Dip Pens & Liquid Watercolor Drawing Techniques

Learn useful tips for inking techniques with a dip pen using liquid watercolor. There are many tricks that can make your experience much easier and allow for greater control over your line work.

This drawing demonstration will show how you can develop your skills for inking techniques to create elegant cross-hatching and dynamic line work in your drawings. Demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu and Teaching Artist Cat Huang.

Video Walkthrough

  • Using the liquid watercolor as place to start to inspire shapes & colors.
  • Building dip pen lines over the liquid watercolor shapes.
  • Short lines vs. Long lines in cross-hatching.
  • Short lines tend to provide more control, long lines are more fluid.
  • Coloring with digital media vs. coloring in traditional media.
  • Differences between liquid watercolor and drawing inks.
  • Showing texture with a dip pen.
  • Angle in the Oblique Pen Point Holder.
  • Using a dip pen for comics.
  • Why is a dip pen so challenging?
  • Dip pens require patience and time to thoroughly learn.
  • Density of lines in cross-hatching.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

I find that watercolor is sometimes like a very stubborn child who really knows what they want to do, and the more you “fight” it, or try to get it to do something that it doesn’t want to do, the tougher it is.

It depends on the person or material, but I think there are art media where you really can be an absolute dictator and determine every step of that art media’s behavior. (pencil is a good example of that)

Then there are other art media, like watercolor that really have a mind of their own, and the more you can let them do what they want to do, the better!

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