I love inkwork and there are some beautiful inks around not to mention the artists that do beautiful inkwork.

I took my summer shoes to do some excercises with the inks and pens I have. Excercise 1: Summer sandals done in Gris nuage ink from J. Herbin, drawing the lines with a stylo à plume d’oie(quill pen) and afterwards I bled the lines and washed with some powerful blue Eclat de sapphire ink and a small brush. I just can’t help myself. I have to do a wash somewhere with a brush. It is an addiction. I would so love to do only beautiful lines and leave it. Maybe next time.

…the blues…

Excercise 2: A second pair of summer sandals, this time using a speedball pen and Cafe des iles from J. Herbin. Once again just dragged a wet brush over the lines to get a wash, and finished off with some black india ink hatches.

…summer swing…

Excercise3: A pair of Sperry’s…and could I explain the difference in size?  Maybe I have one big foot and one small foot…? Or could it simply be bad observation? Done in a reed pen and plume pen with Sanguine 270, from Sennelier. And after dragging a wet brush over the lines to bleed the colour, I decided to add some washes of Lie de the of J. Herbin. Finished off with some scribblings with a rotring pen, 2,5 .


Excercise 4: Since I had now used up all my summer shoes, I had only my shoe blocks left. Linework in rotring artist pen and washed with a wet brush to bleed the lines. Then decided to splash in some colour with Sennelier’s Sanguine 270 and Lie de the, J. Herbin.



In the past, I have done a lot of calligraphy work, so I have many speedball pens and nibs that work wonderful for drawing. Added to that, are some reed pens(which I don’t like much), plumes/goose quill pen, which I love to work with, rotring artist pen(Fine), and rotring rapidograph pen, size 2.5.

I enjoy the inks of J. Herbin. They are rich, make for nice washes as well as lines and dry with a nice sheen. I have only recently started working with the J. Herbin inks and they are really beautiful! Wonderful for linework as well as doing bleeding with a wet brush and they are lightfast, can be sealed beautifully…in short, I have nothing bad to say about them! I haven’t yet found a nice dark burgundy red, but Sennelier’s Sanguine 270 is a nice dark red which comes close to what I’m looking for.  All the sketches were done in a spiral watercolour pad, 18x26cm (7″x10″) Fabriano Artistico CP. Below you can see part of my “ink workstation”. 

…hailing efforts…

25 thoughts on “Ink exercises

  1. Ronell,
    These are really wonderful – and you’ve inspired me to try something new. I love ink and watercolor wash, and use both the soluble graphite pencils and watercolor pencils in the same way that you used the ink – to bleed the lines. But not as beautifully as you did! I went to look at the J. Herbin site – amazing – they’re here in NYC! I couldn’t however identify the inks you used from your French names and their English product names.

  2. Found your inks! I was looking only at specialty inks and they were among the fountain pen inks. This looks like a dangerous location for me to find….

  3. But those washes are just so you, Ronell – beautiful!…I envy you all those inks and pens, but you make such good use of them, they are in the right hands!

  4. WOW OH WOW!! Ronell — you make even the most ordinary things — EXTRAORDINARY!!! What flare, cara … with a bit of ink and magical lines …. awesome!

  5. How I’d love an ‘ink workstation’. You’ve really worked magic with these, Ronell. I particularly love the show blocks sketch.

    It’s dangerous to give me an ink link because I have an addiction too – particularly with fountain pens.

    Lots of people actually have to buy two different sized shoes – I wonder if there is a ‘foot buddy’ website where one could trade the opposite foot pairs – if you know what I mean.

  6. These are all fabulous Ronell, I especially love the one of the shoe trees. Such a great subject, and the way you handled the wash and the color – a classic ‘Ronell’. Love it. The best part is seeing your work station. What a treat! It’s like getting a peek over your shoulder.

  7. I’m in love with your inky shoe sketches here! You have such a wonderful loose style, and you’re so easy and fresh with what you create. I appreciate the information on what you used in each. I have several dip pens but need new nibs, and you’re making me want to go remedy that situation now! I love the whole notion of the goose quill pen. As for your washes–they’re beautiful and lush.

  8. I always delight in seeing your sketches … AND your lovely watery washes!! I must like that bit of color because the blue one is my fav. I notice in the photo that there is a quill brush, is that what you usually use to throw your splash of color on?

  9. Your sketches are so lovely. It makes me want to try to do another series of something. I am not good when it comes to committing to doing a series. I don’t know if I hate the pressure, the commitment itself or just the thought of repitition. I have the kind of personality that does it once and loves it but then its over!

    You seem so focused and take great steps to capture the subject in many different ways. I love your work, I can get lost there.

  10. Ohhhhhh , I love your lbeautiful loose sketches. What a wonderful series. (we all love shoes after all) Your inks sound fun to use.

  11. What can be better than a series of summer shoes in sumptious shades plus a scene of supplies (can’t think of anymore S words…). Anyway, it was a delight to view the series and then see the pens and ink you made them with. Yum!

  12. I love the shoe collection. And thanks for a well illustrated intro to inks. It’s dizzing how many media artist’s can burn through!! And perhaps you can justify custom made shoes with the size difference? Well, probably not, but I’ve always wanted a pair of custom shoes.

  13. I see playfulness in all of these. You were enjoying the process and it shows! I love the colors and it wouldn’t be you if there wasn’t a wash in there somewhere. Lovely work Ronell.

Tthank you for your visit and comment, II appreciate it!

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