If you know Brenda Swenson’s “75-day Challenge”, you know the concept of casting aside the pencil, even for organizational purposes and sketching directly with pen. It’s said, and I believe it to be true, that doing so for a lot of sketches, will improve your ability to see and put what you see on paper. The process moves a lot of thinking to early in the process, ensuring that when you do lay down a line it’s in the right place.
I do a lot of ink work but typically use a pencil to lightly outline main masses and relationships in a sketch. But sometimes a guy just needs a challenge and I was feeling like one when I started looking at this railing and post.
I set up to sketch it (Stillman & Birn Zeta -5×8, Pilot Prera) and decided to do it ‘ink-only’, though I confess that I drew a pencil horizontal line at the top of the railing and a vertical line at the inside of the post. Then I got out my pen and stared. And then I stared some more, measuring, seeing, and occasionally putting a dot on my paper. Then I drew the lines… and the curves. For me it was a struggle with all the curved wrought iron to render. And there are screw ups… there are always screw ups. It’s my signature move. But generally, I like the results and had a lot of fun with the process.