Thursday, January 7, 2016

Brush Pens at Life Drawing

1/7/16 Zebra brush pen, Canson all-media sketchbook
(2 min. poses)
The last time I went to life drawing was in October, so as usual, I felt creaky today. Whenever I let more than a few weeks go by between sessions, I feel like I forget everything I practiced the previous time.

One thing I did remember, though, was how much I enjoyed using brush pens last time – both a “hairy” Sailor Fude Nagomi and a “non-hairy” Zebra double-sided brush pen. For the really short one- and two-minute poses, I preferred the Zebra’s greater control. For the five-minute and longer poses, I switched to the actual brush hairs of the Sailor, which requires moving a bit more slowly to have the same degree of control. In both cases, I like the look of the raw, organic lines, and their water-soluble inks are ideal for quick shading.

For the last 10-minute pose (bottom of page), I switched to a fountain pen. The model’s foreshortened, bent knee sure was tricky!

1/7/16 Sailor Nagomi brush pen (5 and 10 min. poses)
1/7/16 Sailor Nagomi brush pen
(5 min. pose)

1/7/16 ink, Sailor fude fountain pen (10 min. pose)


  1. Doesn't seem like you're rust at all. Nice!

  2. These are good - I'm impressed by how the 2, 5, and 10 minute poses are all complete statements, just with varying levels of detail. Coincidentally I just recently started using brushpen (a Pentel hairy) in life drawing and really like it as way to jumpstart my brain to think holistically and draw intentionally on the short poses.
    I haven't tried it on any longer poses yet. I wonder if a long pose would be better used to work up the drawing with more detail, or to spend more time observing and considering between marks.
    Have you tried it on a long pose?

    1. Thank you, Matthew! I've tried long-pose sessions occasionally, but I tend to get bored working on the same pose for more than 20 min., so I usually end up wandering around the studio getting different angles. In this post, the top sketch I show was made during a 20-minute pose with a non-hairy brush pen:
      I find that if I spend much longer than 20 min., I end up overworking it. It's hard to simply observe without working on it, but I think that would be a good thing to try. It might prevent overworking but still gain more detail or just better value definition (which is always my biggest challenge). I don't think I've tried a 20-min. pose with a hairy brush pen. I will try it next time, though, because I do get better control with it when I slow down.


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