The Discovery of Pen and Ink - The Story of Naturally Illustrated

The Discovery of Pen and Ink - The Story of Naturally Illustrated

My drawings as a child weren’t really good if I were to be totally honest. There were always kids in my classes who could draw so well, but somehow, art classes in elementary school made me bring home some paintings and creations that really made my parents think I was good. (they didn’t see what some of the other’s looked like)

In the 7th grade, I was enrolled in art classes at a local community center - Visual Arts Mississauga at Riverwood I believe it was called. We learned some basic still life techniques, and we used pastel and charcoal mediums.

I would say that I enjoyed it, and continued to work with oil pastels after the two semesters of lessons, but not for much longer.

In high school, my arts elective was of course visual art, and I took it throughout my whole time there. We worked with various mediums there too, adding to the knowledge I had already gathered. I never thought I would remotely be creating art as a career, and interestingly, I remember having a conversation once with a business minded friend who asked me why I would take extra art credits, with the idea that it would be a useless skill in the future workforce. Well it seems to have worked out in a way, even though we never did any pen and ink work in high school, I may have not been as keen to a career in the arts had I not gone through all those classes.

And well, after high school, I stayed away from any creative works for several years. 2017 was when I got the incline to draw again. It came after seeing a pen and ink illustration for the first time. It was by artist Thiago Bianchini, an eagle illustration with a landscape drawn within it. I was floored by the beauty of it, the rich contrast of the black and white, and part of me thought, I think I can draw something like that.

So I didn’t hesitate to go out and buy the very same pens that Thiago used, Micron Pens by Sakura. That trip to the art store was one I will never forget, but at the time, I didn’t think anything of it - definitely wasn’t thinking I would someday be creating illustrations for a living. But here we are!

The pens were a dream to work with. Archival ink is very rich, and it is very satisfying when a fresh new pen meets paper. I also liked how clean it was, there was no clean up or worry about making a mess everywhere, plus it is quite portable - you can do it anywhere.

But my first illustration was actually just me recreating the eagle illustration that Thiago made. I studied his drawing and noticed up close that he used stippling to detail his piece. So I did just that to the best of my ability, and the finished result was nowhere near the quality of the original but it wasn’t that bad. I showed a few people, and I got really positive feedback. So I began to create my own illustrations, and sharing them online.

And that’s the story of how I got into pen and ink art. The next several years was an era of experimentation and learning. Through determination, many failures, and chasing big dreams, the universe has welcomed my work with tremendous amounts of warmth and love. You just never know how life can be changed by such a simple desire. Today, I remind myself that more and more, to cherish those simple moments, those interactions that may seem meaningless at the surface, and to be grateful, as their ripples can travel very far if we let them.  
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