Pen and Ink – Today

Over the last few days I’ve been browsing online, learning about pens, inks, and artists who have worked with them. I’ve shared a bit of the knowledge I’ve found, and I hope you’ve enjoyed looking back at the past history of the pen–and-ink medium.

As I’ve browsed, though, I’ve had to do quite a bit of digging to ferret out this history. Most of what has come up in my online searches has been about contemporary ink artists and how ink is used in art today.

So, to finish up my little mini-series on pen and ink, let’s look at inking today, starting with eight of the most non-traditional ink artists. These men and women have found unique ways to create art with ink.

8 Artists Who Use Ink in Fascinating Ways

I won’t go through all eight artists here, but I’ll mention a few and share a note about their techniques.

“Chen Yingjie, also known as Hua Tunan, is a street artist in China. He combines traditional chinese art and asian-influenced motifs to create stunning creatures on a variety of surfaces. His technique actually consists of throwing and catapulting ink against his canvasses. This masterpiece was brought to life from 10 feet away, using only three colors.”

Chinese Street Art by Chen Yingjie

From Australia, we have Loui Jover, who “creates breathtaking works of art using pens to carefully place dripping ink on vintage book pages. Jover is famous for creating stark, gloomy silhouettes and capturing emotions using subtle details. His most well-known masterpieces are those that depict tears streaming down faces.”

One of my favorites in the group is the American ink artist Charles Close. No pun intended, but look closely at this ink creation.

Ink Portrait by Charles Close

He creates hundreds of large scale portraits with fingerprints and ink pads.

“The subjects of his portraits are his family, friends, and fictional subjects he makes from scratch. When asked by strangers if they could pay him to paint their portrait, he refuses because ‘Anyone vain enough to want a nine-foot portrait of themselves would want the blemishes removed.'”

Because I’m now beginning a study of sumi-e — traditional Asian brush painting — I found this article especially interesting. Note: Some of the image links appear to be broken.

Eight Contemporary Ink Painters Who are Redefining an Ancient Chinese Art Form

Chinese Art
Chinese Art by Wang Tiande

And Artist Network reminds us that ink drawing is not just for ink blots anymore. The article shares works by contemporary ink artists Daniel Egneus, Desarae Lee, Matt Rota, and Minjae Lee.

Minjae Lee Art
Ink Art by Minjae Lee

As a child, I remember making ink blots, and yes, it was fun. Now, as an adult who has somehow become an artist, I’m still having fun with ink. I am not the only one, it seems, who finds ink a very creative medium, and I admire all of these contemporary ink artists for their fascinating expressions in ink.

TOMORROW I’ll be sharing artists much closer to home — fellow bloggers who have decided to plunge into the ink bottle and take the Inktober challenge. Whether you have ambitious plans and are determined to complete the entire month, or just want to dabble a bit here and there, please leave a comment and let me know to include a link to your blog.


  • You don’t have to draw and post every day. Inktober is a challenge, but it’s intended to be an enjoyable one. Draw and post as it’s convenient for you.
  • You don’t have to use the official prompt list. It’s fun, and it can be helpful, but you can throw the prompt list out the window and draw whatever suits your fancy.
  • There are no Inktober police roaming through cyberspace looking for artists who break the rules, mostly because there are no hard and fast rules to follow. You can draw entirely with ink, do graphite underdrawings before inking, combine ink with other media, or use any other form of expression you want.

The point of Inktober is to have fun while improving your skills, and I am definitely looking forward to doing both. Who’s joining in with me?



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