Skip to main content

Pen & Ink Wash Illustrations

Alex Rowe, Illustrator & Children's Book Artist

Alex Rowe
Illustrator & Children’s Book Artist

♪ Alex’s Studio Playlist ♪


Art Supplies: Watercolor Brushes
Art Supplies: Hot Press Watercolor Paper
Art Supplies: Artist's Tape
Art Supplies: Drawing Board
Art Supplies: Small Plastic Containers
Art Supplies: Tall Plastic Container
Art Supplies: Rapidograph Pen
Art Supplies: Dropper
Art Supplies: Rapidograph Pen Refill
Art Supplies: India Ink
Art Supplies: Plastic Triangle
Art Supplies: Strathmore Softcover Sketchbook


Christina Wu

“Before this tutorial, all my pen and ink drawings were either black or white, where I only used pure India Ink straight from the bottle to color large areas of solid dark color. However, now I have discovered that you could do so much more with India Ink and create a variety of opacity values just by adding water to the ink, similar to watercolor.

My historical illustration is based off of the Salem Witch Trials, and I don’t think I could have portrayed the eerie mood of this event without the use of a variety of gray tones.”

Christina Wu, Historical Illustration: Salem Witch Trials
Eiligh Orff

“The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 happened when boater hats were supposed to be put away in exchange for warmer wool hats for the winter months. An article had just come out that instead of putting away hats on a certain date, September 15, men should use the weather as an indicator for changing hats.

Inexplicably, the straw hat began breaking out on September 16, when young boys started to steal and smash the hats of men out and about in New York City. To this day, no one know why it became so frenzied.”

Pen & ink wash illustration, Eiligh Orff
Sofie Levin

Sofie Levin

Sofie Levin, Historical Illustration: Singapore Lantern Festival

“The Singapore lantern festival I thought was a perfect fit to what I wanted to express and I created two thumbnails before I dived in.

I have had experience with ink wash and using ink before but using the water brush, it was hard to layer and blend smoothly. I also used the wrong paper and it would absorb the water too quickly, making it warp in areas that I used a lot of water.

What I learned is that the water brush is a tool I should use more often and always layer with light tones first then go darker.”

Links on this page are Amazon affiliate links that earns from qualifying purchases.

© 2021 ArtProf. All rights reserved. Site Disclaimer.