black pen technique

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Familiarity with black pen technique Maryam Mansouri

One of the most attractive and popular techniques used in recent years for painting, especially face painting, by artists and students is drawing with the black pen technique. The distinctive feature of the black pen, as its name implies, is the use of black and white colors in the composition and inspiration of the designs. This art has its roots in human life, and a kind of black pen art inspires even the writing lines created on paper.

black pen technique Maryam Mansouri

The sharing of tools and accessories used in black ink and other similar painting techniques that have long been popular among humans indicates the unknown history of black ink paintings, but according to what can be seen in Iranian books and ancient works of art, the origin of paintings can be Using the black pen technique, he related it to the time of Master Kamal al-Mulk.

In the continuation of this article by Maryam Mansouri, the black pen technique, the tools used, the techniques similar to this art, and the related styles used in black pen paintings will be introduced.

History of Black Pen Technique

The black pen technique has a very long history as one of the common styles in the art of painting from the seventh century, AH, and with the artistry of Master Kamal al-Mulk in popular painting styles became popular. Charcoal, black pencil, and black pencil are commonly used in black pen paintings. In those years, Master Kamal Al-Mulk established charcoal as one of the main tools for creating works with the black pen technique for his students. There is no trace of color in the black pen technique, and only an artistic combination of black and white motifs can create a black pen artwork.

History of Black Pen Technique | maryam mansouri


Master Kamal al-Mulk’s students, with a combination of charcoal and clay and by brush, were able to formally create this beautiful art style and record the works of the black pen. The word black pen is an old Persian word. In a certain Persian culture, it refers to a special type of design created with the help of charcoal, black ink, or pencil, and coloring has no place in this type of work.

But to insist that the black pen technique is only seen in Iranian works and belongs to Iranian artists is a misconception because the results of the black pen are influenced by foreign artists, which indicates the professional use of this style of painting with other titles in other countries.

What is the black pen technique?

The black pen technique is one of the painting techniques in which the tools used are a subset of drawing and painting tools. Some of the accessories used in this style include brush, black pencil, drawing pencil, contour pencil, charcoal or charcoal powder, eraser, eraser, cardboard for drawing, and parchment paper. In the black pen technique, charcoal or black pencil is used mainly and artistically to create designs, especially drawing faces.

What is the black pen technique

In the black pen technique, professional light shadows and recognition of tonality, light, and cloud are of great importance, and remarkable works of art have been presented by artists who have complete mastery of these skills. Choosing the right model and high-quality photos to start painting with black ink is another part of this work. The clearer the details of the black ink model, the more desirable the final result of the design with the black ink technique will be.

Because black-and-white only use the black, white, and gray color techniques, students who are just beginning to learn the basics of painting will be more interested in the method. Therefore, they will focus on recognizing the light and tonality and how to combine the shadows of the lights.

Today, Black pen designs have faced many changes in terms of the type of tools used and how they are performed. All these changes have resulted from the taste and creativity of artists who have expanded this black and white painting by performing stunning techniques.

black pen technique

In performing the black pen technique, the part-to-whole technique is used. In fact, instead of using a live model to start the design, the artists usually use a quality photo sample and the original design to perform shading techniques on the design. The result is due to the degree of accuracy and patience with which to implement their skills. It will be determined.

It should be noted that there is no such thing as teaching the black pen technique or examining the details of this painting technique academically in the country’s universities. Some academics believe that these techniques are not scientifically justifiable. Still, the creative implementation of this artistic style has been well received by the non-academic community and is constantly evolving.

The main and most widely used tools in the black pen technique


The brush is one of the main tools in the black pen, with the painter’s help to blur the required shadows created by charcoal powder and seafloor powder on the image. For this purpose, brushes in different sizes are used, which can be prepared naturally or artificially. Thinner brushes are used to create lighter and finer lines, and broader brushes draw more comprehensive lines in areas that do not require fine work to blur lines and shadows.

Conte Pencil

The brain used in Conte pencils is made of charcoal, which differs from the charcoal pencil, which is only available in black in terms of various brain colors. One of the prominent features of Conte pencil in black works is the opaque and opaque patterns on the surface of the paper. This feature is unlike any other pencil used to draw glossy and clear lines.


Charcoal is essential to create special effects in realistic black pen styles. Charcoal is used in the creation of wide and wide designs that leave a black and velvety effect. Charcoal is used in various forms such as charcoal powder (combined with seafloor powder), charcoal ingots, charcoal pencils, and cylindrical charcoal.

Soot powder

Charcoal powder has impurities that these impurities may affect the result of the work, so in places where more delicacy is needed, soot powder is used. For example, in the hyperreal black pen method, soot powder can be used to work more delicately and cleanly. Soot powder is much easier to move in terms of softness and purity and gives a smoother and smoother surface to the painter.

But it is interesting to know that soot has the property of fat and therefore does not move easily on the surface. As a result, it has a complement to move more smoothly. This supplement acts as a catalyst and lubricant for soot. The name of this catalyst is seafloor powder.

Seafloor powder

Seafloor powder is found in abundance in perfumeries and is white. The seafloor is a white and light substance formed due to the drying of two types of squid called Sarpavar and Khasak. These two fish live in the depths of the sea, and their powder contains calcium and minerals that are not edible.

In the black pen technique, we use seafloor powder to lubricate the soot and whiten the paint. Using seafloor powder and soot in painting is to achieve a smooth and uniform surface.

Blending Stump

This tool, like its name, is used to blur shadows, lines, and any part of the black pen that needs to be blurred.


Assuming that all the tools for painting with the black pen technique are ready, we need a suitable surface to create the painting. The black pen tactic is usually applied to Ashtenbach or Fabriano 250 g cardboard. The surface of the cardboard for the black pen technique should be smooth, and, unlike watercolor, where we need a textured surface, in the black pen technique, we need a smooth surface for better execution of details.

In general, black and white paintings use three styles of realism, hyperreal and photoreal, and the works of painters in this field of art have been created based on one of these styles.

Realism technique

In the mid-19th century, the term realism in art was coined by artists based on the depiction of environmental events based on reality. As it turns out, the word means reality, and the black-and-white paintings created based on realism are abstract and romantic.

The paintings of realism expose everything that is seen and felt to the current and future audiences of painting, and the meaning of these paintings is understandable to the general public.

For example, in a black realism painting of a human face, all proportions are observed exactly according to the principles of anatomy of a human body, and without considering the shadows and techniques of the work, the real view of the face can be deduced from this style of painting.

Photoreal style

Photoreal painting started in the early 1970s, and in this style, artists used photographs to create their works. Photoreal means photo-based realism, and in paintings based on this style, all the details of a photo are displayed with high precision in all parts of a work.

The Photoreal Black Pen technique drawings, with all the features of a real or realistic painting, must be the same in terms of light, shadow, and detail of the work as the photograph used as a painting sample.

Photorealistic artists can create original works by looking at different photographs and considering all their details. In addition to the black pen technique, photorealistic paintings are also applicable to other painting styles.

Due to the emphasis on the similarity of the photo and the black pen design, these works face countless critics. They believe that a painting created in detail based on a photograph is considered useless because the camera can capture the same image with precision beyond the human mind.

But this kind of comparison to the art of a painter who demonstrates the astonishing ability to perform the principles of his art in photoreal painting is a very wrong thing to do.

Hyperreal style

Hyperreal style means extreme realism has been created along the lines of real and photorealistic, and it has been exaggerated to draw tiny details of the image. In a hyperreal brush drawing, you will be able to see the components of an image, such as facial hair, wrinkles, skin texture, water droplets, and very subtle shadows of light.

Artists of hyperrealism have gone a step further than artists of the style of photorealism and have developed this partial style with a distinctive look.

The works of hyperrealism, with the indescribable skill of the owners of the works, which are the result of their very high artistic insight and understanding, have changed the border between reality and art in such a way that by looking at these works, you will see something beyond an actual image. A hyper-realism artist goes so far as to create a unique effect by expanding the details of the photo and changing the colors and shadows.

A work that can not be called a copy of the photo because the hyperreal painters of the black pen technique improve the clarity and sharpness of the image by processing the components of the image in their minds and to show the power of their visualization in showing the details of the work, from special and busy photos. Used. This exaggerated process results in a high-resolution, accurate image that, while realistic, has an artistic distinction from the original image.

The methods of depicting and drawing creative designs have varied throughout history based on different painting techniques. Each artist has followed a specific painting technique to create their illustrated works and implement them on paper or canvas. The difference in methods is based on the tools and materials used in the painting and the mental ideas that underlie the creation of the paintings.

Painting techniques related to the black pen technique

Examining the characteristics of the various painting techniques and tools used by artists in each of these methods, we come across some common painting techniques that have similarities to the black pen and the tools and techniques used in them. In the following, we will introduce some painting techniques related to and similar to the black pen style:

1- Painting with pencil

Pencil painting is one of the essential painting techniques, based on the initial design of the face or painting model according to the proportions in the image or model.

Pencil and graphite are used to perform this type of painting, and pencil face design can be the basis for black pen designs and shading. Students looking to learn the black pen technique are first required to know the basics and techniques of pencil drawing. But the design created in the style of the black pen has more opacity than the designs created with pencil.

2- Painting with charcoal

One of the tools for creating designs and patterns in the first humans was charcoal, which was used to paint on any surface. Many artists today use charcoal or combine it with other tools to create realistic designs.

Early humans used charcoal to burn wood, but today, thanks to various tools for painting with charcoal, black-eyed painters can use charcoal, willow, or charcoal. Many students are interested in this style of painting due to the high speed of role-playing by charcoal.

This type of painting and the drawings of the black pen technique are standard in terms of the kind of tools used.

3- Painting with pen and ink

To create clever drawings with pen and ink, first, the initial design should be made using a pencil and gently on the desired surface, then with a pen or metal pen with black ink, the shadows in the image should be gently and along the lines. He filled the targets with color.

Inspired by the main subject, this pen and ink shading technique can convey the viewer’s good sense of image reality. The connection between this painting technique and the style of the black pen can be traced to shading and creating texture in the image. In addition, there is no trace of coloring in either technique, and only the use of black, white, and gray color creates lasting art.

Familiarity with black pen style

In painting with the black pen technique, two-dimensional and creative designs are created in black and white and without any coloring. Learning this unique painting style is possible only with basic training and a lot of practice and repetition. The black pen is one of the techniques of the visual arts that many influential and conceptual works have been created and perpetuated by artists using this pleasant art.

The common term for black pen style has been around since Kamal al-Mulk, and his students created charcoal and black designs on canvas by combining charcoal and clay. Today, fans of this type of painting use various tools such as carbon pencils, charcoal pencils, Conte pencils, and graphite that are commonly available to create beautiful works, and some have been engaged in earning money and entrepreneurship in this field.

Learning the principles of black pen technique, creative ideation, and selection of busy and delicate subjects in this field has led to the creation of hyper-realistic black pen works that show the details and elegance of the issue far beyond the realities of the model.

Finally, we hope you enjoy the “Introduction to the Black Pen Technique” article.

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