Years ago I found a great idea from an article by another artist who used black india ink under his paintings. Right after the artist sketched in the pencil drawing to get the painting composition laid out, he would then go back with a brush and ink to trace out the lines with black.
I tried this technique out to see how it would add to my art process. The fantastic things I found were, I no longer have the graphite on the side of my hand smudge. I can erase all the graphite that is around the ink so that my painting starts out with a clear crisp vision of what I would like to convey.
The ink is waterproof, so adding paint on top dosen’t smear the lines or marks. Brilliant!
Secondly I have found the techniques I like to employ such as painting the background elements into the foreground elements tends to wipe out a bit of the original sketch. This is fantastic on the level that the paint brought into the front element makes the focus of the painting blend with the background. The downside is sometimes you may need to see more of your original sketch on canvas which is now under quite a bit of paint.
The answer? So simple and I love it. A flashlight! Or studio lamp placed behind the canvas as long as it’s not hot. You don’t want to set your work or anything else on fire. What you do want is to see the inked in lines that you placed before the paint. The ink shows through the light and you can paint as you wish. How fantastic is that?
If you want to give it a try, I generally use Dr. Martin’s India Ink. Let me know how it goes! I would love to hear posts of comments from anyone who’s work the tip worked for.