Creating with Line and Wash






Art created in line and wash combines two traditional types of media: pen and ink with watercolor. It refers to the method of applying flat washes of color to a line drawing in ink. While many illustrations are created using this technique (such as the books by Beatrix Potter), it can also be used for creating beautiful fine art.

When using ink with watercolors, you must choose a paper that is strong enough not to buckle because of the water and smooth enough to use with a pen. You don’t have to use watercolor paper – try different types of thicker, heavier paper to find one that suits you best.

For the wash -- the colored portion of your picture -- use traditional watercolors and brushes.

For the line, use a pen with waterproof ink that won’t smudge. A dip pen has nibs you can change out to get the size you need, but it needs regular cleaning. Claudia Nice describes these pens and how to use them in detail in her book Creating Textures In Pen & Ink With Watercolor. Because my days with my children require something easy to clean and easy to take care of, however, I prefer using art pens such as Sakura's Pigma Micron pens or Koh-I-Noor Nexus studio pens. Art supply stores offer many other brands of disposable pens you can try.

Depending on the picture you want to create, you could begin with the ink drawing and then apply the watercolor paints, or you could start with the wash and then add the ink. Either way, be sure to let the first type of media dry before adding the second one.




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