Gaia by Luke Jerram at Salisbury Cathedral in May 2019.
..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.
Merry Christmas. A couple of Christmas presents from me to you.
Click here to download and print out the skiing bear. You can print it out on card, or print it onto paper and glue the pieces onto thin card (an empty cereal packet would be ideal). You’ll need brads (also called split pins or paper fasteners) to fasten the pieces together, but if you don’t have any you can just glue or tape them in place, or you can thread some wool or thin cord through the holes and tape it either side.
Click here to download and print these free gift labels.
For personal use only. My copyright
Today I ran a lovely session with my local Young Archaeologists group. We looked at cave painting and talked about what sort of materials were used to make it, and had a go at making some ourselves. Unfortunately we didn’t have a handy cave to decorate but we did have a big roll of paper, brushes made from sticks, some natural pigments, and some fat and water to mix the pigments with.
Here is some of the fabulous art they made.
When we had finished our fantastic cave gallery we whizzed forward in time for a brief look at Egyptian art and messed about with papyrus and ink to make some more stunning images.