Micro Drawing with Multiliners

Posted On: 12/07/15 By: Jordan Johnson

Get ready to learn how to micro-draw with Evan Lorenzen!

Evan Lorenzen is an illustrator and animator that currently resides in Denver, Colorado. He focuses on the relationships among painting, animation, and technological advancements. He graduated in 2013 from Marlboro College with a Bachelor of the Arts. Evan works as a designer at Indyink, a screen-printing shop in Denver, where he has been employed for the last eight years. Recently, he started exploring the realm of micro handmade books, which are the main topic of his current body of work. None of the books are larger than one inch tall, with most about the size of a thumbnail. Primarily working in pen and ink as well as watercolor, Evan currently finds himself influenced by mythology and medieval woodblock prints

Step 1: Choose a paper you enjoy! I usually work with something a little heavier that has some texture to it so that I don't have to worry as much about smudging or smearing the ink. I also prefer to tear my paper rather than cutting it so that the viewer can see the fine fibers of the paper. The only pen I use when working at this scale is a Copic Multiliner 0.03. Start off by drawing a border that will contain your image. 

Step 2: I like to work off of reference photos (especially of old, marble sculptures), so I usually begin by sketching out a very light and rough outline of the general composition in pencil. Feel free to use whatever kind of pencil you like; personally, I like going with a 4H pencil so that the lines are very light and won't smudge much.


Tip: After sketching the general outline, be sure to stretch out your body and spend some time relaxing. The biggest enemy when drawing super tiny is shakiness and tension. 

Step 3: Start off by drawing in guidelines in your darkest areas. Don't go overboard at this point, just be sure to give some outlines to the places in your image that need the most definition or that will need the most black around them. 

Step 4: The stippling begins! You can use a multitude of mark-making techniques to fill in your image, but I prefer stippling at this scale because it allows you the most fine detail. Work on your darkest areas first and fill them in with a good base of dots. As you keep working, your pen will start to dry out ever so slightly, which is helpful for making ever finer marks as you progress. 

Step 5: Continue rounding out your darkest areas by filling in the tiny gaps in between the dots that you have already made. Rather than dragging the pen on the surface of the paper to make a mark, at this scale, I've found that "poking" the paper will give you a finer and more detailed mark. 

Step 6: Don't be afraid to go back in and add some more pencil guidelines if you are feeling trepidatious about where you need your stippling to go. Continue working your way from the darkest areas to the lightest areas. It is always better to go light and add more later than putting too much ink down and not being able to lighten your image. 

Step 7: Once you feel like you are happy with your image, be sure to bust out your magnifying glass and share your creation with those around you! It's not a bad idea to put your drawing in a plastic bag, little box, or any other vessel that will keep it from blowing away if somebody sneezes. 

If you want an even more extreme challenge, try putting together a miniature journal or sketchbook to draw in. This can be accomplished with a few rectangular pieces of paper folded in half (I usually use three to five), a different colored piece of paper for cover material, and a sewing needle and thread. There are numerous ways to bind books with thread, but saddle stitch binding tends to work pretty well at this scale. 


If you want to see more of Evan Lorenzen's work, check out his website, Instagram, and Tumblr!

Tags: Evan Lorenzen, How To, Inspire, Multiliner, MultilinerSP, Guest tutorial, Recent