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Whoops! I did it again: Fixing Mistakes in Ink

Hello everyone! Long time no see! Thank you for bearing with me as I finalized my move across the United States from Connecticut to California. It was all a very exciting journey, and now that I am happily settled into the San Francisco bay area I'm ready for a new blog article.

This month I've decided to tackle one of the more unforgiving mediums

I've always looked at ink drawings with a mixture of fascination and intimidation. Ink drawings are so bold and beautiful. all that splendor in all those carefully planned lines.

One wrong move and poof! There goes your beautiful drawing... :'(

Over the past year I've made a few works of my own, made a few mistakes of my own, and found the following techniques have helped me tremendously.

I invite you to share in my new found wisdom, but first, a few notes on how to prevent mistakes from happening.

In each of these drawings I have adapted to "mistakes," made along the way.

"If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail."

- Benjamin Franklin

Have a Master Sketch: When it comes to inking, don't put all your eggs in one basket. Have a master sketch on a separate piece of paper that you can copy off of and re-trace if necessary. During the inking process use it for reference, and if necessary, use it to start over if you hit the point of no return.

Use Good Paper: Materials, including paper, are everything. Use paper that is marked good for inking. I myself like to like to use Bristol. Using the wrong type of paper invites issues such as bleeding and smearing to occur.

Exercise Patience: Inking requires that you give it time to dry. Be sure to give areas of your drawing a break before re-going over them. Ink in some details and then move on to another area. Make sure your work isn't in danger of you resting your hand on a freshly completed spot.

Get Fully Engaged: When inking, use your whole arm, not just your wrist. Practice strokes on a separate piece of paper before diving straight in.

It's too late for all that, how do I fix it?

Using it to your advantage: Is there a way you can incorporate your mistake? Maybe you made a line a little too thick? In that case, review the over all image and think of ways you can play with the line work to make it interesting. Maybe it requires some design alteration. Don't be quick to write off your "mistake." Sometimes a mistake can lead to a "happy accident," that forces you to creatively make improvements.

Example of White Gel Pen Fix

White Gel Pen: If its a small mishap, sometimes a white gel pen can help out. In this instance I have purposefully colored the entire lip of the woman in my drawing black, but I forgot to leave some negative space for the highlights. With the help of a white gel pen (I use a Japanese Gelly Roll pen) I can go back in without it being too noticeable.

Notes: White gel pen is nice in the fact that it works great even on black ink, but it doesn't fix large areas. You may even have re go over a small area to make sure it is completely opaque. If this is the case for you, make sure it is completely dry before doing so.

Cut it Out: This technique only works if you are doing your drawing on a thicker weight paper. You also must be pretty confident that you can keep a steady hand. In this example, I have purposefully made the line weight of the earring too thick:

With a sharp X-acto blade, lightly cut into the top layer of your paper, tracing out the area you wish to remove and making sure the line connects on all sides.

Ever so gently slide the blade under this layer of paper, and lightly flick it off.

The paper left underneath with have a slightly rough texture. If done in small areas, this is hardly noticeable over all.

Note: If you need to rework the area, you can do it pretty safely in black ink. If you are using colored ink proceed with caution. Re-coloring can darken the fix and make it very apparent. See the above image. The right half of the gray square is much darker than the left. The right half of the black square barely shows at all.

Using the above techniques I have managed to save this drawings and a few others. Try them out and let me know how it goes.

If you have your own tips, please be sure to share! I am always looking for ways to avoid a few tears, and I'm sure there are many others as well.

Thanks for checking out my blog and be sure to sign up to receive updates.

Happy Artmaking!

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