Pen and Ink

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A detail of a copy of a woodcut masterpiece by Albrecht Durter
Detail: copying a masterpiece by Albrecht Durer

I realized today that I’ve been wrapped up in everything but sharing what I’m up to.

Besides getting pieces ready for the upcoming Zookeeper Auction, I’m taking a class in pen and ink drawing from Margaret Davidson at Gage Academy. Although I have some experience with pen and ink, the majority of that has been in stipple work. This class is giving me a chance to hone my skills in a wider range of ink techniques. The detail above is from a piece of homework. It’s not unusual for art students to be asked to try copying the work of a master in order to learn technique (and I assume to get into that artist’s head), but this is the first class I’ve taken that has regular homework involving copying. The above detail is from my attempt at copying a woodcut by the master Albrecht Durer. I can’t think of an artist whose line work impresses me more, so I’ve had a great deal of fun making the attempt. If you look at nothing else of his, at least check out his rhinoceros!

For this project I was given a photocopy of the piece on an 8.5×11″ piece of standard paper. I traced the main lines of the image as best I could onto tracing paper and transferred it to Bristol plate for the final drawing. That all took a long time. There are a lot of lines! From there I’ve worked with three different pen nibs. My favorite is the crowquill (Hunt 102). Most of the lines are drawn with that. For bolder lines I’ve pulled out a Hunt Globe 513EF, and for some finer lines the Hunt 104. The 104 has a very fine point and is my favorite for stippling.

I haven’t kept track of the hours in this piece, but I can tell it’s been a while over multiple days. I’ve had to stop for today because my hand is sore.

Below is a photo of the full piece in progress.

A partially finished copy of a woodcut masterpiece by Albrecht Durer
Copy of Durer’s Amazing Woodcut, 8.5×11″, pen and ink on paper