How I made an ink drawing of a house
Updated: Jul 14
About a month ago, I started to work on a series of small size ink drawings inspired by the beautiful architecture of Sussex.
Some of the people who follow my activity on Instagram and Facebook have expressed an interest in how these drawings are made, so I decided to write this blog post - it's not exactly a tutorial, but rather a step-by-step demonstration, combining pictures, short videos and brief explanations of the drawing process. Or maybe that's pretty much what a tutorial is, haha!
Anyway, hopefully you will find it useful, or at least somewhat inspiring.
The materials I use are a mechanical pencil with a 2B graphite lead (for the sketch), a black ink Pigma Micron fineliner with a 0.05 mm nib and 270 gsm Clairefontaine Maya paper. I like this paper because it has a very smooth surface which is great for fine details, and it's also quite thick and sturdy, more like card.
For this series, I cut A4 sheets of paper in quarters, which gives me A6 (6in x 4in) sheets of paper.
I also use a big, soft brush to sweep off the bits of rubber left on the paper after I erase the pencil sketch.
In case you're wondering why I draw on such a small format - 1. it allows me to finish one drawing in a day and leave plenty of time to work on other projects and 2. I really like miniature art, I find it really precious.
Below is the image I used as a reference.
As you can see, the light is pretty flat because the photo was taken on a cloudy day. Everyone knows that a cloudy day is an exceptional occurrence in England, therefore I decided to edit this oddity out, and turn it into a sunny scene.
2. The sketch
A very rough drawing is all I need in order to have a general idea of where the main elements are positioned. It took me 5 minutes to make it. I don't use any construction lines or special tools, I simply look at the reference photo and draw what I see.
This is not necessarily something I would recommend if you are a beginner - I am only able to do this confidently because of years and years of experience. I am also aware that it's not a perfect sketch, but it's all I need to get started.
Here's the sketching process compressed into a 15 seconds video:
3. The drawing
You will see in the video below that I start with the outlines of the main elements. At this stage, my drawing speed is really slow because any mistake would be difficult to fix, as I am laying down the basic structure of the drawing. It is also at this stage that I tweak and refine the perspective if I notice any errors in the sketch - look, for example, at the difference between the pencil line and the ink line in the right-side corner of the roof.
Next, I try to define the volumes and surfaces by adding shades and texture. I can't say I have a particular method - I just work my way through the drawing, using a variety of marks to define the different types of surfaces.
I made a very quick video of the drawing process which took about an hour.
If I include the sketch and the outlines, this drawing took me 1h30 in total.
This is the first 'instructional' blog post I've written to date (and hopefully not the last), so the lack of details and structure might leave you a bit confused, but I am happy to share my knowledge with you and answer any questions you might have!
Here's the final drawing! You can check out all the other drawings in the series here.
If you like them, stay tuned - there are lots more to come!