Normally I use technical pens when I’m doing ink underdrawings. Metal nibs, refillable, lots of different nib sizes to choose from. For Lakota I had to improvise a bit because I didn’t want to use black ink. Cleaning a technical pen, no matter how thoroughly you do it, does not guarantee that a lighter color ink will not be contaminated with some stubborn left-over black. Although the photo looks like most of the ink is black, it’s really a dark brown. There’s also some reddish orange which is quite obvious. So anyhow, I bought a few ready-made fine-line pens in brown and red-orange and went to work. The fine-line pens have a fiber or plastic nib, which is why using them on rough canvas wore them out. Never mind, their other virtue is that they’re cheap. Black was not an option because this horse has a lot of white mixed with the other colors and when I get to painting him I will be blending the white into the colored areas and my plan is that the brown/reds will show through the white to some extent.
Whew. Now that I’ve gone around in circles trying to explain the ink I think I’ll just head on to mixing the colors I want to use for this captivating face. I will also have to remember to ask how his ear got that little split in it. I had a client a few years ago with a similar ear. She had named him Nik because of his ear and wanted to make sure that I didn’t try to “fix” it when I painted him!