Rural Route One - Artist Vincent Whitehead ballpoint pen art
Previously on the drawing board

Latest Update

Hello everyone and thank you for following along with this current work in progress drawing. This will be the final installment on this drawing as I will be moving on to a new on next month. There was quite a lot of work to be done in this last section to complete it but, it was all enjoyable for me.

From the last WIP (Work In Progress) image you can see that I had left off in the upper middle section of the drawing. That is where the distant ridge is located. Most of that area is in the cast shadow of the upper canopy and is much darker that the dry creek bed. Still there are some rocks and tree trunks visible. Most of this work was done in medium point with just a small portion of detail done with the fine point pen. As before I put in the basic shapes of the rock outlines and then come back and tone them and shadow them with light layers of medium point ink.

After the ride ground work was done I move up into the tree canopy. This was done with quick leaf strokes that are criss-cross lines done in smooth fast motions. I used the fine point pen for these and then I go back over them with medium point to tone them.

Next was the middle of the drawing just above the footbridge. There are lots of rocks and boulders there to be done as well as tree trunks. Using the same basic method as in the ridge work I moved some what quickly to get them laid out and then went to work toning them. As you work these areas you must remember to keep your light source in mind. The cast shadows from near trees and the over-head canopy will be cast onto the ground floor and the rocks and boulders there. I get them all done to what I want and then again go over them all with medium point pen to lay tone where the cast shadows would be.

The final area worked was the middle-right with its trees and foliage and canopy. All this work was done with Fine point pen. Then medium point for layering tone.

The last thing I do is to let the drawing set for a couple of days. Then I pull it out and look at my reference photo and get out my medium point pen. I then work in tones and leave highlights in certain areas of the canopy and ground layers. With out this step it's almost impossible to get a good depth in your work. It almost always comes down to a final over view of the some what finished drawing before you can pull the entire drawing together with different levels of shadow and tone.

I hope you have enjoyed watching this one come to life as much as I have doing it. This finished drawing is for sale as a LIMITED EDITION PRINT.

If you have any specific questions please feel free to

Next month we will be starting a new drawing! Stay tuned....

Keep on creating!

"Old Mans Cave"
A drawing from Hocking Hills State Park, Logan, Ohio, USA

It's a pleasure to be introducing a new drawing her on the Work In Progress page of my website. It has been a long time since the last update of this section of my site. I hope to keep that from being the case in the future. The drawing that will be featured here in the next few months is one that I have had on my mind to do for quite a while now. We first visited this location in southern Ohio five years ago when my wife and I stumbled on the website of a get-away location in the heart of the Hocking Hills State Park, in Logan, Ohio. We were looking for a place to spend a few days for our 24th wedding anniversary. Cheryl was on-line and found the "Inn At Cedar Falls while doing a search for cabin get-away destinations. Their website is and I would encourage anyone wanting to get back to nature to visit there soon.

The drawing is set at the heart of the Hocking Hills State Park and in the main natural attraction there, "Old Mans Cave". This website will take you there quickly,

The view I have chosen to draw is from a standing position inside the cave recess, looking out and down toward the stone bridge that spans the creek bed. I took the photo that I used for reference back in 2004 in the early fall. The drawing is finished and the Limited Edition Prints are now ready for sale. You can order directly through the Paypal cart in the Gallery section by clicking on the drawing titled "Old Mans Cave. I have a very limited number of these at a total run of 50 offered world-wide. Each print is numbered and signed and come with a certificate of authenticity signed and dated by me. The creek was dry at the time and that is why I left it that way in my drawing. There are large areas of tree canopy and then the ground cover is mostly sand stone rocks and boulders and of course sandy gravel and dirt on the floor of the cave.

I have chosen to forego the layout image and go directly to the first work in progress view. The layout was simply a very light pencil grid with a few reference points showing the rough cave over-hang and floor, the dry creek bed and bridge and then the tree line an far cliff ridge. The layout work only took about 30 minutes to do and I started right in on the drawing as soon as it was done. I was doing the layout sketch while in the public eye since I was participating in a live art walk on a Saturday night in Grove City, Ohio. I and a few other artists had signed up to do live demonstrations of our work and this was my choice for the night.

This drawing has some wide ranges of tonal values. There are some large areas of middle tone and then some less large areas of Dark tones. I have started in the upper right hand corner of the drawing to put in the mid-dark tones and establish the over-head cave rock formation. This was done by working lines in the direction of the rock formation itself and then layering those tone lines in one over the other. There are up to 7 layers of tone work in the darkest points. The leading edge of the over-hang has a brighter area and allows for more definition in the rock faces. These areas have between three or four layers of ink and lines.

Once I had the over-hang put in I moved to the tree canopy. I wanted to establish the line at the highest point of the tree tops. These are single stroke lines that are non-descript leaf shapes layered over each other. Later I will go back and add tone to the shadowed leafs as needed.

Once the tree canopy line was established I moved to the lower right hand corner of the drawing to work on the foreground area. This is one of the lightest areas in the drawing. It is made up of the sand stone rocks and boulders lying on the gravel and sand that make up the cave floor. It is well lit from the sun and shows very brightly in the photo.

As you can see in this close-up crop from the foreground section, the sandstone rocks are naturally light in color and with the sun light on them, they present a very bright tone. This work requires a very soft and steady touch with the ball point pens. It is so easy to go too dark too soon. I keep my pen in the same position as I move through the subject that I am working on until I have an area complete. Keeping the tip clean of build-up ink is also very important while keeping the stroke steady and smooth. There are some cast shadows in the foreground area that help to pronounce the position of the rocks and boulders in the area. Since I draw the shadows that are cast by the light source it is most important to get a good fix on the light source direction and keep it constant throughout the drawing.

The last thing I got to in this installment of the drawing was laying in the tree trunks that were visible. This had to be done with light layers of ink as well. Keeping in mind that they will be visible through the other foliage and leaf canopy, you must not put them in too dark at first. Again, remembering the light source direction is key here. The lighted side and the shadowed side will help give the trunks three dimension and life. I left spaces in the tree trunks for leaf clumps and over-lapping branches that will be put in later on in the drawing. All this takes careful consideration of the reference image when working from a photograph or the careful observation of the scene when working from life. It helps to familiarize yourself with the subject at hand before starting the drawing. This one was easy as Cheryl and I have been to the area and Old Mans Cave many times now.

Well, that about sums it up for now. Keep watching for the next installment on this one. If you have any specific questions on how I have done something in this stage of the drawing, please feel free to and I will gladly answer your questions. Also, remember that this piece is done and the prints are now ready for delivery. Be sure to check out the finished drawing in my Gallery section of the website.

Until next time, Keep On Creating!