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!
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.
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.
• 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.