Module 5

Introduce | Learn | Apply


Topic 1 | Topic 2 | Topic 3

Read the material below and any additional resources listed for this lesson..

Topic 1: Digital Tools Verses Traditional Methods for Drawing and Sketching

Traditional methods of communication using a pencil or pen and paper have given way to new digital media, software and computers in every way possible for designers. Using a pencil or pen was certainly considered to be faster then using a mouse or a digital pad a few years ago. With the advance of technology, the new direct LCD pads like the and super sensitive digital pens, the gap has closed in recent years. It has become obvious that the new designers tend to want to use digital tools for almost all design fields. It is still not %100 there yet, but digital tools have certainly come a long way. That's why I allow the use of any and all methods in this class.

The most common digital tools used are the WACOM tablet and pens and it's newer version: the CINTIQ LCD tablet and pens. The Cintiq allows you to draw right on the screen while the Wacom is still great, it is less expensive and does not allow direct screen drawing but allows you to look up at a computer to draw while your hand does the work below on the tablet.

Be sure to check out the over 60 YouTube videos of CINTIQ and Wacom tablets in action. They are amazingly flexible to use and adapt to. Wacom tablets will soon be a thing of the past as the price drops in the digital market for LCD drawing tablets. here is a web shot of one in action. These are NOT cheap and can set you back several thousand dollars, but the smaller ones are around $1,000 and are very useful.

They are still not a cheap as a pen or pencil and you do need to plug them in to power or a computer, so until they get past those two problems, I'll use my pens and pencils in the field, but at home, I tend to use a WACOM to do my design work. I use Corel Painter, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Freehand for almost all my work. Painter is the most useful as a full artists toolkit and photoshop is certainly the leader of the pack as far a image software, but I use a lot of Illustrator to create my entertainment art designs and then switch to CS4 for the rest of my work.

Image of Cintiq 21 digital drawing tablet.

Cintiq21ux digital tablet in action on YouTube video by marcopmartins©

Click here to view a demo of this CINTIQ tablet!

You can find many more demo's on the above linked site for using the new technology of CINTIQ and the older technology of WACOM tablets. Check it out!

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Topic 2: Portraits in Pen and Ink

Since we use a lot of pen and ink: I have found it very rewarding for students to really hone in on the use of hatching techniques that they can use in all of there preliminary sketches for design. This is an extended exercise and by the time you done with it, you will have a very good background in sketching using stroke methods. Learn all you can from looking at these former student examples. I will post a step by step example in TOPIC 3.

Here are some examples of student work using a photo of a young Bob Dylan with a variety of hatching techniques:

Pen and Ink Drawing of Bob Dylan

GID Design Archives ©

Click here for over 40 more examples in the GID gallery!

Up until this time you have been practicing simple exercises of bottle and jars and cups and strokes. It's time to challenge yourself to a seemingly difficult project. Anyone can do this exercise. All it takes it remembering what you have already learned and applying it to a value sketch of a face. Don't think of it as a face or a portrait, but only as shapes to fill with lines. That will make it easier. Look for values and begin to discover how you can define each value change with a specific stroke method. Print out the stroke sheets below and use them as a guide:

Click here for Stroke Sheets as pdf files!

The techniques is simple and effective and used by many professional Illustrators:

  1. Obtain a copy of a color or B&W photo of a famous personality
  2. Scale it up to full page size or larger at 8.5x11 or 11x17
  3. Trace a LIGHT pencil outline of the value changes only as mass regions
  4. Save the photo for a detail resource image to refer to as you work on your tracing
  5. Determine the style and types of stokes you want to use to create your masterpiece portrait
  6. Working OVER the LIGHT pencil outline ( not the photo) using any type of fine black pen (do not use pencils) create a portrait from the tracing using a variety of strokes
  7. When your happy with the final result, carefully erase the pencil lines.
  8. NOTE: SOME students take 2 to 3 weeks to complete this major assignment and do several tests first.
  9. Feel free to take extra time with this assignment. It's the only detailed one we do that is NOT based on quick RAPID VIZ sketching
  10. Have fun
  11. When done. scan or digitize the image and upload to MOD 5 Discussion Area.

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Topic 3: Portraits Tutorial in Pen and Ink

In the following you will see a step by step process for completing your portrait as written by David Lawrence, well known professional Pen and Ink Portrait artist who is one of the several artists to develop this type of exerscise. The critical step is to develop the right value sketch in pencil that helps determine the final placement of ink strokes. Your other valuable lesson is to SELECT the appropriate strokes to complete the project.

Pen and Ink Portrait Drawing LINK

Please follow the link to complete your assignment in a step by step method but you have complete freedom to vary the strokes to complete your own version of the project and you must use your own image. This a a standard stroke exercise used by most art schools to teach students how to convert photographs to inked drawings.


Once you have gained experience in the use of strokes we will move on to discover the variety of way we can apply the stroke methods you have learned in creating better RAPID VIZ drawings.


There are multiple steps to completing the assignment Here are 3 images from 3 of the steps the online tutorial:

Step one image for drawing pen and ink from photographs


Here is the first light pencil tracing for the image (choose your own image). Lawrence uses a dotted line here rather than a full pencil line. Keep your pencil pressure and your pencil outlines of the major value shifts found in the drawing -very light, not dark!


Step two image showing begining line drawing for pen and ink portrait drawing methods.

This image is mid-way in the drawing process. Note the use of wavy contour lines, 45 degree hatching lines, xcross hatching lines, black total fill areas, and straight parallel lines. You will erase the pencil lines when the drawing is completed. Doing tests on scraps of paper is important to the final quality of the assignment!



Finished pen and ink portrait drawing.


Final Pen and Ink Drawing

NOTE: you do not need to follow the tutorial step by step. Some of the steps are not required for more advanced students. Just work towards the overall final pen and ink effect. Please go back and review the many images in the GID 70 Portrait Gallery to see a large variety of other students work in this assignment. This is the most detailed assignment of the course so make sure you take 2 to 3 weeks to do it correctly. All other assignments tend to use some form of strokes and outline to help you rapidly draw images. After doing a detailed complex assignment like the portrait, you are ready to use free form drawing with some degree of confidence!


Go back to the detail in the BOB DYLAN image to see how complex and interesting this assignment can really become if you take the time to do it correctly.


What Next?

Go to the Apply section of this lesson by clicking on the Next button below or by clicking on Apply at the top of this page. In that section, you will find the assignments as outlined above and you will apply what you've learned so far in this lesson.


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