Ancient China Pen and Ink with Phillip Martin
Lesson Plan
Learner Outcomes:
Realize that the contrast of value (tone) causes eye movements over a picture
Appreciate line is used to represent the world around us
Positive and negative space are used to enhance aesthetics
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance realism
Appreciate that texture is used to enhance aesthetics
25 pencils
25 rulers
25 erasers
India ink
25 ink pens
Value, Line, Positive and Negative Space, Texture, Hatching, Cross-Hatching, Stippling, Whirling

Students are introduced to four different techniques using pen and ink - shading with hatching, cross-hatching, stippling, and whirling. At least one class session should be devoted to each technique allowing the students time to draw a simple object and practice the technique.

Hatching -- This technique is simply using parallel lines. If you want an area darker, use more parallel lines. If you want an area lighter, spread the parallel lines out.

Cross Hatching -- This technique is made with intersecting lines. If you make parallel lines going north and south. Then, make parallel line going east and west. The darker you want things, the more lines intersect.

Stippling -- The effect is beautiful, but this is only for the most patient artist. Stippling is made one dot at a time. It is possible to hatch and cross hatch on a piece of art but usually stippling is done alone. The panda above is done with stippling while the leaves were simply outlined.

Whirling -- It's just what it sounds like. Lines are swirled and whirled, squiggled and wiggled. It's fun to do, but very hard to make look good. I rarely have students select this technique for the final project.

Helpful hint: When using ink, it works best to dip the pen in the ink and then wipe off excess ink on the top and the bottom of the ink pen by rubbing the pen against the neck of the ink jar. This helps to avoid ink blobs from suddenly ruining a piece of art.

After the practice sessions, students need to do a pencil drawing on 8 x 12 paper. If they are making a replication of a piece, a demonstration with using a grid to make a copy is a good investment in time. You can see how to do this if you check out this other lesson I have with Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Using a grid is an incredible skill for students to have.

Selecting whichever style pleases them the most, or a combination of techniques, students will complete a final ink rendering.

Helpful hint: Ink W I L L be spilled during this activity. It will get on clothes. No matter how uncool it is, it is wise to wear an art shirt. At the very least, kids need to roll up their sleeves. Have a lot of paper towels on hand and don't work near carpet. Ink will be spilled.

I tell students that they may not get out of their chairs for any reason unless they first tightly put the lid back on the ink jar. After the lesson, personally check each lid to be sure they are on tightly. If they are loose, the next time a student picks them up, there will be an ink spill. This is one time I tell the kids that it is okay to trust nobody. :-)

Another Helpful hint: I learned this after one student had to start over NINE times on an ink drawing. Some kids are never going to be able to successfully work with ink and not mess things up. If a student ruins a project twice, on the third try I give them a felt tip pen. It doesn't look as nice, but some times you just have to be practical.


Copyright 2000, revised 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.