Create a sci fi landscape illustration using pen and ink
4.5 (7 ratings)
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Create a sci fi landscape illustration using pen and ink

Learn to use thumbnail drawings to create multiple concepts before refining one idea and rendering a final illustration.
4.5 (7 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
792 students enrolled
Last updated 5/2017
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  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Supplemental Resource
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn a methodical approach to picture making, generating quick ideas as well as exploring options before commiting the time for a full sized rendering.
  • Work with various different pens and learn the strengths of various types of inking methods
View Curriculum
  • Materials required are paper, pencils and pens. brush pens would be ideal but paintbrush and ink can also be used as an alternative..
  • Some basic drawing knowledge is a plus but not essential as this working process can be applied to any style or subject.

In this course I will take students through the methods I employ to create a black and white illustration using traditional paper and ink media. Along with demonstrating step by step the working methods I use, I will also give my thoughts on some of the broader topics surrounding picture making and design. I will discuss what I think are the strengths of working through a project using traditional media and why I believe it is still the key foundation to visual creativity as well as the importance of keeping a regular sketchbook.

  • In the first section I will discuss the materials used, including brush pens and fineliners, as well as the paper types used.
  • In the second section we begin the process by making a series of quick thumbnail drawings to explore different ideas around a similar theme. After producing these thumbnails we will narrow to one concept and make a quick preliminary study to finalize the composition.
  • In the third section I will begin by laying out the loose pencils, just getting the larger masses down and indicating the composition.
  • Section four is where the first detail are applied and the pencils are refined to the point where they are ready for the inking process.
  • Section five is the beginning of the inking process, starting with the area in the foreground of the illustration.
  • In section 6 the inking process continues on the middle ground focal point of the composition and I will discuss using different pens for different line weights.
  • Section 7 comprises the middle ground of the rendering and is broken down into sub chapters. Here I will use many different pens and markers to help sell the illusion of depth and detail.
  • In section 8 I will add the finishing touches, using white gouache paint, as well as any other small refinements as well as summarizing my thoughts on the process.
Who is the target audience?
  • Anyone interested in improving their working method, beginners to higher levels
  • Comic book inkers
  • Designers and illustrators
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Curriculum For This Course
16 Lectures
Introduction & Materials
2 Lectures 08:42

A brief overview of the course and it's goals, from materials and thumnail sketching, to final illustration

Preview 01:08

In this lecture I will discuss the various pen types we will use throughout the course as well as the two kinds of paper. I will also demonstrate which niche each of the pens is most useful for and why.

Preview 07:34
Thumbnails & Preliminary Drawing
5 Lectures 15:34

In this first example, we begin to explore ideas by thumbnail sketching, using a Pentel pocket brush pen on copy paper. The idea is to work very small and rapidly generate ideas, while avoid getting caught up in excessive detailing at this early stage

Preview 02:41

Here we continue the ideation process with another thumbnail drawing, working on a variation of a similar theme of a science fiction inspired landscape. Still working at the same small size with the same tools, we can see how quickly we can explore different ideas.

Thumbnail 02

In this third thumbnail drawing, we begin to narrow down towards choosing a final composition for the full sized illustration. I will also discuss how this method allows you to quickly generate many ideas which can be developed and refined later, as opposed to jumping into a full sized drawing unprepared.

Thumbnail 03

With this fourth and final thumbnail, I arrive at the chosen concept for the final large scale drawing. With this, even though it is a very small and quick drawing, all the major elements of the composition are in place that will appear in the final piece.

Thumbnail 04

In this lecture, I take the chosen composition and make a slightly larger and more detailed preliminary drawing, using a Copic Fineliner and Pentel brush pen. The purpose of this is to flesh out the concept a little further and make certain all the essential elements are working, before committing the time required for a full rendering.

Preliminary Drawing
Pencilling the final illustration
2 Lectures 16:38

Here, we begin the full sized illustration by first adding loose pencils. The goal initially is to deal with establishing the larger shapes before coming in later to refine the details. I will also discuss working with different types of pencils in terms of lead softness, as well as the qualities of bristol board as a medium for both penciling and inking.

Loose pencils

In this chapter, i will refine the pencils and work into the drawing, adding the final layer of detail. The goal is to now take the drawing to the point where the inking process can begin so we make sure everything is in place and use a ruler to ensure the angular elements are precise.

Refined pencils
Inking the foreground and middle ground
2 Lectures 21:34

In this chapter, the inking process begins and we will learn how to be methodical, by starting with the foreground first. I will also discuss using the Pentel brush pen to create heavier line weights, in order to sell the illusion of depth. I also cover the inking process and how bristol board reacts to inking compared to paper.

Foreground inks

In this section i will begin inking the middle ground of the drawing, which is also the second focal point of the drawing. As well as discussing the narrative thought process behind the illustration, I will demonstrate using a new tool, the Zebra brush pen, to create medium line weights, helping to achieve a balance of detail versus clarity. Another area I will discuss is the danger of over detailing when drawing and the use of white gouache paint to make corrections.

Middle ground inks
Inking the background
4 Lectures 35:10

This chapter covers the start of the inking process for the background and second focal point of the illustration. This is the most detail rich area so the Copic fineliner will be used extensively to flesh out those finer details. I will also discuss using reference when depicting landscapes and making small adjustments to details that were previously unplanned.

Inking the background 01

Continuing work on the background, just fleshing out the details on the landscape and structure.I will also discuss some of my influences and employ the copic alcohol marker for the first time, to cover large areas in black.

Inking the backgound 02

Continuing work on the background section I will use a ruler initially to clean up some outlines. I discuss how as the process continues, I tend to switch tools more often and some different approaches one could take to rendering in ink, including traditional brushes and ink nibs. I also discuss the differences between tools in more detail, as well as the variations in black ink.

Inking the backgound 03

In this chapter we are drawing close to the finish, mainly now just finishing smaller details and making minor corrections and cleaning up where necessary. I will also discuss some broader topics, like working consistently with a sketchbook to level up your skills and how there are no shortcuts to putting in the hours. I will also discuss how important influences are but how it is important not to directly copy and give my thoughts on other visual artistic fields.

Inking the backgound 04
Finishing touches
1 Lecture 04:24

In this final chapter I will finish the final details and add the starfield using some undiluted white, gouache paint. I will also summarize the overall process. Also included with this final chapter is a downloadable .psd file of the final scanned line drawing with the line art on a separate multiply layer.

Adding the finishing touches
About the Instructor
Oliver Bown
4.5 Average rating
7 Reviews
792 Students
1 Course
Freelance designer and illustrator

I am a largely self taught designer and illustrator working with both traditional and digital tools. I am passionate about preserving the place of traditional media in the creative process, although I also recognize the great flexibility and utility of digital tools as well. For me, the process always begins with drawing on paper as I feel this is the quickest way to brainstorm ideas and is also much more satisfying in a tactile sense.

István Szép
4.6 Average rating
988 Reviews
13,266 Students
12 Courses
Design teacher

I'm a graphic designer, illustrator and design teacher for more than 10 years. I create clever logos and cute illustrations, I like to inspire, share my knowledge and make people think and laugh!
I use Inkscape, an open source graphic design program in most of my design, and I was teaching this to my students too in a college in Budapest.
I am constantly sharing knowledge about design and life as a freelancer. I teach on Udemy since 2014 and work together with some of my friends now, to create better courses together by sharing my online teaching experience
Exploring new ways to create and sharing my knowledge is what I like the most - so don't be afraid to ask, I'm here to teach!.