The Beauty of The Lowly Pen

“Joy Ride” – Pen and ink on Strathmore paper. © Katie Kath 2022. Do not use without permission.

For today’s sketch I turned to a favorite go-to implement: a smorgasbord of pens.

Simple but mighty, ink pens are one of my top choices for sketch materials. In fact, when teaching Drawing I or Intro classes, the first thing I do is banish pencils (at least, mechanical or similar types with erasers. Charcoals and chunky, non-erasable pencils were allowed, but I digress) much to the chagrin of the students. The “no pens allowed” rule is actually a technique I stole from a former Drawing I instructor and it’s one of the best ideas I think anyone has every had.

The reasoning behind this is that it’s easy for the eraser to become a crutch to any artist. Obsessing over details and the tendency to focus on “mess-ups” instead of what is truly important about a piece–composition, technique, a conveyed emotion or feeling–can quickly overtake an artist and thus sabotage the visual integrity of a drawing.

So there you have it, folks! A quick, frizzy sketch of two kids and a bike in motion, no erasing, using several of my favorite pens: Zig Mangaka 2, Sakura Microperm, gray tone Mildliner, and Le Pen, all from my absolute-favorite pen shop: The Goulet Pen Co. They even include a DumDum pop with your order! (At least, they used to.)