10 Best Practices for Black and White Drawing

When we were kids, we started to learn how to write and draw with a pencil and paper. And until now, regardless of profession, whether an artist or designer or not, drawing is a part of us. Most of us even still have the habit of doodling on our notebooks and journals using our pencils, markers, or pens.


In the video below, Bobby Chiu explains 10 tips for drawing in black and white. Bobby Chiu is an award-winning artist who specializes in creature and character design. He also holds online art classes at www.schoolism.com.



Doodling in black and white may seem simple. You just let your imagination run wild and draw whatever you like using whatever medium you choose. But when you consider taking your art to the next level, you realize that black and white drawing also has its challenges. Elevate the quality of your art by bearing in mind Bobby Chiu’s tips. Even the simplest of techniques can make a huge improvement.


Prevent Excess Blotches


When drawing with a ballpoint pen, always remember to work clean – expect excess ink to accumulate at the end of your pen. Beware of those ink build-up that can ruin your drawing! To prevent ink blotches, a useful tip is to constantly roll and ‘wipe’ the pen tip across a spare sheet of paper to remove any build-up.


Make a Draft in Thumbnails


For things to go well, they should start with a plan. The same goes with drawing. Make a rough plan of your drawing by drafting first in thumbnails. Thumbnails help you plan out the composition and readability. By starting your artwork with a tiny drawing of what you’d like it to be, you can easily plan or map out your work without taking up the entire space. Drawing small also lets you focus and explore the general elements before going into details.


Light Lines First


When creating your draft, start drawing with light lines first. This is just the rough stage and so many changes will be made before finalizing details, so don’t go drawing definite dark lines yet.


Explore Styles


What’s nice about using a pencil is that other than they are erasable, you can explore different styles of pencil marks and shadings. Make the most out of your pencil and see what works best. Different pencil marks are good for describing different kinds of textures and elements.


Draw Using the Side of the Pencil


Keep the tip of your pencil sharp by drawing using the side of your pencil. Not only does this save time from sharpening your pencil all the time, you can also preserve the pencil from getting too short quickly.


Use Different Types of Pencils


Drawing pencils have different values. “B” pencils have soft lead and make nice and dark lines but smudge easily. “H” pencils, on the other hand, have harder lead and don’t leave marks. “H” pencils are good for drawing with lighter tones.


Protect from Smudges


When drawing with pencils, there’s a risk of smudging your artwork accidentally. It’s best to have a scrap piece of paper to work as a ‘shield’. Keep the blank sheet of paper under the heel of your hand and move as you progress through your work.


Use Markers with Different Tones


As with pencils, you can explore different marks and tones with markers. However, markers are more difficult to work with since they are permanent and their starkness can take quite a while of getting used to. Sometimes, there is no need to work with different colors to make artwork come to life. Different tones and shades of markers can be used. Just like ballpoint pens, markers are permanent, but no need to worry about blotches since most of the time, these dry on contact and will not smear or smudge once it has dried.


Use Drying and Fading Markers for Texture


Don’t throw out your fading markers yet! Almost dried up markers can still be used as a transition between tones and shades. The faded marker ink works as a great middle ground between the stark black of a regular black and a much lighter toned marker.


Draft with Pencil


No matter which tool you will use, either pen or marker, it’s always best to do a rough sketch with a pencil first. If you are satisfied with your draft, then draw over the lines with a permanent marker or ballpoint pen. This way, you can easily make changes in the rough stage and the marking stage will be flawless. After the ink has dried, you can then easily erase the pencil marks without doing any damage to the marker drawing.


The designers at MicroCreatives mostly work with digital software; but we also handle projects that require designers to create their sketches on paper, such as illustrations and comics. Visit our website and contact us to get to know more about what we do.