Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge Day 5: Pen + Ink

MAR 5, 2016

Spoonchallenge design-a-day pen and ink

Today's #SFDesignADay SpoonChallenge prompt features the stylish pen and ink simplicity of designer and author Lucie Duclos. She talks us through her process– from brainstorming, to drawing, to coloring–as well as the tools she uses. Be sure to follow along on the blog and in your inbox (it's not too late to sign up) until March 15 as we feature a new technique each day, presented to you by members of our talented community of designers! 

Lucie: Pen and ink drawing is a line-based method of creating images. Subtle variations in style and line quality can range from whimsical and clever illustrations to super realistic drawings. There is an endless amount of pen and ink techniques, but I prefer the basic black and white line drawings because you can create strong graphics with a clean, modern look. And you can always add color at the end and still keep the black outline for definition!

Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge Day 5: Pen Ink

Let’s start by picking a theme, let’s say “leaves” for example. First, I like to gather items for inspiration. Go outside and collect leaves, then look for images on the internet or anything you can find around you. Usually, my final drawings look nothing like the images or items I gathered, but it’s a good way to get me started and it always sparks other ideas.

Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge Day 5: Pen Ink, botanical gathering by Lucie Duclose

Start drawing as many kinds of leaves as you can imagine, play with scale, texture and shape. I like to use Marvy Uchida Le Pen Technical Drawing Pen in 0.5 mm and draw on a white smooth bristol or tracing paper. At the doodle stage, just let if flow and try not to overthink it.

Design-A-Day SpoonChallenge Day 5: Pen Ink, leaf sketches by Lucie Duclos

Scan everything and clean up the drawings in Photoshop. At this stage, you can tweak and change part of your drawings until you’re happy with them.


The final step is bringing the file from Photoshop into Illustrator, do an image trace, separate all elements and pick the best ones to create your repeat to upload to Spoonflower. You can do it all in Photoshop if you want, I just prefer to work in Illustrator.

Lucie Duclos_Springtime Floral

Have fun, and don't forget to share your pen and ink drawings on social media with me using the hashtag #SFDesignADay! 

LucieDuclosLucie Duclos is a graphic and surface pattern designer from Port Townsend, Washington. She recently published "The Pacific Northwest Coloring Book" ( and created a matching fabric collection on Spoonflower featuring all pen and ink drawings. She is already working on her next coloring book coming out this spring. 

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    • Hi Marionna,

      We recommend using your computer scanner if you have one. You can also go to your local copy shop and we’ve even found taking a photo of your artwork with a cell phone in a well-lit, shadow free area works great!

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