Pen & Ink with Oil Rouging

To put it simply, pen and ink with oil rouging is an inking with an overlay of oil spread out so thin as to be transparent. This allows the inking to show through and be part of the finished project.

The first and, to me, the most important thing to remember about this technique is that it is 100% correctable. In this technique there are no turps used in the process or in the clean-up. Clean up is with soap and water.

The technique of pen and ink with oil rouging can be applied to many surfaces including wood, canvas, paper, porcelain, glass and plexiglass. Even metal can be used as a surface if properly prepared.

You begin by transferring your project to your surface using either graphite paper or a projector. The design you choose comes with a full size line drawing and a miniature line drawing (for use with the projector). After transferring the design, use the detailed drawing to ink in as much detail as you want. I use a Rapidograph pen by Koh-I-Noor and their 3080-F ink for this. If you make a mistake in the inking, a Q-tip dampened with a little Windex will erase the ink. Leave the area to dry completely and then re-ink it. Once you are pleased with the inking, erase any graphite lines that are visible.

For the rouging you will need assorted sizes of blending brushes, a liner brush, a small scumbler and artist oils. A limited palette of colors is used. The colors are Burnt Umber, Payne's Grey, Cad. Yellow Medium and Alizarin Crimson. All the colors are a mixture of these.

Using a liner brush or scumbler, depending on the size of the area being worked in, apply paint close to the inking where you want the color to be darkest. With a blender brush, begin to move the paint away from where you placed it in a chopping or swirling motion. Coax the oil out until you can see three values of color - darkest where you began the color, moving outward to a medium and then a light value. This is called rouging and could also be compared with a perfect float in acrylic painting. Using either an under tinting of a neutral color or a second rouging of the same color will give the project depth or shadows.

After applying the first rouging, and before applying your second, spray dry your project with Liberty spray sealer. If you get color where you don't want it, and as long as you have not spray dried it, use a clean Q-tip to remove the color. Once the color has been sprayed, it is permanent.

Just remember, lighter is better. You can always add more paint in layers to get the depth of color you want, but if you start out heavy with the paint, you will hide the small details you inked in at the beginning. Enjoy!

Article 2002-2008 Amelia Fleck.