Choose a simple single object to start with. Work in your sketchbook using four drawing tools such as pencil, ballpoint pen, dip pen and black ink and drawing pen. Divide a page into four and try to make four distinct grades of tone using criss- crossing lines – hatching – and spots. Try marks close together or further apart, short and long lines, curved and straight, large and small spots and stipples, etc. Don’t worry about neatness or accuracy.
Once you’ve practised a range of small lines and marks, arrange three or four objects and make a very quick and loose line drawing. Don’t draw obvious outlines; use just enough line to indicate the objects’ three-dimensionality, then work fast, using the hatching and/or spotting techniques to create tonal shadows that will make the sketches more believable as objects.
I did this exercise in my A2 sketchbook. Firstly, I used B2 pencil, pen, ballpoint pen and Chinese ink and brush to make my marks. I made some shading, hatching, cross hatching, spots and lines with various pressure. I was pleasantly surprised by the degree of controls over the ballpoint pen and pen. I expect both would just give very uniformed lines but in fact they allow variation on width and darkness by varying pressure.
I find Chinese ink did not work with cartridge paper. Even used undiluted ink. It did not stick to the paper because the paper is not absorbent.
I draw three little white tea cups set on white paper against the wall, four times on one A2 sheet. The first is top-left corner one with B2 pencil. It is from direct observation. I use lines to describe the three-dimensionally and solidity of the subject. I am relatively happy with it but I think my lines could be more tidy and controlled.
The other three were redrawn based on the first drawing, not from direct observation of the subject because I find it easier to draw with pen when the sketchbook is laid on a table instead of standing on an easel. The second one is at the bottom-left. I only used lines and cross hatching to define the form. I worked fast as suggested. the drawing bears fluidity. I think it is OK as a quick sketch.
The one at the top-right corner is the third attempt with just dots. Initially I tried ballpoint pen but couldn’t because the nature of the design. Ink did not come out if the ball is not rolling. So I changed to pen. I found the dots are easy to control and better in describing the shape and solidity. I like this the best amongst all four.
The last one is at the bottom-right. I restricted to straight lines. I think I could have achieved a better result if I allow myself to pencil the outline first. Furthermore, I find drawing negative space help define the subject better
As a whole, I find this exercise useful.