Thursday, March 5, 2009


It's been a while since I posted a DIY, so for people who like fine inking pens and illustration here is a review just for you.

Sepia Inking
Sepia is a rich, warm brown tone that has a distinctness about it. It is generally recognized as a color utilized for fine art sketches and for old photographs. Many of the old master artists would draw their rough work in either Sepia ink or a similar red-brown colored chalk. The original pigment Sepia was derived from the ink sac of cuttlefish but modern pigment inks are chemically made. Sepia inks are known for their rich brown color and warm feel.

Copic makes 3 different Sepia inking pens. You can get a disposable Sepia Mulitliner in 5 different sizes: 0.05, 0.1, 0.3, and 0.5 mm. I like this style because it has the most pen point sizes. The refillable Multiliner SP only comes in 0.3 mm or Brush Small, but it is a good choice because you can replace the tip if it ever gets damaged, or you can swap out the tip for any of the 7 other large point sizes available for Multiliner SP's. All Copic inking pens are pigment based meaning that they won't fade over time. They are waterproof and acid-free as well.

Copic also has a new disposable fountain pen, the F01 Sepia. This is a fabulous pen if you are used to the quirks of fountain pens and like the classic feel of them. The F01 pens are pressure sensitive, so if you push harder you will get a thicker, darker line. Since these are a traditional split metal nib you need to work on very good, smooth paper or else the pressure will cause the nib to drag and catch on your paper fibers.

If you like Sepia, then Copic has a new kit- The Sepia Ink Pro Wallet. This comes with different sizes of Sepia inking pens, refills, and matching Copic colors to get a good color range when shading.

Drawing In Sepia
Personally, I like drawing in sepia because of the warm, antique feel. If I'm not working on a project that needs to be clean black lines then it's fun to break up my artwork with gray or sepia. Doing rough sketches with the F01 Sepia allows me to have very faint lines and then as I work deeper shadows in I can just apply more pressure. Line variation makes artwork interesting.

If you want to shadow your sepia work I've found that the E30's sequence works very well. On this picture I chose a simple E33 for my shadows and I added pale Y11 to accent my highlights. I like the lighter brown because it doesn't hide my outlines, and the yellow really makes the picture feel light.

When I am drawing a human figure you can see how loose I keep my outlines. This would be the frame work for a much more detailed image. By drawing basic shapes I can get all my proportions correct before I add clothing or other fine details. It is much quicker to do figure studies in rough shapes and worry about details later. If you look online you can see similar figure studies by many of the old master painters and compare the rough drawings to their final work (Here is a study done by Michelangelo for the Sistine Chapel in a sepia colored chalk and the final painting).

I strongly suggest working with basic shapes to any beginning artist. I can't tell you how many times I've done a nice drawing without using rough shapes and when I finish I've made a bad proportion mistake that would have been easy to fix if it were still a rough drawing (I once gave a girl two left feet- oops!). I can take this warm sepia outline to my light table and easily see which lines are my roughs and which are my final choices. On this rough drawing I see at least a dozen things wrong that I can easily change when I go in for my final art.

Stamping in Sepia
If you are a stamper then you are in luck. The Sepia Multiliners are a match for the Memento ink color Potter's Clay. If you need to fix stamped lines or if you want to draw matching doodles around your stamped image then reach for a multiliner Sepia. If you go back over a line then it will darken it, so keep this in mind as you draw your patterns. Since this is a Copic inking pen you don't have to worry about it getting smeared when you go to color over the line.
Stamp Image: Unknown stamp from Japan, Ink: Memento Potter's Clay, Paper: Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 80# Other: Sepia 0.3 mm Multiliner
Sepia Illustration above: drawn on Color Laser Copier paper


Nicole said...

Awesome info, Marianne! (oh and thanks for the email! I will be in touch!)

Hugs, Nicole

liannallama said...

Oh, I was thinking about sepia earlier this week. I have a special image I want to shade using my Copics but I'm not sure if I have any shades of Sepia or not. I may have to resort to my prismacolors, LOL!