Book Review: The Technical Pen by Gary Simmons

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The Technical Pen by Gary Simmons is an old title from 1992 that has been reprinted by Echo Point Books & Media in 2014. It's great to see this book back in print.

This book is much more accessible and engaging that the other classic book Rendering in Pen and Ink that I find personally to be even more technical.

The book starts off with a section on how to maintain and clean your pens and common problems with technical pens. It's very useful for beginners.

Then it goes on to the different pen and ink techniques, the strategies for their use and how to think about pen and ink art. All these are accompanied by examples that show off the techniques being taught so you can see instantly the type of effect you can get.

There's also an interesting chapter that goes further to highlight the differences in the techniques. In that chapter, there's an image that is drawn 24 times in different techniques, and a mixture of techniques.

The next two chapters cover loose and tight techniques. Loose techniques focuses more on suggestions and can be drawn rather quickly. The tight techniques are the detailed well planned drawings that you know will take hours to execute. The instructions are simple and insightful.

The last chapter is not as good as the others but it's not because of the content. It talks about using coloured inks and colours with technical pens but the book's printed only in black and white so you don't really get to see the actual look of coloured inks. That's the only downside to this book. The coloured illustrations are only available in the hardcover edition. That information was not mentioned in the book description online although it's on the back cover. I would have bought the hardcover edition.

Overall, it's a fantastic book for anyone who sketches or create art with pen and ink. There are lots of techniques to try out and experiment with.

If you like pen and ink art, also check out Pen and Pencil Drawing Techniques.

The Technical Pen is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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The chapter on coloured inks is printed in black and white in the paperback edition. I suggest getting the hardcover edition instead.

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