Alice with lines

My sketch of Alice was done with Walnut Ink and a dip pen on Fabriano watercolour paper. Every once in a while I remember that I have these old dip pens hanging around in my studio, and I haul them out and dust them off. They’re not part of my plein air kit because who wants to carry around an ink bottle and a dip pen? But a dip pen is just so satisfying to work with. There’s the scratchy sound it makes when it is dragged across the paper, and the fat drip that falls from it after you take it out of the bottle. And if you are lucky another fat drip that lands on your paper in the middle of your drawing. My favourite illustrator who works with a dip pen is Barry Blitt. Have a look at how he uses it.

9 Comments on “Alice with lines”

  1. Geoffrey Bladon says:

    Hi Shari,

    The Dip Pen king has got to be Ralph Steadman.

    Check him out at



    • Geoff, I am a fan from way back. As a graphic design student in university, I spent hours studying the illustrations of Steadman, Jack Unruh, Milton Glaser, Brad Holland, Anita Kunz, etc., in those annual awards books. Thanks for sharing, and for the reminder to have another look at Steadman today.


  2. I can’t remember the last time I used a dip pen. I find them too much of a hastle. Your attention to detail on her coat is great!!


  3. I love this sketch, I love dip pens , and have become addicted to them sketching so much at home AND I discovered a new (to me) artist today, thanks to you! Alice is such a good model, I wish my cat would hold still…


  4. Carol Cooney says:

    Hi Shari Thanks for adding Barry to your post today. Enjoyed his form of humour. Love Alice’s drawings.


  5. I, too, love those pens. Don’t use them nearly enough anymore. Nice job!


  6. Donna says:

    Of course I love Alice!!! I have a few of those pens and ink. You’ve inspired me. And Barry Blitt is amazing. The NewYorker covers!!! Like the one with the monkeys.


    • Of course you love Alice!! Glad you like Barry Blitt. I think he’s amazing too. Not just for his drawing skills but also for his wit. That is clearly why he has done so many covers for The New Yorker.


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