How to Ink a Drawing

Whenever we want to enhance our creativity, ink drawing comes as a relevant option. And if we don’t know how to ink a drawing, that will seem very difficult for us, although it is a cakewalk. All you need to accumulate is ample knowledge about this drawing. 

For this reason, I have bought a nice concept of guidance where you can draw using ink anytime. Not only that, this article will help you to know about every step on how to use ink and draw beautiful designs with it. 

Especially for beginners who are new to ink drawings, they must carefully consider the steps and terms. Hence, starting your art journey and continuing it smoothly will be easier for you.

How to Ink a Drawing: Step-by-Step Process

ink a drawing forest

Step-1: Ink a Sketch

In the first step, you sketch an image by keeping the proportions, focus, and lines right. And do not forget to clean the lines you have created with your pencil. So it is inevitable to keep your pencil lines clear, precise, and well-defined. Afterward, set your position where you want to start inking. 

Step-2: Work on Your Sketch

Now it’s time to work on your sketch by starting from one side. Likewise, remember not to trace over the given lines and ink your drawing by keeping the final image in mind. After that, adjust the ink line by using a thin nib and light ink. And then wait for some time to dry those inks.

Step-3: Develop Style and Technique 

One of the most important things for an ink drawing is adding texture. Moreover, you should paint small details with your ink and leave a hue of realism. Yet, many of us do not want to waste ink. In this regard, stippling, cross-hatching, and hatching can be useful for us. As a rule, you must make proper use of shadow, contrast, and tone in times of ink drawing. Especially those who want to make their drawing more realistic should go with a high amount of toning and shading.

Step-4: Ink the Final Drawing

While painting cartoons, do not forget to give bold outer lines. As we know, perspective and lightning varies in drawings, be certain of the shades and lines. Again, too much interior detail is not important in ink drawing and still helps develop the style. Conversely, there should not be any differences between your inking and drawing techniques.

Essentials for Ink Drawing 

Firstly, you will need some materials to use for inking, and you can get these at any old art store or get them online. However, a liquid black India ink is one of my top materials. 

Although many watercolors are available, liquid black ink always stands first for black outlines. This kind of ink has been used for centuries for calligraphy drawings and paintings. And more recently, it’s very popular with cartoons and comic book illustrators. 

You can draw or paint with this ink; you can dilute it to make gray tones with its water-soluble. Hence, the ink is very easy to clean, although it will stay in clothing. So do not give it to your toddler. 

Black Ink

feather quill pen glass inkwell

Undoubtedly, your ink will become fully dry as it is waterproof. That is why you will love using black ink with watercolors. Or you can lay down your black lines, and when it is totally dry, you can paint over it without any smudging or bleeding. For now, a good starting point is something like Higgins’s black magic ink. Again, a tiny little 1-ounce bottle is plenty which goes a long way after coming in paints. 

If you anticipate using a lot of ink that comes in pipes, be careful and caution when transferring these to tinier containers because their ink pens are the pens you dip into the ink and have to draw with. 


drawing nib pen

Usually, ink pens come in two parts e.g. a handle and a nib. However, nibs are designed to pull the ink up into them. Also, there are many different kinds of nibs with different purposes, from calligraphy to drawing. Well, these nibs come in different sizes. Some are more flexible and sensitive than others. So it is a matter of experimenting and figuring out what works for you. 

I would recommend getting something like a drawing pen set from speedball. It comes with two handles, one is large, and the other is small. Again, multiple nibs can help you play around with them and figure out what feels best to you. 

To use pens, insert your nib into the handle. Make sure it fits pretty snugly. You will see that the tip of your nib has a split at the down of the center. All being well, you can see that split when you put the nib to paper and add a little bit of pressure. Now that split will lead to the vent or hole of your nib. On the other hand, you will fund a well that draws the ink. 

Dip your Pen

ink dip pen drawing

If you see, there will be no ink stored within your pen. For this reason, you will need to continuously go back to your jar and dip the pen into the ink to load it up. When you dip the pen, remember not to dip it too deeply. So submerge your nib above the well, and be sure to let any excess ink drip off before putting it on paper.

Nonetheless, a nib also helps hold the pen at a flatter angle instead of upright like a ballpoint pen. Technically, your drawing will look like a pen, but physically it is more like handling a brush. In particular, this nib will give light pressure at a low angle. 

Creating Strokes

Try making strokes that start with light pressure, add harder pressure, and then light again. As a result, it will be easier to affect the thickness of the lines. And when you run out of ink, return to the jar as you need to practice and get familiar with the field. Moreover, using these pens, you can create fine lines or thick heavy lines with just one stroke.

Use of Brushes

set of drawing brushes

Whatever you write using these pens will undoubtedly be elegant and timeless. You can also paint with ink using brushes. Well, brushes with softer bristles, like watercolor brushes, work very nicely with ink. Also, they will work as delicate tiny brushes to do delicate tiny lines. Similarly, Chinese calligraphy brushes look like bamboo brushes, designed for traditional ink painting. 

But you can apply them to whatever inking style you want to do. When you dip your brush into the ink, it is important not to dip it too deep; no further than two-thirds of the hairs should go into the ink. Because the brush hairs will naturally want to pull the ink up into them. 

If you dip it too deep, the ink will get into the glues that hold the hair to the handle, and it will mess up the shape of your brush. 

Cleaning Tools

After inking, clean your tools to ensure that their last nibs are removed from the handle. And, lastly, wiped down with a damp towel. Then wash out your brushes with soap and water. You can get a specialty brush cleaner at any art store.

If you’re using ink for just drawing, a good little thicker paper can be a perfect choice than a regular printer paper. And it holds up nicely if you want to get nice crisp lines and have sturdy paper that you are comfortable using. Again, watercolor papers are effective for doing watery washy techniques. This paper is designed to hold a lot of water. and not

Technique Pressure

Now let us know about technique pressure. As mentioned before, the pressure on a pen or brush will influence the thickness of your lines, also known as weight. Well, one strength that these materials have is, creating fluctuating lines in just one stroke. 

Even if you are making a simple ink outline with no shading or altering, the weight of the lines can add depth and imply lighting and make your drawing pop hatching to create texture or shading. In the same way, you can make many parallel lines side by side, called hatching. 

Anyways, a pen creates cross-hatching by making a series of criss-cross lines. Side by side, the further lines look lighter in tone and will be closer to the darker tone lines.


Yet, the darker tone hatching will become clean and straight lines, or it can be a jumble of scribbly lines. Stipple is much like hatching according to the tone, effect, and texture that you’re going for. 


As the ink is a water-soluble liquid, it will be attracted to water, creating a watery effect. Besides, the ink layers clean, clear water on the page, and you need to load your brush or pen with ink. Afterward, tap your brush onto the wet part of your paper. Hence, the ink will flow only where the water is. 

If your paper is dry, the ink will stay in one place, and if the paper is wet, the ink will flow out to fill that wet space. 

You can control this chaotic technique and create cool effects by practicing daily. Furthermore, dilution pink can be diluted with water. Or, if you want to get gray tones, you shall wash your brush down in a BIRT jar or load them up with extra water. 


Before dipping your brush into the ink, you must put ink on the page and quickly add water to it to create a diluted effect. By conveying more water, you will get lighter tones. Whereas less water creates darker tones and splatter slider effects which are messy, chaotic, and fun.

Next, load up your brush with ink and maybe a little extra water to loosen it up. Or lightly tap or click your brush toward the page.


It takes some practice to get used to controlling these splatters. And try to control them as much as you can, but it looks like a cool experiment to play sketch doodle. For this reason, fill your sketchbook with thousands of terrible ink drawings. The more you handle it, the more comfortable working with liquid ink.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Many Types of Ink Drawings Are There?

In general, there are 13 types of drawings. They are- 

  • Caricature drawing
  • Cartoon drawing
  • Figure drawing
  • Gesture drawing
  • Line drawing
  • Perspective drawing
  • Photorealism
  • Pointillism
  • Scientific illustrations
  • Scratchboard drawing
  • Silhouette drawing
  • Sketch drawing
  • Technical drawing

What Skills Are Important for Drawing? 

All in all, there are some skills that everyone must have for drawing. For instance, putting your thoughts together is a crucial aspect of it. Alongside, you should have a perspective of drawing, including different color schemes. Similarly, understanding the proportion and recognizing the edges are other important drawings.

What Are Drawing Inks Made of?

In Particular, inks are made of binders and carbon. On the flipping side, inks were made from plant and animal sources, like- sepia and iron gall. Additionally, sable brushes and other varieties, e.g. pen, reed, and quill, were the traditional tools for drawing.

Final Thoughts

Summing up the whole content, I hope you got to know enough about how to ink a drawing. Contrastingly, the newbies will have an oriented distinction on their art and make their work flawless. All being well, do not miss out on the steps on ink a drawing given above.

But the fact is, we want satisfaction from our ink drawing. Therefore, a proper direction can help us overcome all mistakes we may make during our work. In brief, you need to put your ideas through your art and go through every step accurately. You will see your drawing took a beautiful shape with numerous shadows, tones, etc. Lastly, be certain of your work and make sure it looks amazing.

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