Review: Pen & Ink Essentials by Paul Heaston (Craftsy course)

This is the other video tutorial course I bought on Craftsy that's from Paul Heaston. The earlier one I had completed was Drawing the Everyday and that one talks about keeping a sketchbook and some basic drawing techniques.

Paul Heaston is fantastic artist with pen and ink. I've always marvelled at the sketches he posts online, especially those panoramic pieces with amazing perspective.

Pen & Ink Essentials is sort of a followup to the earlier video. This video tutorial is targeted at beginners who want to learn more about drawing with pen and ink.

The official retail price for the course is USD $34.99. Look out for occasional discounts that appear now and then.

The 138-minute tutorial is split into seven chapters, namely

  • Contour Lines and Gestural Lines (15min)
  • Creating Value with an Ink Wash (22min)
  • Cross-Contour Lines (11min)
  • Hatching (19min)
  • Basket Weave, Gesture & Stippling (14min)
  • Challenging Textures (31min)
  • Putting it All Together (26min)

The first lesson covers the basics of creating contour and gestural lines. It's basic drawing with the pen to create outlines for the subject. It talks about the types of lines you can create with a dip pen. It also deals with using a brush for drawing and applying wash, and in the first lesson the brush is used for more loose and gestural drawings.

The second lesson goes into more detail with using the brush and ink for creating value. It's a quick way to create value when compare to the latter lessons.

The next few lessons talk about using the technical pens, those that create uniform lines, to create value using a variety of techniques, such as hatching and cross-hatching, stippling, using random textures and suggestive marks.

The last chapter builds on all the techniques taught to complete a piece of art.

The lessons are easy to follow along. Heaston would talk about a specific technique and then immediately demonstrates what he just said. And along the way, he will mention the different ways you can adjust the techniques to suit the subject that's being drawn.

For some demonstrations, he will also show examples of sketches from his sketchbook that are created using the same technique. All the techniques taught are those that you can see him use for his sketches.

The instructions are concise and concepts are explained and demonstrated clearly. As usual at the end of each lesson, there's some homework that you should complete and post online where Heaston will then critique and offer tips on how you can improve on the drawings. You'll also be able to see the questions posted by other students and learn along with them.

All the good stuff I've said are quite similar to what I've said for his earlier lesson Drawing the Everyday. Drawing with pen and ink can be intimidating but he makes it look simple.

It's a very educational course. Highly recommended for those who want to get started with using pen and ink.

Over 500 students have signed up for the course. Check out their reviews and enrol for the lesson on Craftsy.

Check out other video courses from Craftsy that I've featured at

Disclosure: This course was provided to me by Craftsy for review purposes. You can support Parka Blogs by using the affiliate links as I get a little commission from each sale. :-)


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