I have just posted, on my PenAndInkTechniques website, a demonstration of pen and wash drawing / painting of Pink Magnolias.
The pen, ink and watercolor wash demonstration starts with the selection of a suitable reference photo. In this case the photo is of my wife’s favorite tree in our garden. I looked for an image with a nice composition (though I still had to adjust it slightly) and a strong light and dark pattern.
It then covers the materials required and how to do the ink drawing which is done directly without any prior pencil sketching. Usually I find when I tell my students that they are to draw directly with the ink they get all nervous and concerned. However it usually surprises them just how well they do.
By drawing directly with ink it forces students to think and observe more, before they actually touch their watercolor paper with their ink pen. I have found this improves their overall drawing skills as it helps them to develop good drawing habits.
Also because the ink is permanent, it teaches them to just lay down a mark or an ink wash and just leave it. As the ink is permanent it removes the temptation to fiddle. Fiddling with the watercolor paint on your paper is a common problem for beginner watercolor artists.
Pen and ink is also quite a forgiving medium as it is very hard to create a muddy look as often happens with a failed watercolor painting.
After the pen outline is done I allow it to dry thoroughly. In the next to final stage in this pen and wash painting I cover how to lay a loose watercolor wash over the magnolia flowers and stems.
The painting is finished with a very loose and sketchy watercolor wash for the background.
If you have an interest in pen and wash work you may like to have a look at my demonstration.