This week my sketchbook got filled with beards….
..it’s been a while. Lately I used coloured pencils, pen, paint, collage, and drawn digitally, but I’ve neglected graphite to the point where I no longer felt comfortable drawing with it. There was nothing else to do but spend some time reacquainting myself with good old graphite pencils so I assembled some tools and my sketchbook and started to draw…
Surprisingly, the first thing I drew was not a bear.
These are drawn with various pencils from HB to 8B.
Oh, there’s a bear…
I like this mechanical pencil with a 4B lead for soft details. It keeps a nice point without having to constantly sharpen it.
These two don’t belong together, they just happen to have been drawn on the same page. The texture on the beard is created by filling in with a 6B then lifting most of the graphite off with a bit of putty rubber.
I made the textures on this cat in a similar way. Lots of shading and lifting off again of the pencil marks. You just pull off a small piece of putty rubber, roll it into a ball and dab it on the drawing. Then I drew on top with the mechanical pencil.
Here’s another cat drawn with the same technique.
I experimented with colouring both of these digitally. They’re a bit murky because I used not very good photos. If the drawings hadn’t been in my sketchbook I would have scanned them.
This sketch is a mixture of graphite and coloured pencils.
I’d seen some work by an artist who used coloured pencils on top of a graphite drawing, so I decided to try that technique.
Having a shaded drawing underneath really adds depth to coloured pencils. Some of the dark area ended up a little too dark. This looks ok in the photo, but in reality it’s quite dirty looking as the coloured pencils smudged the graphite.
I had wondered if that would happen, so I did what I should have done in the first place and I looked up the technique on the internet. I discovered I’d made a basic mistake, I should have sprayed the under drawing with fixative before adding the colour.
That worked a lot better! No smudging, much crisper colour.
I’m finding out that there’s so much more to drawing with graphite than I knew and I’m looking forward to learning more techniques.
I love pencils.
Went to Dulwich Picture Gallery today (more about that later). Managed a few quick sketches while I was out and about. Not sure I’m comfortable drawing strangers in case they notice…
I rarely take a sketchbook out with me. I used this very small one because it fits in my pocket or bag and feels unobtrusive. I drew without worrying about the results and was pleased with how loose the drawings feel. I started to notice a lot of things I would have liked to draw if I’d had time. I forgotten how doing this makes you look at things differently. I will get back into the habit.