Pen and Ink Building Illustrations

Steps of a Custom Ink Drawing

The images and text below outline the basic steps in my custom pen and ink illustration process. To see my online portfolio, prices and terms, please visit my custom pen and ink page.

Pen and Ink House Portraits

Step 1: Create a basic pencil sketch of the building, landscaping

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: pencil sketch for approvalThe first step in my process to create a pen/ink portrait is a basic line sketch of elements. At this stage the house/home is sketched in place, along with appropriate landscaping.

This sketch is sent to the client for approval before the final pen & ink rendering work begins. The client may request minor changes, such as removing a flag pole, trimming bushes, etc.


Step 2: Transfer the approved line sketch to the archival paper

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: transfer sketch to final drawing paperThe second step in my process is to transfer the approved pencil sketch to the archival drawing paper, using ink to indicate the primary lines of the building and landscaping.


Step 3: Begin rendering the details in ink

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: begin rendering the detailsThe bulk of my drawing time is applied to the detail work on the drawing. I begin slowly building up areas of the portrait, giving careful consideration to what needs to be darkest/lightest in order ot make the drawing pop.


Step 4: Build in the details

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: building the shading and detail workDetails are added gradually, so as not to overwork the drawing.


Step 5: Finalize the details

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: adding more detail graduallyMore and more shading is added, continuing with care so as not to make any area too heavy in ink, as that would unbalance the final art. As I approach a completed rendering, I generally set the drawing aside for several days before finishing the work. I find it helps to look at the piece with fresh eyes, again, as a way to avoid overworking the portrait. (Overworking refers to too much shading, which creates a flat or muddy appearance.)

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: finalizing the shading


Step 6: Double-mat and finish!

Steps in a pen and ink drawing: double-mat and shipOnce final, the drawing is mounted on foam core, double-matted, and prepared for shipping!