Fantasy Art Identity: 5 Practical Ink Tips for Artists
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Choose the right ink
  2. Use ink washes for shading
  3. Create textures with cross-hatching
  4. Practice ink blotting techniques
  5. How to maintain ink brushes

Have you ever wondered about the secret sauce that makes fantasy art so captivating? You got it, it's ink! Cultivating your fantasy art identity in ink is an art in itself, and with the right tools and techniques, you can create a unique style that captivates your audience. Let's dive into some practical tips that will help you harness the power of ink in your fantasy art journey.

1. Choose the Right Ink

The first step in cultivating your fantasy art identity in ink is to choose the right ink. Not all inks are the same, and the choice you make can significantly impact your work. So what should you consider while making this critical decision? Let's break it down.

Types of Inks

There are two main types of inks to consider: pigment inks and dye inks. Pigment inks are known for their durability and resistance to fading over time, making them a great choice for pieces you want to last. On the other hand, dye inks offer vibrant colors and smooth flow but might fade quicker. Choose what suits your style and the longevity you want for your artwork.

Quality over Quantity

When it comes to art supplies, quality matters. A high-quality ink will give you a smoother application, richer color, and better results. It may cost a bit more, but the investment is worth it. Brands like Winsor & Newton and Speedball are known for their top-notch inks.

Testing Before Diving In

Before you start using a new ink for a major piece, it's a good idea to test it out. Try it on different types of paper, experiment with various tools, and see how it behaves. This way, you’ll familiarize yourself with its characteristics and avoid unpleasant surprises in the middle of your artwork.

Choosing the right ink is a vital first step in cultivating your fantasy art identity in ink. It sets the foundation for your work and can significantly influence your style and the final result. Remember, the aim is to find an ink that complements your style and helps your fantasy world come to life.

2. Use Ink Washes for Shading

Once you've chosen the perfect ink, it's time to start experimenting with techniques. One powerful way to bring depth and dimension to your ink art is using ink washes for shading. It might seem intimidating at first, but with a little practice, you'll be on your way to mastering this technique and cultivating your fantasy art identity in ink.

The Basics of Ink Washes

Ink washes are similar to watercolor painting — you dilute your ink with water and apply it in layers to create different shades. The more water you add, the lighter the shade. Here's how you can get started:

  1. Start with a base layer: Apply a light wash over the entire area you want to shade. Remember, it's easier to add more layers than to take them away.
  2. Build up layers: Once the base layer is dry, apply another layer of ink wash to start building up the shadows. Remember to let each layer dry before adding the next one.
  3. Detailing: When you're satisfied with the shading, you can add details with a fine-tipped pen or brush.

Control is Key

When it comes to ink washes, control is key. Having a good understanding of how much water to add can make all the difference. Be patient, start with a light wash and gradually build up the darkness. This way, you can avoid blotches and uneven tones.

Experiment and Learn

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment. Try different ratios of ink to water, use different tools, or even mix different colored inks. Every experiment is a learning opportunity to refine your technique and bring you closer to cultivating your fantasy art identity in ink.

Remember, mastering ink washes takes time and practice, but the results are worth it. This technique can add a whole new level of depth and realism to your fantasy art, making your characters and landscapes come alive.

3. Create Textures with Cross-Hatching

As an artist aiming to cultivate a fantasy art identity in ink, mastering the technique of cross-hatching can be a game-changer. This technique involves drawing intersecting lines to create texture and depth, bringing an extra layer of reality to your fantasy art.

The Art of Cross-Hatching

At its core, cross-hatching is a simple idea. However, when applied effectively, it can create stunning results. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:

  1. Start with the basics: Draw a series of parallel lines over the area you want to shade. These lines should be close together.
  2. Draw a second set of lines: The second set should cross the first at an angle. The point where lines intersect creates a darker shade, adding depth and texture.
  3. Layer it up: Add more layers of lines at different angles to create even more depth. The closer the lines are, the darker the shade will be.

Choosing the Right Tools

While you can use any pen for cross-hatching, certain types can make the process easier. For example, a pen with a fine tip can help you draw precise lines, while a pen with a larger nib can fill in larger areas faster.

Practice Makes Perfect

Like any other skill, mastering cross-hatching takes practice. Start with simple shapes, and as you become more comfortable, move on to more complex images. Remember, each piece you create brings you one step closer to cultivating your fantasy art identity in ink.

With patience and practice, cross-hatching can help you create the intricate textures and shades that make your fantasy art come alive. So, pick up your pen, and let's start hatching!

4. Practice Ink Blotting Techniques

Another significant step towards cultivating a fantasy art identity in ink is exploring the world of ink blotting techniques. Ink blotting is a rather unpredictable, yet fascinating ink technique that can add an element of surprise and intrigue to your artwork.

Understanding Ink Blotting

Ink blotting is the act of applying ink to paper and then folding it while still wet to create a mirrored, abstract design. You might be thinking, "Isn't that just a fancy way of saying 'making a mess'?" Well, yes and no. While the results can be unpredictable, with the right approach, you can guide the chaos to create something truly unique and captivating.

Blotting Steps

Ready to dive into ink blotting? Here's a simple guide:

  1. Drip or brush your ink on one side of the paper. Don't worry too much about the pattern, just make sure the ink is evenly distributed.
  2. While the ink is still wet, fold the paper in half. Press it lightly to ensure the ink transfers to the other side.
  3. Open the paper gently to reveal your creation. Allow it to dry completely before adding any other elements to your art piece.

Embrace the Unexpected

Remember, the beauty of blotting lies in its unpredictability. It adds a touch of mystery and spontaneity to your fantasy art. Embracing this technique is all about letting go of control and allowing the ink to take the lead.

So go on, give ink blotting a try. You might just find that it adds the perfect touch of whimsy to your fantasy art identity. Let's let the ink do the talking!

5. How to Maintain Ink Brushes

When it comes to cultivating a fantasy art identity in ink, the tools you use are just as important as the skills you acquire. Among these tools, ink brushes take on a significant role. A well-maintained brush can be your best friend, so let's talk about how to keep your brushes in tiptop shape.

Cleaning Your Brushes

First things first: you must clean your brushes after each use. Leaving ink to dry on the bristles can damage them, affecting the quality of your future artwork. Here's a simple step-by-step guide on how to clean your brushes:

  1. Rinse your brush in warm water until the water runs clear.
  2. Gently squeeze the bristles from the ferrule (the metal part that holds the bristles) to the tip to remove excess water.
  3. Shape the brush head back to its original form and let it dry horizontally on a flat surface.

Storing Your Brushes

How you store your brushes can also impact their lifespan. The best way to store your brushes is upright, with the bristles pointing upwards. This prevents any damage to the bristles and helps them maintain their shape.

Investing in Quality Brushes

Lastly, investing in quality brushes can make a world of difference in your art. Quality brushes can provide a smoother ink flow, better precision, and will last longer if taken care of properly.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your tools are always ready to assist you in creating your unique fantasy art identity in ink. Remember, a happy brush equals a happy artist!

If you're looking to improve your ink drawing skills and bring your fantasy art to life, don't miss the workshop 'Connecting To Drawing: Pen & Ink' by Molley May. This workshop will provide you with practical tips and techniques to enhance your ink drawings and create stunning fantasy art pieces.