Drawing with Pencil

..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.

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View from a Window

In my daughter’s flat waiting for someone to come and pick something up I drew the view from where I was sitting. Fine liner over pencil on cartridge paper.

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drawing

Sketchbook

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…

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Waiting for the train. There’s a ghost platform opposite. I don’t remember it being in use since I lived here.
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The Rubens are exquisite. I also admired the frames in my professional capacity.
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Very leafy indeed.

 

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.

A Ridiculous Way of Drawing

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I started with his eye. He was nearly asleep. I was sitting on the conservatory sofa with pen and paper… new (secondhand) rotring pen (as I managed to bust the nib on my lovely old one yesterday) and beautifully smooth Bristol Board. I drew an eye, then the other, then an ear and it grew into a cat.

It’s a ridiculous way of drawing and completely against everything I was taught at college. Measure! Measure! Measure! I think it’s the way children draw, you just start at a point and carry on until you run out of paper. Perhaps there is still a measure of measuring in there.. when you’ve been drawing for so long it becomes second nature. I’m not always conscious I’m doing it, but yes, I do. That corner of the eye lines up with that part of the ear. The space between the paw and the eye is a little longer than that between the eye and the back of the head.

Lately I’ve been picking up a pen and drawing without a proper idea of how it’s going to turn out, without sketching or rubbing out and without worrying about ‘mistakes’. It’s a lovely, relaxed way of sketching and learning to use a new tool. And, I hope, of learning how to overcome the whole getting too uptight to draw thing. 🙂

Rotring

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I’ve been busy working on a new illustration project lately (featuring Bears, unsurprisingly) or rather, busy trying to work on a new… ripping stuff up, getting cross, having no ideas and drawing in a very uptight fashion.  If you are familiar with my scribblings you will know that my style is generally quite loose.. messy even.  I use a dip pen and ink and water and pencils and crayons and paint and brushes and fingers…  I’ve also got to the point where I think everything I draw or paint looks like crap. (Sorry, I swear and it will probably get worse than that.)

I had a bit of a moan to a very dear friend about how useless I am this morning. Sorry. You know who you are. x  And decided to put the whole thing on hold for a bit and refresh my brain with completely different things, ie not art.  Having a general clear up of my studio* (*corner of the conservatory) I found an old Rotring pen. 0.2 nib. I’ve had it for years, (slight guilt here) it was given to me by a good friend when her Dad died, as she thought I would use it.  0.2 nib. That’s very fine. And fiddly. I’ve used fibre tip type pens that are very fine and not liked them.  I like the variety of strokes that different pressure makes with pencils and nib pens. And wash. And rubbing things with my fingers. And flicking paint and ink about. Anyhow, I thought it’s not really my sort of thing but I’ll see if it works and maybe give it to a friend…

So I drew this (work in progress).  In spite of being really hung up about drawing anything it sort of worked.  I think it’s to do with being relaxed because you’re not expecting anything.  Whatever, the concentration kicked in. I think I’ll keep the pen. And play about with it for a bit.

Bears can wait. But I’ll be back to them soon.

If you want to look at the drawing more closely click on the photo for a larger view.