Creativity Inspiration

Ink Drawing: Not Just For Ink Blots Anymore

Ink Drawing: Not Just For Ink Blots Anymore

Ink Drawing Artists of Note

Drawing with ink takes the precision of a master draftsman and the skill of a watercolorist handling a fluid medium. When I was in school I was completely captivated by the silky dark lines of one of the most famous pen and ink artists, Aubrey Beardsley, but there are several artists working today whose pen and ink drawing work deserves some attention, too.

The Playful Characters of Daniel Egneus

Daniel Egneus is a Swedish illustrator who works with pen and ink drawing and watercolor. He’s had widespread commercial success creating illustrations and designs for Haagen-Dasz, BMW, Nike, books covers and more. So you may be familiar with his drawings. And if you aren’t you’ll know them now by the way he contrasts slender line strokes and outlines with voluminous passages of dark ink. His drawings feel more like ink sketches, with marks that are not deliberate and end results that have an ease and flow to them. He’s also got a playful side to him, turning a girl’s ponytail into a small school of goldfish–and that’s the kind of play that opens up one’s creative mind.

The Narrative of Matt Rota

Matt Rota pursues his own fine art drawings while holding down teaching positions at a number of universities, authoring his own books like The Art of Ballpoint, and working freelance for a variety of sources including the New York Times Op-Ed page. From images based on current news coverage to more inchoate narratives that lead to expansive ideas as you view them, my mind never shuts off when I look at his ink drawings. I’m always abuzz with ideas or fragmented thoughts, attesting to his strong compositional skills and his way of creating unconventional and sometimes alarming scenes that grab you with a strong image, but never run away with formal concerns. His work could never be described as “art for art’s sake.” Instead, the artist keeps any purely aesthetic impulse in check to visually whisper in your ear, though never giving away too much.

The Surreal Characters of Minjae Lee

I think of collapsing worlds and images when I look at the work of Minjae Lee. He’s a young South Korean artist who uses color, pattern, and line to create images that read like slick ink marker drawings that combine fantasy imagery, typography, the human face, and more. His works evoke words like kaleidoscopic, biomorphism, and head-trippy. His drawings are almost completely ornamental and the height of artifice, but my eye follows each line almost as if I was looking at a landscape painting–that is how engaging each passage of any one of his drawings is.

The Mischievous Illustrations of Desarae Lee

Influenced by personal trauma and struggles with depression and anxiety disorders, Desarae creates work that revolves around themes of finding humor in pain, beauty in the grotesque, and light in the darkness. As comfortable referencing geek culture as she is bearing the depths of her soul, Desarae’s work ranges in theme but is always, as she says, “an attempt to connect the hidden places in myself to the hidden places in the viewer, to somehow create a bridge of communication over the immense expanse of our differing perceptions, beliefs, and experiences.”

Desarae’s work feature meticulous line work, creating wonderful characters in interesting compositions. Her work is entrancing and often mischievous, asking you to think about your innermost being.


These artists do pen and ink proud, right? In celebration of their chosen medium and because October is the Inktober drawing challenge–our month-long celebration of all things pen and ink—check out all the resources that are at your fingertips when it comes to pen, ink, calligraphy and more. Use the coupon code INK20 through October 31, 2017, to get 20% off the pen and ink resources that catch your eye! Enjoy!

P.S. What artists working with pen and ink do you admire? Leave a message and let me know.


Watch the video: Acrylic media - Butterfly paintings (January 2022).