Eileen McKenna Art & Design

Watercolor Art | Creative Inspiration to help you be creative on a regular basis

To add ink or not to add ink? That is the question.



I have to admit, I sometimes don’t know the right answer to this question. Most often my style is to work in watercolor and add details in ink. But sometimes I hesitate to add the ink details.

When I think about, the occasions where I question adding ink, are when I’ve added a lot of details in watercolor – a lot of layers. Sometimes the decision is easy. The painting looks finished, like these donuts. Other times I’m not sure – like the cupcake above.


Adding the ink is definitely a different look. Just watercolor is softer and sometimes more realistic looking. Adding ink looks more illustrated, more whimsical. Like this cup of cappuccino and this ice cream sundae.


One thing is for sure – once a line of ink is added, there’s no turning back. I often think of scanning and printing a painting and adding ink details to the printout. This way I can make sure I like it before touching the original painting.

Author: Eileen McKenna {my creative resolution}

Watercolor Artist, seascape painter, collector of creative inspiration. Sign up for my newsletter!

12 thoughts on “To add ink or not to add ink? That is the question.

  1. I know what you mean, but scanning and printing is a great idea!

  2. Everything looks so delicious.

  3. I hear ya! These are all beautiful – and great decisions made!! I don’t think the cupcake needs anything.

  4. I love it without ink! Fabulous, Eileen!

  5. I have the question too. Lately I have been doing pencil sketches and I like them in pencil but ask myself should I add watercolor. Right now I’m leaving them in pencil and will go back later and decide about the color. I’m
    glad to hear other comments.

    • Damita, I used to work a lot in pencil. I found that if the drawing had a lot of pencil shading and detail, and I added watercolor, it could get a little muddied. So I used to hang the pencil drawing in a bright window, lay a piece of watercolor paper over it and trace it. Then I would remove the watercolor paper from the window and paint that. This way I had the same drawing, but now I added the details and shading in watercolor instead of pencil. 😀

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