Warm-up your drawing hand inside and out! Sounds weird? Over the last few years I have started to feel the flexibility leave my nibble fingers. The result of 20 plus years of heavy carrying, pulling, lumbering and shovelling I donated to equine maintenance. Two years ago, I wrote this post Hot mugs and sketched circles in which I explain the benefits of holding a hot mug of water for as long as possible letting the heat penetrate as deeply as possible (outside warm-up) and how I then follow-up by scribbling in quick succession a series of mad circles swooping them in all directions (inside warm-up). Actually, the post gains a wee bit more depth and explains how Renoir battled with arthritis ... ( if you have a minute you really should have a read or re-read: it's still amazes me how he (Renoir) overcomes crippling pain to produce such beauty.) Today, I have added another step to my routine and that is to scrunch (10-20 times) a miniature rugby ball (gets the blood flowing nicely).
Tip #2 Warm up your hand, arm, shoulder, body before starting a drawing session. This really makes getting into a flow and finding a good rhythm that much easier. May sound mad but the result on paper has proved it to be well worth it!
The choice of paper is crucial to a successful drawing yet in it's importance (and choice) very overwhelming. All you need to do is start searching the internet to be confronted and snowed under by soooooo much information and choice.
Paper choice is very personal and something that has to be tried out, literally. Pencil (your pencil) has to make contact with the paper. No amount of reading what other artists like and use will guaranty your own success. Trial and error (sadly) are in this case your best friends. As a guide and to help you shed a little light on the question "what paper?" here are a few relevant points to watch out for:
- If you want a drawing with strong contrast, lots of spontaneity and are not too bothered about detail and realism then a "toothy" rough paper would suit you well. Strathmore Drawing paper is a nice quality toothy paper as is Fabriano Artistico .
- However, if your drawing style is more fine, detailed and sharp then a smooth "toothless" paper is the way to go. Papers such as Strathmore Bristol Vellum , Strathmore 500 series plate finish, Winsor & Newton's extra smooth Bristol Board , Strathmore 140lb cold press series, are recommended by many realist pencil artists. Personally, I use Mellotex which is very smooth, I love it's silky thickness and the way it holds fine lines, responds to layering and feels under my pencil. Note: the terminology plate finish refers to the absence of grain in the paper. Vellum also refers to the finish of the paper andsuggests quality. Vellum paper is very smooth and has very special soft feel.
- Always always make sure you choose a good quality art paper. All quality papers are acid free. This ensures your work of art does not turn yellow a few years down the line. I also like my paper to be thick (at least 250g), this way it can withstand much more handling (or in my case manhandling) without creasing or showing too many signs of wear.
- Determine which colour you like the best for your work. Each paper will be of a different white. I find that by putting a selection of different papers together you can really get a good idea about the variation in shades of white. As a rule of thumb : realism works well on a crisp white paper whereas a softer more flowing drawing is better suited to a warm-toned paper.
- Once you have found your paper, made the paper choice you know fits like a glove, make sure you stock up and have enough to last the waves of inspiration. Nothing is worse than running out of paper when you are under pressure from both your muse and dead-lines.
- Make sure you use a piece of paper larger than you need. This will insure extra room for spontaneity, miscalculation and a all over nice drawing experience. (I've had a few drawings falling of the edge the paper and it is the most infuriating thing.)
Take your time in choosing a paper. Make sure you like the feel, the look (ie colour), the quality and the way it responds to your drawing. Most art stores will allow you to sample papers, discover their qualities, before committing to buying. Use this opportunity to make your own personal choice, put a bunch of quality samples together, take them home and get scribbling!p.s: this is #1 in my series of Short Drawing Tips. Hope you've enjoyed it. Stay tuned for #2....
Grandad' Story, Pencil on Paper
" Touched " pencil on paper. 57x44 cm. On hold.
Yeah! 2013 is here! 2012 was a year in which I believe I stood too still. Enjoying my comfort zone a tad too much... artistically not taking risks, trying too please, my curiosity asleep. 2012 is being archived just after this post. 2013 is when I step FORWARD pick up my pencils out of our snug comfort zone and into a colder unknown & un-tackled world that we have ignored for too long To prove my point, here's "Touched" my brand new drawing. An amass of verticals and horizontals, stark and dramatic yet soft and tender. A mix of contrast, texture and shapes. A study of both equine and human body language. A little girl lost safely in the world of big gentle equines.
2013 will be my year of marching FORWARD one focused step at a time. ... left, right, left, right, left, right...
p.s: I have been an active blogger and the missing three years of blog posts related to my art world can be found at http://sheonas.blogpost.comComment on or Share this Article →
Interested in finding out more about graphite art and my passion for pencils?
My studio blog "Black on Grey on White" is only ONE click away. (pssst: this is where all the insider info, works in progress and other interesting graphite art information is revealed!)
Look forward to welcoming you there.
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Here is for your viewing "Above the Bit" my lastest equine study.
"Above the Bit"
23x22 cm. Graphite on paper
300 Euros ( 390$)
The six mains steps in the creation of this study can be viewed on my studio blog "Black on Grey onWhite"Comment on or Share this Article →
Anton and I spent a week together. The weather was shabby so the studio sessions even more welcome and appealing. here is the result of spending a week of quality time together.
Anton is a very noble and gentle Rhodesian Ridgeback who absolutely loves to pose and be himself. This portrait will be joining the live Anton under the Christmas tree.
Technical details: Hahnemuehler Paper and 2B & 3 B clutch pencil.
The whole "making of" Anton can be viewed on my studio Blog Black on Grey on White.
Have a great week end.Comment on or Share this Article →