July 18th, 2014

Alpha vs. Epsilon

Designer and art educator Ellen Ward has written an informative blog post contrasting inking on the Alpha and Epsilon Series. (Alpha is white and has a medium grain surface; Epsilon is also white but has a smooth surface.)

“Ink is a catalyst for seeing. It is definite and for the most part indelible. By drawing consistently with ink one learns to make clear decisions and develop better aim. I generally do not use a pencil underlay because it hobbles my responses and makes me lazy.

Crosshatching is one of the ways to create values with pen and ink. It can be done mechanically, with drafting tools, but I much prefer a spontaneous approach that allows me to draw freely. This way the lines can build slowly and organically. A paper with a slight tooth like Alpha breaks up the line just a bit. The pen skips in fits and starts because the ink hits the hills and skips the valleys on the surface of the paper, even though each is very subtle.

With Alpha, one can build tone slowly and not end up with fully inked dark areas unexpectedly, the result of the lines that have already accumulated before you could gauge the values in the sketch. This can happen even when you are an experienced artist, but a paper with some texture is a good hedge against this issue. This is the reason that most of my students prefer to crosshatch with a little bit of tooth in the paper to avoid over-inking. I would recommend using Alpha for beginners to inking, and for any drawings which hope to have a broad range of values through crosshatching.

On a smooth paper like Epsilon the line is crisp and unbroken. Furthermore, smooth paper like Epsilon creates line with speed because there are no hills and valleys on the surface of the paper to slow the movement of the pen. Although the garden drawing sketch “looks” detailed, it actually was drawn rather quickly with loose lines. I sketch broad gestural lines to place the foliage and draw immediately on top to build texture. A drawing like this relies on the gestural truths of observation: that way the plants stand as large masses and directional movement. This kind of drawing is most like painting. Textures vary depending on the quality of the leaves and the movements of the water. Stark contrast in value is the goal rather than slowly accumulated tones.

I also really like Epsilon for figure studies in life drawing class. I use ink wash, Pitt Artist pens in grays, and a Lamy Safari filled with Noodlers ink for figure studies.” Ellen Ward’s blog: http://bit.ly/1pheRko

MEDIA: Ink, ink wash
SURFACE: Alpha Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Medium Grain Finish
SURFACE: Epsilon Series – Heavyweight – 150 gsm – White – Smooth Finish

Alpha vs. Beta (1024x485)



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