Ink: Initiated

In getting back to doing more art, I’ve worked on both digital and ink pieces. With digital, it’s easy to change my direction, and to try new effects. Getting back into inks, though, reminds me that planning is ultimately my greatest friend in traditional media.

In the case of this new ink, Initiated, I kept changing my mind in the sketch stage. Should it be a monster? Should it be the veiled death that I’ve had in mind for awhile?

As I was sketching it out, the one idea I kept coming back to was an eye. Specifically, a shocked, concerned, or even horrified look from someone. After a few starts and stops, something not unusual when I’m getting back to work after a hiatus, I started inking the idea.

Here’s what it looked like after the initial steps in inking, what I like to call the, “bludgeon the paper until it listens to me” stage of things:

Initiated, art of russell dickerson

I also commonly consider this stage to be the point where it may not work as art. I have had pieces that just don’t work out, and I reach a point in nearly every piece where I have to wonder if it’s time to trash it or keep going.

In this case, I was sufficiently happy with the eye area especially, so I kept at it.

The stage above, at least how I ink things, is more about the areas that I know will be black. Heavy lines, backgrounds, and other areas where I know the crosshatching to come won’t be an issue. From here, I pick a more or less random spot, and start crosshatching.

Initiated, art of russell dickerson

I have a tendency of skipping around a lot when I’m crosshatching, so I won’t bore you with all of the in-betweens. Here is the final crosshatched piece:

Initiated, art of russell dickerson

At this point, I usually have to make a decision on ink washing. I think I hit about 50-50 on my overall works, whether they stick with only crosshatching or if I ink wash them. In this case, I decided that the crosshatching provided a great texture to the face. Further crosshatching for shadows, while necessary, would have made the piece too busy.

Using the wicked cool plugin I have installed, here’s what the finished crosshatched piece looks like when compared with the final ink washed piece. Just push the slider back and forth to see the difference.

Here’s the final ink piece, 5″ x 7″ on 140 lb. Cold Press stock. Click on it for a larger version.

initiated, art of russell dickerson



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Russell Dickerson has been a lot of things over many years. Author, artist, designer, winner of awards and recognition, pursuer of the truth, leader of the earth after armageddon.