How to Create Detailed Art With Ink

Articles & Drawing Tutorials, Drawing With Ink

I am often asked how do I achieve such a level of detailing in my ink artworks. I think, in some way, it’s a matter of personal features.

I have a strong tendency to imagine everything in small details and count up the finest things whatever I think of and do every day. Sometimes it can be tiring, but it’s just the person I am ­čśÇ

Some people tend to have a massive, solid way of seeing life and thinking – they, probably, will be great at expressive and impetuous manners of creating art.

I strongly believe that whatever feels more natural for you, trying something new and unusual can help in developing additional skills and activating new functions of your mind. Isn’t it great for the whole life, not only your art?


If you really like the idea of drawing something very detailed with ink liners, I have several propositions for you.

  1. Get a larger size of paper for your experimental artwork.

It may seem obvious, but a large sheet of paper gives much more possibilities than a small one.

Try to draw several larger pieces (for example, two times as much you usually work on) with the same tools, and then come back to the habitual size of paper.

You may be surprised to notice that your drawings became more exquisite!

  1. Put aside wide width pens and work with the thin ones.

For an artwork of A3 size I usually use 0.05, 0.1, 0.2 width ink liners – they are my absolute favorites for refining details. The wider ones are for contours and creating dotwork in some cases.

  1. Combine the ways of drawing the details.

Use basic hatching, dots, cross-hatching, short and long strokes – anything you can fancy is great.

I especially recommend concentrating attention on the dotwork (stippling) technique. Dots can┬áwork wonders and convey the effects that lines won’t do.

My article┬áIntroduction to the Dotwork in Ink Drawings can be useful for you ­čÖé

Let your mind be working all the time. Think about things you draw, imagine the textures and observe the reference photos if they are available. You eyes will suggest you new ways of accenting details in your drawing.

4. Consider replacing a nib by pens (ink liners).

I personally admire nibs as my working tool. However, they have limitations.

For example, it is quite difficult to achieve extremely thin lines with a pointed nib. Yes, the lines will be fine, but they still can’t compete with a hatching made with a 0.03 or 0.05 liner.

So if your goal is having as many details as possible and depicting realistic texture, I recommend you working with ink liners on continuing basis.

5. Never neglect the preparations. 

This means anything you are going to draw with ink should be well thought over beforehand.

Use reference material if necessary (the practice shows that anything that was drawn using references looks more credible than abstract memories or imaginations about this object).

Try to see the things you draw as if you were observing them into the depths of them or like you can move them nearer to you in your imagination.

6. Think in terms of abundance.

The bigger is the quantity of the specific objects you want to put into the artwork, the bigger is the chance that a) you will succeed in uniting them all in one drawing, b) it will be truly detailed.

In other words, it is great to say “yes” to your ideas. Try to make lists of all things you think would look nice together.

I do such lists quite often! For example, how does a list for this artwork below look like?1-bigger-previewSomething like:

  • a snail,
  • grapes (with leaves),
  • a pomegranate – a half and a small piece at the side of the artwork,
  • walnuts,
  • a tangerine – the whole fruit and its segments,
  • a peach,
  • a┬ápiece of wood,
  • small particles that fill up the artwork (pieces of the pomegranate, nuts, flower petals)

You can use a list like this for exploring the textures in details and collecting subsidiary materials like photo references.

It is also useful to keep in mind your composition. The drawing has to have a semantic center, an object that draws attention to itself. It can be something bigger or darker than everything else in this piece of art. If your artwork is a mess of equally small objects, the viewer can be overwhelmed.

You may ask: how to be patient enough to think over all these things and create a highly-detailed artwork?

The answer is simple. If your desire to develop the skill of making something detailed is strong enough, you will overcome this resistance. An artist should love his or her art in order to be successful and happy, isn’t it? And love is a discipline in action.

I have an advice for you that works really well. When you are creating something, think in terms of love. Enjoy this thing with all your heart, be grateful for the very possibility to draw, to explore your talent and grow the skills.

Sometimes we all encounter a routine. Making a drawing in a stippling technique is kind of┬ámonotonous, too – especially when it is any larger that a coin. ­čÖé

The choice of your thoughts and emotions while drawing is entirely up to you: you can choose a thought that each dot or hatch you put on paper brings you closer to mastery, happiness, the┬árealization of your dream, success, wealth or anything that is important for you. Just try this way of thinking ­čÖé

Thank you for reading and much joy performing your creative projects! ­čśÇ

You may also be interested in this article:

How to Be Patient Enough to Create Art (And Finish It Every Time)

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