Lakota and a l-o-t of ink

Wore out the nibs on two pens for this one!

Wore out the nibs on two pens for this one!

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!

Nik is about as glowing as he can get

Nik with his split ear…

About Alli Farkas

Equine and landscape artist specializing in rural Americana
This entry was posted in art, drawing, horse portrait, horses, ink drawings, painting techniques and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Lakota and a l-o-t of ink

  1. Clover says:

    I love his split ear, gives him character. Great drawing, Alli! Did you use Micron pens? I love their .005 pens for the tiniest detail work, but the nibs are very touchy, and must be used with the least amount of pressure. Tricky!!


    • Alli Farkas says:

      I used four pens, one of the brown ones is a Micron .05. Also two FaberCastell Pitt pens, brown and “orange-y” size “F”. And another brown one, a Stabilo .04. They are all great except for the fact that they wear down! I also have a set of Rotring Rapidographs in various sizes that I usually use for black. What I also loved is that all of the throwaway pens also had ink that was impervious to Grumbacher’s Oil Painting Medium III, which their lines will soon be submerged in…


  2. laura geneve says:


    I am overwhelmed. From what you sent me I can tell you captured his soul which is just what I wanted. And yes he has red/rust/orange/white in his hair, but really no black. I tried to trace back to previous owners where the nick in his ear came from but hit a stone wall 3 owners ago. Some say it is a branding method used out west but Lakota told an animal communicator specialist it came from a fence accident.

    Either way I love what I see so far and look forward to your next update. Gosh, he looks into my soul when I look again at what you have done, Perfect.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Alli Farkas says:

      If I had to guess, I would say he probably “got into it” with a pasture mate who tried to take a chunk out of him but ended up with only a slice. But that’s just my guess…I’m certainly not very good at getting answers from my, or anyone else’s, horse LOL!


  3. Wonderful to see ho Lakota takes form. As always, it’s interesting to read about the process. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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