How to Draw With Pen and Ink

Draw With Pen and Ink

Things You'll Need

  • Lamp
  • Drawing paper
  • Pens
  • Jar of water
  • Paper towels
  • India ink
  • Soda or milk bottle cap
  • White India ink
  • Rag

How to Draw With Pen and Ink. You may be hesitant to try pen and ink drawing because you can't erase ink. But the permanence of an ink drawing gives a feeling of satisfaction. It's also a great way to learn about line thickness, shading and contours as they take on more importance when using a pen. Here are steps to get you started drawing with pen and ink.

Pick an object to draw. Take your time as this isn't a trivial decision in pen and ink drawing. Aim for line simplicity in the beginning without complex parts or textures.

Shine your lamp on the object you've chosen to draw. Study it for a while, noting its shape, important highlight points and areas of shading..

Dip your pen in the jar of water and absorb excess water on a paper towel. Make sure your pen isn't saturated with water or you'll have to dip it in ink and dry it often.

Pour ink into the soda or milk bottle cap and dip your pen. Test the thickness of the line while absorbing excess ink on a paper towel.

Draw the outline of your object. Work from the upper left corner of your picture down to the bottom right corner. Tackle small areas each time, letting the ink dry so you don't smudge the picture.

Make lines that give structure to your object like handles, rims and corners. Decide where you need to shade large areas. Shade in those areas with vertical, horizontal, diagonal, criss-crossed or curved lines. Use the white India ink to cover any mistakes.

Work on the details of your pen and ink drawing.


  • Always be aware of how dry your ink is. Experiment with nontraditional pens like sticks and bamboo or make your own feather quill. Make your drawing in pencil first in the beginning if you're apprehensive about starting out with ink.