Pen and ink was historically a popular medium for illustrators in the days before CMYK printing technology. This limitation led illustrators to focus on drawing and block colour in simple black and white.
The first half of the century produced some astonishing pen and ink illustrators working for book and magazine publishers. The tradition has continued to thrive in contemporary illustration with huge crossovers in style between the two generations.
Here I've complied 10 illustrators' work, grouped in two sections - 'The Oldies' and 'The Newbies' - to inspire and celebrate this amazing medium.
01. David Stone Martin
Best known for his jazz album pen and ink illustrations, David Stone Martin was born in the US in 1913 and died in 1992.
He produced more than 100 illustrations for Mercury, Asch, Disc and Dial record companies. His brilliant quick and gestural drawings are characterised by their immediacy and vibrancy.
02. Edward Ardizzone
A children’s book illustrator and artist who has influenced a generations of new illustrators, Edward Ardizzone was born in the UK in 1900. He quit his tedious city desk job to attend life classes at Westminster School of Art and had his first solo show in 1928.
He has illustrated many books including ‘In a Glass Darkly’ and his own ‘Tim’ series’. His illustration are always evocative with a beautiful sense of light and lyrical line work.
03. Terence Greer
Terence Greer was born in Surrey in 1929 and studied painting at St Martin’s and the Royal Academy. Between the 1950s and1980s he was a playwright and illustrator working for the likes of Penguin and The Radio Times.
These illustrations for Penguin Books have a brilliant linear abstract quality, comic and eccentric in their characterisation.
04. David Gentleman
David Gentleman was born in the UK in 1930 and still works as an illustrator. He studied at The Royal College of Art and has worked on many well known projects including the iconic mural in Charing Cross Station.
His cover for the cookbook Plats de Jour was published in 1957. What is quite striking about it is the influence it has on the current generation of illustrators - it looks as if it could have been published yesterday.
05. John Sewell
Born in 1926, John Sewell studied at Hornsey Art School (1948-51) and the Royal College of Art (1951-54).
He became Head of Graphic Design for the BBC in 1955, whilst also working as a freelance illustrator. His expressive ink character drawings were perfect for Penguin Books.
06. Sarah Maycock
Sarah Maycock is an illustrator living and working in Hastings Old Town by the Sea. She has racked up an impressive list of clients including Waitrose, The FT and the BBC.
Her main medium is Indian ink and is inspired by landscapes, especially bleak ones, animals and cityscapes. Her main aim, she says, is ‘to capture all in just one brush mark’.
07. Tim Mcdonagh
Tim McDonagh is a freelance illustrator living and working in Brighton, East Sussex.
His pen and ink drawings are mindbogglingly meticulous and detailed, finishing up in Photoshop for final touches of colour.
08. Le Gun
Le Gun is an experimental art collective established in 2004. Clients include Paul Smith, British Fashion Award and Duffer of St George.
Almost always based in black and white, and often using the medium of installation: their work is an exciting blend of punk, occult and idiosyncratic imagery.
09. Laura Carlin
Laura Carlin is a London-based Illustrator who is represented by the excellent Heart agency.
Her illustrations often portray the human figure and are often quirky and humorous, but always beautifully drawn with subtle washes of ink.
10. Stuart Patience
Stuart Patience is a London based illustrator and graduated with a degree in Illustration and Animation from Kingston University.
His work is hugely detailed, with surreal narratives often involving strange situations, animals and odd characters.
Words: Anna Wray
Anna Wray is an illustrator/author and a visiting lecturer on the Ba(Hons) Illustration at Cambridge School of Art.