Easy, Smart and Very Sneaky Fixes for Pen-and-Ink Drawing Mistakes

pen and ink still life cross hatching

Mistakes? What mistakes? Maybe you don’t make any ever — but that would be super weird. If you do mess up now and then, like basically everyone who draws, here are some sneaky ways to hide your bloopers.

An Accidental Mark

pen drawing of a girl

So you made a mark where you didn’t mean to, leaving a line of ink in a space that was meant to be blank. The best fix: incorporating this mistake into your piece. Try altering the pattern of a solid element of your drawing so the wayward line looks intentional.

Smeared Ink

smeared drawing of cupcake

You didn’t let the pen ink set for a few minutes before erasing the pencil lines, so it smeared. Or, you let your hand rest on an inked area while drawing another portion, then pulled it away too quickly, ending up with a big smudge. But never fear! You can cover up the damage by adding other elements to your drawing, like a background or color.

Spilled Ink

You dropped your pen while you were making a mark, and the ink went splat on your piece. Now you have wild, experimental marks you never wanted.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: If the ink spilled from a bottle, the damage might be serious enough that you’ll need to redo the whole drawing (sorry!). BUT, depending on how extensive the damage is, you might be able to salvage your drawing by covering the problem areas with opaque paint.

A Water Bloom

pen water bloom

What should you do when water hits the ink and creates a “blooming” area? This can happen pretty easily. Maybe you thought your ink was waterproof and it really wasn’t, or maybe a drop of water accidentally hit your pen-and-ink drawing and … aaack!

We won’t lie: This isn’t necessarily an easy fix. Look closely at what’s happening. If you can’t see a way to make the piece work, all hope isn’t lost. Try the paper method: Put a “patch” of the same type of paper on top of the messed-up area, and you’ll have a clean slate.

There are lots of ways to fix flops when you’re drawing in pen and ink, and that’s another good reason to give the medium a try. Pen and ink definitely deserves props not just for being gorgeous and fun to work with, but for being user-friendly too. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes! You can’t really be creative without ’em.

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One Response to “Easy, Smart and Very Sneaky Fixes for Pen-and-Ink Drawing Mistakes”

  1. Nancy

    Please help me learn how to fix ink issues