Pencil vs. Inked Lines

22 July, 2015. I’ve several pages in my sketchbooks with pencil sketches that never got inked, usually because I only had time enough to do a rough or a tight pencil. I saw this Lapierre city bike (above) in Dijon – one of the very few vintage bikes in evidence in any of the places I visited in France this year. I had to make a composite drawing, combining the bike, a guy I saw on the street, and an otherwise mundane location. The media is a simple No. 2 pencil on watercolor paper.

Getting the book out this morning, I decided to add color. Rather than ink the lines, I simply added watercolor washes and left some of the pencil lines showing.

Here’s another sketch that came back as a couple of rough pencils. Those got merged into a single composition that I now wish had included an additional element in the lower right hand corner to complete the “triangle” – I feel like it’s a good compositional strategy to have three large main shapes in the composition.

Adding inked lines to the original pencil sketch seems to have made this more cartoonish than I like. The female figure in the dark blouse is much stiffer than in the pencil, which is a shame because I like the composition. I’m tempted to re-draw the whole thing to fix that pinched expression on her face, leave out the black inked lines entirely, and keep the line work a little more subtle by leaving it in pencil.



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