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Ink Wash Drawing

A chapter from a larger work

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Ink Wash Drawing

Ink Wash drawing is a powerful medium for making expressive images. Whether: still- life, figure, portrait or landscape, it can provide: a strong value range, minute control over details, & a high graphic impact regardless of scale. The artist [limner/draughtsman] has an almost infinite variety of tools: ink pens, brushes, wood sticks & miscellaneous other drag, scrape & scumble possibilities. With watercolor brushes all the subtle expression &

control of the watercolor is possible. By the slow & careful application of light ink washes any accurate value level may be achieved. With a small amount of courage & a willingness to destroy something good in the quest to make something better, ink wash readily lends itself to original and unique solutions. Although it is perceived as an almost uncontrollable tool of expression, nearly any degree of subtle control is feasible. It does require planning in advance to anticipate expressive issues, but like sumi painting, lends itself to the most powerful autographic calligraphy strokes & expressive brush exploration. Because it is so sophisticated & seductive it can wrest control from the artist becoming its own end, its own

justification for being. [Beware the benevolent all powerful “OZ�. Relying on magic can become habit forming.] Some artists abandon all color along with their other media upon seeing just what magic tricks this ancient mediumcan conjure. Few things can equal the sheer graphic power of the ink wash drawing. Dabble at your own risk!

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Careful anticipation & planning can render almost any texture or

surface. This material incorporates the best of drawing & painting while reducing an image to a single color with almost infinite values. The most purely gestural expressive line is possible . Together they offer the best of value & line together with the best of

expressive drawn & painted texture. If a modicum of imagination is applied, the medium will serve for nearly any subject. There are obvious advantages to matching the medium to the subject matter, however the smallest experience will suggest & demonstrate other

possibilities. Some of the best of these are glass & water related images, anything with reflective expressive & strong graphic implications.

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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The subtle purity of black ink is enhanced & amplified by inclusion with & careful juxtaposition with watercolor. Illustrators have long

understood the high graphic impact possible. Perhaps it is time for the fine artist to do likewise. Imagine these subtle value & color combinations used for comic books and illustrative adult graphic literature.

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Presented here is a set of stages recorded from the process of producing a portrait in ink wash. From careful initial graphite drawing to the final detail & clean up, this represents a fair demonstration of what is possible. This was drawn with a 6mm

mechanical pencil. When complete, the drawing is erased to remove as much graphite as possible while leaving a minimum amount & number of guide lines to begin the initial ink application. A tape mask line is added at top & bottom of the page to enhance graphic impact.

1 Graphite is not used as an image element in the final drawing, having been repeatedly erased as the ink washes progressed. Graphite is simply a progress interim tool used to insure accuracy and control.

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Initial light value washes of sumi ink & water establish skin tone shadow & fine detail of eyebrows, pupil & eye lashes. This establishes eye placement expression & value without completing the task. Thereby leaving the best until last, but establishing the accuracy of the all important eye expression

while still in the initial stages, when the first attempts may be abandoned and the portrait begun anew.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Large sweater area & initial value range is established as are shadow areas in the hair & lip shadow edges and nostril. Eye lid shadows are accented & eyebrows darkened slightly. Wax lines are added as resist lines in the hair to establish highlight detail later.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Value range of shadows & dark areas enhanced shadows at left of face accent attractive curves of forehead cheek & chin. Hair shadow passages darkened. Eye lashes are darkened & accented. Masking tape is replaced with transparent mending tape (offering a better seal & longer term removability).

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Sweater blacks are pushed to full value. Nose accent enhanced by slight darkening of left cheek & eyelid lower shadow. Under chin shadow darkened & lips accented. Wooden chopstick (sharpened) used to indicate individual hairs & tendrils in light value wash.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Darkest hair shadow values established with

additional first indications of hair texture. Right upper eye lid shadow darkened, lip outline enhanced hair shadow tendrils added with wooden tool. Shoulder shadow indicated, as well as hair shadows on face.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Darkest shadows on sweater enhanced as well as

darkest value & texture of hair. Rougher passages of hair texture masked by addition of a lighter value wash, using ½� angled sable flat. Tendrils accented. Eyebrows darkened using a sable round &

sharpened chopstick. Wax resist hair highlights now in evidence.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Pencil lines at eyes erased. Pupil value & edge lines enhanced with chop stick. Face shadow clarified, individual hairs added by hard bristle brush & ink pens.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Hair details & toning down highlights, hair shadows deepened. Eye brow & lashes enhanced with ink pens.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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After signature block is added, I live with the

completed image or a day or 2 after removing tape masks to show sharp top & bottom lines. All pencil is erased. Eye brows, lashes & face shadows darkened using sable round & chopstick.

Watercolor sheet removed from block when dry & flat.

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Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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From my studio with north light coming from my left. This is the set up on a

small plastic table, photo source image above and tools to the right. Including: ruler, mechanical pencil, razor blades, erasers, 2 ink pens, 2 plastic lids for

mixing, ½� sable angled flat, 2 #6 sable rounds, 2 wooden sticks, tweezers, toweling & sock rag for blotting &

blending, wet stomp blender, white wax birthday candle, utility knife.

This series should demonstrate a few of the possibilities inherent with this ink wash medium. I can recommend it to all who might be interested. JRJ

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

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Ink Wash Drawing

A chapter from a larger work

Copyright 2009 Jon Rader Jarvis all rights reserved

16


Ink Wash Demo Drawing Chapter