College Prep, Less Stress

Teacher with students in the classroom
A Mid-Pen Minute: Drawing with India Ink



The art studio is dim. The only light is from the afternoon sun and two spotlights that cast a bright glow on a random assortment of objects—from plants to a compressed air duster—on a table in the center of the room. Lo-fi jazz plays in the background, but your ears might miss it if they’ve already latched onto the quiet buzz in the room as students sit around the centerpiece and take in their subject matter. 

It’s a Monday afternoon in Michelle Boire’s fourth period art class at Mid-Pen. Her students are learning how to draw with India ink, a fine black pigment mixed with water. Why India ink? 

“It’s a natural progression,” she said, explaining that they started the year learning how to outline with pencils, and then used charcoal to practice shading.

To create their ink art, students first sketched from their seating perspective, each seeing different angles and shadows on the still-life centerpiece. Michelle poured India ink into one “cell” of each student’s paint pallet. The students then distributed the India ink into other cells, diluting each one with drops of water to achieve a tone to show highlights, shadows, and midtones in their drawings. The end results display each student’s unique artistic eye and style, but each piece has the same rich composition of the medium. 

“It’s cool to see them.”

We agree!