Why You Don’t Need a Bunch of Ink Liners to Create Great Art or Learn How to Draw

Articles & Drawing Tutorials, Drawing With Ink

Let’s talk about the art supplies. 🙂 I hope this article will be an encouragement and inspiration for the beginners in the ink drawing technique.

Note: I employ the most commonly used name «ink liner», but the information of this article is applicable for any sort of pens that are used for artistic purposes, drawing and sketching.

I’m often asked what kind of ink liners do I use. Beginners in ink graphics are usually interested what brand should they choose and how many liners should they have to learn the easiest way and create a good, noticeable art.

These are good questions: every tool has its own distinctive features, and every artist wants to guess right at the first try because a successful choice of the tool provides a great outcome. At the same time, I often notice that the art supplies are put at the top spot, ahead of the real skill of the artist. I think this point has to be clarified.

There is no way how any tool can make you a master and give you any kind or super power. A qualitative tool can help you to hone a skill (in some cases it’s easier to draw with something of high-quality, designed specially for artistic needs) or to get a better-looking final result (for example, a steady pigment liner preserves fresh contrast look of a drawing much longer), but you have to make all the necessary steps in gaining the expertise and mastering the skill yourself.

What kind of brand should an artist or a beginner in art choose to buy an ink liner? I believe, there is no perfect answer. There are some established brands that produce art supplies, including ink liners. You can choose any of them because their products are really qualitative.

The only difference lies in details, so it’s a matter of personal preferences (and habit) that don’t actually have an influence on the drawing. If you’re a skilled artist, you can draw with any liner and get great results. Maybe it’s just more pleasant for you to use a liner of the x brand than the y brand because you like the color of the liner’s body and its tip is more pointed  And every artist finds something that works best for him (her) as time goes by.

Let me share my brief story with you.

When I began drawing with ink liners, I already had a solid base in drawing with ink and nib. I had two reasons to try liners: 1) it’s difficult to achieve uniform, very thin (less than 0.2) lines with nib — nib needs to be wiped clean and kept sharp, and 2) sometimes even accurate people are «successful» in accidental throwing down the container with ink (or single drop of ink) on the clothes, table or even on the almost finished drawing.  It’s also not so handy to bring a bottle of ink with you to practise some sketches outside your working area.

My first liner artworks were created with 0.1 Faber-Castell Ecco Pigment liner (at that time I hadn’t a thought that I might need wider liners, so bought only 0.1’s). Also in the 2014 year it was difficult to find ink liners (or rapidographs, or isographs) at my local shops — the assortment was really modest. By the way, this is my very first «only liner» work:

goat“Life’s Mystery”, end of the 2014 year

Working with only 0.1 ink liner was a real fun: it created very thin uniform lines. Of course, I had to put additional effort in drawing wide contrast lines and spots, because 0.1 line alone was too thin for them. But still, it was an awesome feeling. Soon I ordered two sets of 0.1 and 0.05 UNI Pin Fine line ink liners, and they gave me the opportunity to create even thinner hatching. That’s how the era of Eugenia Hauss crazy detailed art began 😀

Several months later I began using liners of wider widths (0.2 — 1), tried brushpens, and started experimenting with ink colors (grey, sepia, white). At that time I’ve also tried Copic liners and grown fond of them. As you can see, it was just a broadening of my horizons and widening of artistic possibilities, not a search for a magical solution for my level-up in drawing.

So let me sum up. If you are a beginner in drawing with ink liners, you don’t have to throw a good deal of money on the art supplies. To become acquainted with this artistic technique, you can choose a brand or a product line with a good reputation (Copic, Uni pin, Faber-Castell, Pigma Micron, Pilot and others) and buy only several liners, for example of 0.10.3 and 0.5 widths (it’s absolutely suitable for small and medium sizes of paper, A5-A3). The options of

The options of water and fade proof are strongly recommended (you can always check them up in the description of goods or directly on the liner’s body). And then, after you have your liners — it’s time to practise. All you actually need is a LOT of practice and listening to your feelings in the process. Soon you may conclude that you need thinner or thicker liner and feel the urge to experiment with new tools.


You don’t have to buy many liners to make a stock. I draw with ink liners every day for many hours, and one liner is sufficient for several months of continuous work. It’s all about using your tools accurately  🙂 But, if you are sure that you absolutely love this particular model of a liner, you are welcome to purchase some copies for your artistic stock.

Working with any art tool is similar to a journey full of unexpected discoveries. But the potential that is being revealed during this amazing journey, is not the tool’s, it’s the artist’s. I hope that my article became a useful guide for everybody who is interested in drawing with ink liners, and inspired to determined actions. Have fun!

2 thoughts on “Why You Don’t Need a Bunch of Ink Liners to Create Great Art or Learn How to Draw

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