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Drawing of Rhino by Durur

Drawing Like Dürer

I’m so excited for this week’s art activity! This activity was created by a very good friend of mine, Rosalyn Eves. Rosalyn is a talented writer whom you can on the web here or follow on Twitter here. She’s one of the smartest people I know, and she’s also an artist! Without further ado, here’s the great activity she created to go along with this week’s book:

Albrecht Dürer, the famous artist at the heart of Elise Broach’s Masterpiece (featured on Monday’s post), was known for his intricate, detailed pen and ink drawings as well as his detailed wood-block prints.

Like James and Marvin, you, too can create fantastic pen and ink sketches–if you’re willing to take your time and pay attention to detail.

1. First, pick your subject and assemble your supplies. 
You’ll need paper, a pencil (with eraser!) and a pen (I used a regular ballpoint pen). For this exercise, I used one of my son’s dinosaurs. (It kind of looks like the rhinoceros shown above, doesn’t it?)

Toy dinosaur

2. Look carefully at your subject. Using your pencil, lightly sketch the basic shapes that you see. (If you press too hard with the pencil, it will be hard to erase later.)

Loght sketch of dinosaur

3. Once you have the basic shapes in place, go back and add the details in, still using your pencil.

sketchier sketch

4. Go over your sketch with the pen. When you’ve finished tracing the whole thing, erase the pencil lines. (You may want to wait a minute for the ink to dry, or you’ll get smudged ink lines like I did on the tail!)

pen drawing on top

5. Use tiny lines to create the shadows on your picture.

more detailed pen drawing

6. You can use cross-hatching (make lines first one direction, then another direction) to make the darkest shadows darker.

close up of drawing

7. Observe your subject carefully and add any final details that you see–here, I added the lines that make up the dinosaur’s hide. Frame your finished masterpiece! (Or hang it up on the fridge). You’ve now mastered a Dürer-esque style of drawing.

detailed drawing

8. Anyone can use observation to create an ink drawing–this last image was done by my preschool-aged daughter.

a kid's drawing of a toy

Thank you so, so much Rosalyn! And everybody else–send me your drawings if you try this activity out! I’d love to see them and (with your permission) post them!

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