Tool and Mark-Making Basics

There are all kinds of ways to make a mark with ink. And combining these types of marks can both define forms and be a vehicle of personal expression. There are also lots of tools a you can use with ink. Here are some of the basics. 


  • Pens: generally good for clean, even lines, not lots of line variability
  • Nibs: not as clean as pens, fair amount of variability, beautiful line quality, very messy
  • Brushes: tremendous line variability, beautiful line quality, difficult to master


  • Contour: basic line form, outline, using single line to define interior shapes
  • Hatching: creating tone with small, tightly spaced lines