Pen & Ink - One Object Three Times (Level 1)

Goals and Objectives

  1. To gain an understanding of proportion within one object and reinforce observational drawing skill from the Still Life Project
  2. To understand how values make objects appear to exist in three dimensions
  3. To learn three different shading techniques, practice them, and each of them to create a drawing
  4. To gain experience using a dip pen

Step by Step

  1. This project follows does not need to, but typically follows the Level 1 Still Life Project so that students already have familiarity with representing objects in three dimensions
  2. Show video demonstrating start to finish inking of an object with each technique (available upon request)
  3. Demo use of pen & ink and talk about to-do's and not-to-do's for best drawing and health of pen tips; give students time to use pen and "play" with it to get a feel for making different marks
  4. Demo hatch and stipple techniques - explain expectations of each for value scales
  5. How To for Stipple demonstration video is available on YouTube.
  6. Students create their own value scales and playground and turn in for inspection/corrections before moving on (template available upon request).
  7. Pass out printer paper for initial drawing as students to begin to create an extended gesture drawing of their chosen object (approx.15-20 min).
  8. Most objects will need to be slightly larger than fist size, but not too big, in order to fit on the provided drawing paper (a few objects such as a hammer or wine bottle may need to be slightly smaller than actual size).
  9. Remind students of proportional measuring (already covered in class) and give time to begin adjusting drawing to correct any inaccuracies.
  10. Begin simplifying drawing to get rid of (by erasing) any extraneous lines left over from extended gesture and...
  11. Add any and all shapes you can see in the objects in an effort to reference highlights, reflections, shadows, and dark areas. *note that this is an extension of the previous drawing assignment, so this step should be more sophisticated this time
  12. Demo using light table to trace rough draft drawing (from newsprint) onto final 12x18" drawing paper (TRACE SUPER SUPER LIGHT) *note, students must have instructor approval before moving on to the tracing stage.
  13. Begin shading objects after instructor approval of value scales and playground.
  14. Pro Tip: Shade light, NEVER OUTLINE, begin with stipple (they can then use stipple to guide their values in hatch object
  15. After one or so days of shading, demo and discuss fill in - especially leaving "gaps" and white areas in between black areas to create depth
  16. Student must create three separate drawings, one for each technique. With instructor help, final shading usually takes approximately five 90 minute class sessions.


  • pencil / eraser
  • printer paper (for rough draft)
  • drawing paper, 12"x18"
  • a variety of objects that are different materials and sizes (wine bottles, wooden pepper mills, candle sticks/holders, screws, bolts, scissors, wing nuts, etc.)
  • dip pens and bottles of ink
  • paper towels


  • This project typically takes approximately to eight 90 minute class sessions to complete.


If you would like digital copies of examples of this project to download and/or the shading/playground template, please email with your request.


This project typically heads in to the first painting unit for the Level 1 students.

Some select supplies can be found with the below links: