Pen & Ink Florals | Sandra Mejia | Skillshare

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

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

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About This Class



In this class I will show you how I make my pen and ink florals. I will show you the different tools I use, the different strokes that can be created, some practice exercises that will help you gain precision and define your style, and how to ink a floral illustration with pens and ink.  By the end of the class you´ll be able to create your own floral print! So join me, and let´s start inking!


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Meet Your Teacher

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Sandra Mejia

Illustrator + Pattern Designer

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Hello! I'm a Freelance Illustrator and Pattern Designer. I was born in Medellín, Colombia (puedes escribirme en Español!). I create detailed, stylized, playful illustrations, patterns and characters from my studio in Ottawa, Canada.

I have very big eyes and I love animals. Most of my inspiration comes from nature and animals.

My art has been licensed by companies around the world for use in: Fabrics, Stationery, Kids, Editorial, Greeting Cards, Fashion, Puzzles, Gift and Home Decor.

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Level: Beginner

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1. Trailer: Hello. I'm Sandra Bowers. I'm an illustrator and surface pattern designer. In this class I will show you how I make my pen and ink florals. I will show you the different tools I use, the different strokes than can be created, some practice exercises that will help you gain precision and define your style and how to ink a flower illustration with pens and ink. By the end of the class, you'll be able to create your own floral print. So join me and let's start inking. 2. Project: For the class project, we are going to create a print of our favorite flower. To do this you will need pens. You can use any pen you want, but I prefer to use pens that are waterproof and lightfast so that they're more durable, and in case I want to use watercolors on top of them. I usually use three sizes, 0.5, 0.3 or 0.2, and 0.01. If you're going to use only one, I would recommend the 0.2 or 0.3. You will also need a nib pen. You can try different types of nibs and sizes, and find the one you like best because it's very personal, and they will all give you different types of lines. I have listed the materials that I'm using in the description of the class project. You also need ink. Again, if you're planning to use watercolors or you want your illustration to be more durable, get one that is waterproof, and lightfast. I will be showing you how to use the nib with black ink, but for the illustration, I will be using gold acrylic ink. I'm making my illustration in hot press watercolor paper because I like that it has a bit of grit, and the lines are not so smooth, and because I want it to be a thick paper, because I'm making an original print. If you want the lines to be super smooth, for example, for scanning, you can use marker paper, which is super smooth. You will also need a pencil and an eraser, and it's good to have a paper towel in case your ink spills. 3. Tools: I'm going to show you how I use the pens and the nib pen. First the pens. This is a 0.5, and you can see here the types of lines it makes and the size of the dots it will make. This is a 0.3, and this is a 0.1. This is a nib pen. Here, I'm using permanent black calligraphy ink. You just deep the pen. You have to deep it just past the hole that it has so that it holds enough ink, but not too much because it will drip. I like this type of nibs because you can make really thin strokes but if you press on it, you can make bolder strokes. So with just one nib, you can make different types of strokes and different line weights. If you have never used a nib, you will have to practice a bit, but you'll get the hang of it soon. It's always easier doing strokes downwards than upwards with the nib. So just move the paper around and make it easier on yourself. 4. Basics: I'm going to show you the different types of strokes that I use. There are many other types of strokes, but this is what I prefer. These are fast strokes. See that I'm not holding the pen straight. That makes my stroke slower and thicker, and I prefer them to be fast and soft and not so defined but this is just a preference. I usually make the strokes start from a certain point. That's a type of stroke tool and this one with lines and dots and simple steepening or does making dots. I usually only use these types of strokes so that I make it consistent. I don't use a bunch of different strokes and make it too busy. Now I'm going to show you shading. For example, if this is a petal, the dark areas would go here and here. I start adding lines. It's up to you to add as many lines or as little as you want. You make lines darker by adding more lines in that area. Same on the top, but I won't make it as dark and I will vary the length of the lines to give it more life. The darkness is defined by the amount of lines you make. Where you can also add some stippling on the dark areas and start adding list dots in the lighter areas. You can also feel in a certain area with very short and close lines and then start adding longer light ones so that it creates two tones. Same with this stippling. You start filling the base really dark and start using less dots and making them more separated as you go into the lighter area. Finally, you can also create variation by using different pins. That was my 0.3. Now I use my 0.1 and finally the 0.5 to make really dark areas. Inking takes practice and you need to develop precision. Don't be discouraged if you don't get it right the first time. These exercises will help you a lot. Grab the thinnest pen you have and practice making straight horizontal lines and try them in an angle and then try the other angle. Notice that you'll feel more comfortable doing certain strokes. You can always try them by rotating the paper instead of forcing your hand to work in an uncomfortable way. For example, if it's easier for you to do down strokes than upward strokes, you just rotate the paper and you make down strokes all the time. Also practice by drawing a dot and start going upwards and making the base dark. Practice starting from a line, trying not to go over it. This is way, you learn how to make your pen start where you want it. Try drawing interrupted lines with dots. These exercises will not only help you with your precision, but they will also teach you what types of lines, strokes, and effects you like the best. They will help you define your style. These are my favorites, but you need to find your favorites too. Also, try making the lines follow a curve. If you make fast lines, they look more organic than making them very slow but maybe you prefer that graphic style. This one is to practice starting on the line and stopping before you hit the next line. Try making a stippling effect. You can start with the bigger pen, make them really close to each other, then make some more spaced out. Finally, use the smallest pen and fill it in. This takes a lot of time and patience. You can practice the same thing with the nib but remember, you can only press on the nib if you're making a downward stroke. 5. Pen: I do my sketching these tracing paper using some pictures I took as a reference. Then I transfer it to my watercolor paper using a light box. You can also use a window to do it. Don't trace the details just the outlines and do it softly so you don't bend the paper. My outlines are darker than what I would usually make them, so that you can see them. I built at the table so that you can see the tip of my pen. I like holding it very close to the tip for more precision. I'm using my 0.5 pen pin the outlines because I like the outlines to be a bit thicker than the details. Just go around tracing all over the outlines. I'm not tracing over the leaves yet, just the flowers. Rotate your page as often as you want to make it easier for your hand to make this strokes in a comfortable way. If at some point you see that you need to make something more delicate, feel free to change your pen. Here I'm using a 0.3 for the bots because they're very small. If I were to use just one pen, I'd use a 0.2 or 0.3 for everything. Try not to make the petals perfectly round so that they look more realistic. When you're done, let that dry. The ink on the pen dries instantly but sometimes in the points where you stop or start, there's ink pot holes. You don't want to pull that with the eraser, so make sure it's really dry. Now we'll add the details. I'll use my 0.1 pen for these. I use a piece of tracing paper to put my hands on so I don't get a paper dirty. I like starting at the base of the petals. Just make strokes like we did in the practice exercises. You can make a lot of them or just some. Try different options to see which you like best. I like to make the middle petals very dark. You can knot some longer lines to create variation. I'm using light strokes on my band is a bit angle so that the whole tip is not laying on the paper. At lines to each petal starting with its center, and going all around imagining that the lines are coming from the base of the petal. You can also leave some areas wide to create some contrast it's up to you. Varying the length of the lines makes it more dynamic. You can go back now and create more contrast by adding more lines where the petals meet. Now we have all our inside details. You could leave it like these or you could add just some more tiny lines in the edges, or you can add a lot lines. I'm going to add some lines in every [inaudible] so that it looks like the petal is lightly way beyond the edge. Again, make some long lines. You can make some borders a bit thicker to give the flower more character and also to collect the little far from your initial sketch line. I will just go around doing this to every petal. This is my favorite part because you just have to dive in, have fun and make a pattern of lines. Like the also lines face the same way as the inside lines that you already made, as if they were just interrupted in the middle by sunlight. That way they won't seem out of place. Now, I'm going to add some little thoughts to create some texture. I'm going to darken some areas some more. Finally, I'll add some stippling to the areas I left the white. I'll do the same process with every flower, and we're done with our inking with pen. 6. Ink: Now we're going to use ink for our leaves. I chose an acrylic gold ink that's waterproof because I love adding golden to my illustrations. You can choose any color you want, or you can make them with the pen as we did the flowers. I'll just put the nib in the holder, and we'll get a scrap piece of paper here so we can try it out. Remember not to put too much ink in the nib so that it doesn't bottle in your page, just a little bit past the whole. I'm going to start tracing the outlines. I'll press a bit in some areas to create some variation, but not too much so that the ink doesn't spill on my paper. I'll add some line details inside the leaves. Since the flowers are very detailed, I'm making the leaves in a more graphic style, so I'll make more defined lines. Just keep adding details making sure you don't touch the black lines. Also be aware of where you place your hand, you don't want to smash what you just painted. In case you need to, just stop for a little while while and let it dry before you continue. Keep filling in all the leaves. Then ink dry very well and erase the pencil lines softly. Finally, I'm going to paint these little details in. That's it. Now you have your own print and now you can frame it whatever you want. I hope that you enjoy this class and be sure to check out my other classes here on skill show and follow me on social media. I can't wait to see all your projects posted in the project gallery and see what you create. Bye.