Mark Making Idea: Use a Dip Pen to Add Visual Texture

The following mark making tips come from the newest Cloth Paper Scissors Art Lesson, “Add Visual Texture with Dip Pens” (download here for only $3.99) by Sandrine Pelissier!

How to use a dip pen | Sandrine Pelissier,

Mark Making with Ink:
Add Visual Texture with Drip Pens

By Sandrine Pelissier

If you like adding patterns to your paintings, you have probably done so in a variety of ways, and with varying degrees of success.

Patterns are great for adding complexity to a painting. Patterns help move the eye around the painting and add visual texture and depth, using design and color. The placement of the patterns can also make the focal image pop. Patterns add a double level of “readability,” offering two different ways of looking at (reading) the picture: What you see from a distance is a bit different from what you see up close when you are then able to distinguish all the details of the patterns.

Among the many tools you can use to draw patterns are markers, graphite, or even a very thin paintbrush. My favorite tool by far is the dip pen. I suggest you give it a try.

Mark making ideas | Sandrine Pelissier,
Magical Realism (acrylic and mixed media, 24×72) by Sandrine Pelissier. Living in North Vancouver, Canada, surrounded by the rain forest, has been a great source of inspiration for me. I often add patterns to my forest paintings. The patterns on Magical Realism were drawn using a dip pen and India ink over the course of a few days.

A dip pen has many advantages: It is inexpensive, easy to use, and it will last you a very long time. You can also mix the exact color you want to use. Learn the basics of how to work with this tool in this lesson, and see how you can use it to add patterns to your artwork.

Mark making ideas | Sandrine Pelissier,
Slice of Life I (acrylic on canvas, 48×48) by Sandrine Pelissier. This portrait was drawn in graphite before I started working on the patterned backgrounds with acrylic ink. It’s a large painting, so I had the space to make some of the patterns very detailed. Just the pattern on the pants took me a few days to complete.

Mark Making Ideas:
Media You Can Use with a Dip Pen How to use a dip pen | Sandrine Pelissier,

• India ink: I recommend waterproof ink so that you can paint on top of your designs once the ink has dried.

Make sure to shake the ink bottle before you start, as particles will sink to the bottom of the bottle if it has not been used for a while.

• Fluid acrylic: Fluid acrylic comes in two categories, ink and paint. The ink has the consistency of water and can be used straight from the bottle with a dip pen. Paint has a thicker consistency and needs to be diluted with a bit of water, so it can flow easily through the nib.

Any acrylic ink or paint can be diluted up to 50% with water if you want to make it more liquid or create a lighter color. If you add more than 50%, the paint may lose its adhesive properties.

Paint adhesion isn’t an issue if you’re working on paper, as the paper texture keeps the paint from lifting too easily, as it does with watercolor, for example. Adhesion is more of a consideration if you are working on canvas and are going to paint over the patterns. Spraying a layer of fixative before varnishing will prevent this, or you can use a spray varnish.

• Watercolor: Watercolor can be used if it’s thinned enough to flow through the nib. You also need to prepare enough so you can dip the pen in it, all the way to the reservoir.

The media you choose needs to be liquid enough to flow easily through the nib; any consistency between water and half and half will work.

Click here to continue reading this mark making lesson when you download it now!


Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques, Mixed-Media Techniques


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