Wired Differently

by | Mar 15, 2016 | Storytelling, The Art of The Craft, The Missing Conversation | 3 comments

I love the boldness and the incredible subtlety you can achieve with pen and ink renderings. I completed Ready At Six in 2006. Instead of crosshatched lines, the image is comprised of tiny ink dots made by a mechanical drawing pen.

The nib of this pen is a .05mm hollow tube with a hair-like wire that acts as a plunger to deliver the ink to the paper. In terms of size, this is one of the smallest nibs you can use for this work. I chose it because of the velvet quality of the transitions between light and dark tones it produces.

Art magazines geared to beginners state that this technique, known as stippling, is generally reserved for small, simple drawings that seldom exceed 5x7 or 8x10 inches in size. The image area of my rendering measures 11 inches wide by 15 inches tall. My memory will be faulty here but I seem to recall putting in at least 50 to 100 hours of time on this image. I also recall loving every minute of the work. I also had to give it up because of a nervous tremor that was developing in my left hand from the repetitive motion the technique requires.

In a time when shortcuts, multitasking and efficiency are worshipped without question, expending such time and effort is considered insane. You don’t use this technique to crank out pieces on a production line. You do it for love. You do it because you enjoy the process for its own sake and because it returns something greater than the effort required. You do it because not doing it feels worse. It’s how God designed my wiring.