Pen drawings for beginners is often a hesitant proposition. This is because beginners often find that drawing resources for pen drawings are not as abundant as that for other drawing mediums and also learning to draw with pen is (incorrectly) perceived to be more challenging. Below I address some common questions and concerns I get from beginners looking to start drawing with pen. The concerns are often around what is needed to start, what can I draw and will I be able to draw. To summarise, anybody can start with just a good quality gel pen and learn to draw great landscapes using my FREE online resources and drawing workbooks.
Q: What do I need to get started drawing with pen?
A: All you need is a good quality gel pen that you can get for few dollars to get started. As you progress along, you may want to experiment with other pen choices but in the beginning, a simple good quality black gel pen will do.
Q: I can’t draw a straight line. can I really draw with pen?
A: As I show in my workbooks and FREE online tutorials, you can draw great landscapes without using a single straight line (check out this drawing). While laying down tone using parallel lines (hatching) is a fundamental pen and ink technique, other pen strokes like wiggles, open loops, wavy lines etc. can be very effectively used to create landscapes as shown step by step in the workbooks and online tutorials.
Q: What can I draw? I have limited time with no experience.
A: Landscapes are a great way to get started drawing. This is because issue of perspective is minimum with landscapes. Faces, for e.g., are oriented in a certain way and when drawing them at a different angle, you need to learn to draw eyes, nose etc. at a different angle which soon becomes frustrating for a beginner. A tree doesn’t have this issue as any orientation of its structure is plausible. This makes landscapes ideal for learning to draw. In addition, you will never run out of ideas for drawing one by combining different elements of nature in limitless ways. Different composition themes to draw landscapes from imagination is discussed in detail in my pen and ink drawing workbooks.
Q: I am not ‘naturally’ gifted. Can I really draw?
A: Learning to draw is a process like learning to drive. While some ‘naturally gifted’ at driving might go on to become NASCAR drivers, most of us ‘learn’ to drive and in similar manner, most of us can ‘learn’ to draw. The goal of learning to draw should also be clear eyed in the beginning as otherwise unrealistic high expectations set in the beginning often leads to frustrations later.
The goal of drawing for me personally is ‘creative satisfaction’. We all need break from daily rhythms of our lives and engage in something that gives us mental break and rejuvenation. Different art and other activities can be adopted for this purpose and drawing should be regarded as one of them. The goal then is not to create a masterpiece (thought you might end up doing one) or to get many ‘likes’ (though again you might end up with many) but to simply put pen on paper and engage in a creative break that gives us creative satisfaction and a mental rejuvenation. Other things can follow from this but in the beginning, anybody can ‘learn’ to draw and adopt it as a relaxing, enjoyable and rejuvenating activity.
Q: Isn’t pen a difficult medium to learn to draw with?
A: Drawing with pen is no more difficult to learn than any other drawing medium and in many ways it is easier. This is because as pen lines can’t be erased, drawing with pen avoids draw-erase-draw cycle that many beginners get trapped in leading to early frustration. Permanence of pen lines promote good observation early in the learning period. Any ‘faulty’ pen lines become part of process of final work and shows evolution of learning and drawing. So, the simple answer is ‘NO’, pen is a great and in many ways an ideal medium for beginners to learn drawing.
Q: Do I need to be proficient in pen strokes and techniques before I can draw?
A: No, you don’t need to be proficient in use of pen techniques before you can draw pleasing landscapes. This misconception often arises as most drawing books often start with detailed description of pen choices, pen strokes and techniques etc before getting into actual drawing part. By this time most beginners are sufficiently discouraged with the perceived need to gain pen proficiency before attempting any pen drawing.
I created my pen and ink drawing workbooks and online Tutorials to show how you can quickly start drawing and acquire pen proficiency while drawing with pen. There are no ‘abstract pen exercises’ that often put off beginners. Instead, the focus is on getting started drawing immediately using easy, specific pen strokes and gain further knowledge and experience of pen strokes and techniques in the context of actual drawing. In addition, templates are also provided to enable pen practice without the need to draw outline in the beginning.
Q: Can I really draw a landscape? It looks so complicated.
A: Behind any ‘complicated’ drawing are series of steps that constitutes its different ‘layers’. Once such steps are understood and practiced, any landscape can be ‘put together’ following such steps. Drawing individual elements of nature like trees, stones, mountains and steps to put them together to create a landscape is discussed in detail in these free online tutorials and also in my workbooks. You will in fact view elements of nature like a decaying log with renewed appreciation of its beauty after learning to draw them.
Q: I am ready to learn. Where can I begin?
Hope this addressed some of your concerns and motivated you to adopt this wonderful activity. Do feel free to reach out to me for any additional questions and concerns.