. We finally finished our beautiful artwork, and here is mine for you guys to see. I really want to see what you guys came up with. Please feel free to share any comments, feedbacks, any ideas or suggestions. Please share your class project. I really want to see your artworks, and your drawings, and all the love you expressed in this class today. I will see you soon on my next classes. Thank you so much.