Working with Pen

Diving into Something New

This week, I had chosen to engage in a new project that I would like to finish prior to the start of the spring semester. Wanting to stay productive throughout the final days of the break, and needing to challenge myself with a new medium, I grabbed myself a 22×28 inch piece of Crayola poster paper, some ballpoint pens laying around the house, and got to work. While I needed some form of structure when making this piece, the sketching process was minimal. This is because the amount of detail that is involved in replicating skin texture and the rush to finish this work on time are both immense. As a result, pencil was used solely for the purpose of blocking in shapes and getting a general understanding of composition. 

While ballpoint pen generally has a limited selection for tips, I found myself using size 05 and 10 for various elements of the work. The smaller tip was used for the textures of the skin and tentacle, while the larger, more bold tips were implemented for larger areas of dark values such as the right area of the image, and the background that merges with the figure.

Facing Obstacles

When engaging in a ballpoint pen however, I found myself encountering a few challenges. One of these being the inconsistency of the ink and how subtle variations in pressure drastically changes the intensity of the mark making. The unpredictable nature of pen made simple techniques for shading extremely difficult. As a result, I had to abandon my intent for clean, gradient blending and use hatching to produce a desired value. Thus, the work has a more textured, almost rough feel to it as the individual marks can be seen throughout. Another challenge was the permanence of the medium. I have no means of correcting mistakes in my piece so I have been forced to put myself in the mindset of being methodical in approaching this piece, as well as embracing minor technical flaws and finding ways around drastic errors. The process however has been time consuming, as I find myself dedicating on average 6 to 7 hours daily cramming in progress to meet my deadline.

Staying Motivated

With such pressure, I find myself turning to great amounts of caffeine and classical music to keep myself in a more relaxed mindset and motivated. While I have been trying to keep things interesting and branch out to various composers and styles of such music, I currently have a tendency to gravitate towards classical violin and piano to keep me at ease during this stressful time.

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