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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth De Cicco

Pen & Ink at DBG and NYBG: Line and Stipple

My instructors have very different styles, so Pen & Ink was interesting this week. One instructor prefers minimal line and stipple work, with stipples arranged neatly in lines or spirals. My other instructor prefers a full tonal value approach to line work and random stipples. The minimalist uses a weighted line around stippled subjects, but my other instructor does not (glad I asked before the final project!). With the Rapidographs, we are only taking the darks up to 90%. My other instructor wants fully saturated 100% darks. I think after a few more projects, I'll have a good sense of which techniques I like best.


In the DBG class, our homework was a small mushroom in a combination of line and stipple. I had recently collected some chanterelles to sketch, so I chose three specimens for this assignment. They all came out pretty well, so I submitted them to NJMA's newsletter. When classwork slows down, I will do one one these in color. Our new topic this week was using stipple to show color and value.


Chanterelle mushroom series
Chanterelle series in Rapidograph pen on Bristol Plate


In the NYBG class, we reviewed an oak branch assignment done with a 104 nib. We were given an outline and small file of a completed drawing to copy, but there were some differences between the two. I left some gaps because the light source was confusing and one image showed more holes in the leaves. I also used a 300 series vellum instead of Bristol plate because I was expecting this assignment to be classwork. I think I will redo it with diagonal strokes on 500 series paper. We have several different assignments this week in addition to coming up with a final project that utilizes all the techniques we covered in class. We started covering stipple this week as well, using a .25 mm micron to create random marks.


Quercus alba pen and ink
Quercus alba twig with leaves in #104 crow quill on Bristol Vellum


The NYBG final project for Pen & Ink is one linear subject with a #102 nib, one hatched subject in #104, and 1-2 small subjects in 0.25 micron pen. I think my theme will be host plant-parasite-hemi-parasite, e.g. Quercus alba, Russula sp., Monotropa. Pinus rigida, Russula sp., and Cypripedium acaule would be another nice composition for weighted line, stipple, and hatching. I came across the perfect site with all 5 of these species in close proximity recently. I would need to capture all the hairs on the Cypripedium acaule basal leaf, so that would likely be my hatched subject.


Monotropa uniflora, Russula, Cypripedium acaule
Monotropa uniflora (top right, emerging), Russula sp., and Cypripedium acaule basal leaves

Monotropa uniflora





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