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....
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 →
Here is the finished version of my highland show pony.
A great drawing to produce...I loved using the soluble graphite: never thought I would be able to produce work with a paint brush...!
The trick to this technique seems to be nothing more than layering. Dry "normal" graphite was used as a base layer, I then added a layer of the soluble graphite which I worked with a "barely" wet brush. This layering was repeated until the finished effect achieved.
Graphite on paper, 21x27 cm
P.S: Hope you like the title. Symbolises both how I feel about discovering this medium and hopefully how the viewer will react when seeing this lovely pony showing off...!
Curious to see the various stages of this piece? Steps and explanation can be viewed at my studio blog Black on Grey on WhiteComment on or Share this Article →
The fifth Canine Art Guild online exhibition is now live...!
"Helping Paws 2008" is now online!
A wide and varied display of dog art can be viewed (and the best: all is for sale! Definately worth a visit!). Each and every artist entered has pledge to donate proceeds of their sales to a shelter or charity of their choice. Well worth a visit.
Here is one of my three entries "Close to Home"
"Close to home"
Mixed media (graphite/charcoal) on paper, 20x20 cm
200 Euros (20% donated to DCGR)
This is the best place for any dog: out in the open, on a long lead, beside its loved ones (not only one pair of legs but two!) discovering new sights and sounds. This black lab is well surrounded and at peace with its life. Through my art I would like to heighten the awareness of how these gorgeous, quiet and loyal canines are in dire need of a warm safe bed of a good home. The Dumfriesshire & Cumbria is a Scottish charity focused on re-homing retired or abandoned Greyhounds. As a charity they not only use what they raise for kennel fees, vet fees, fostering expenses and advertising but also try to raise public awareness of the plight of dogs at the end of their racing/coursing careers. To date 500 ex racers and coursers have found new homes.Have a great week! Comment on or Share this Article →
Robert is now officially finished.
After week "away", I brought him out for a tweak and he has now gone back to safety with a new improved pair of ears ( I do believe looking much happier for it!).
He's has also been priced and entered into the show: Helping Paws 2008.
Graphite on Paper, 26x23 cm
$ 350 (20% donated to DCGR)
As always million thanks for looking. Feel free to have a peak at my studio blog anytime. CheerioComment on or Share this Article →
Here is Past to Present.
There will always be a gap between generations. This is normal and healthy.
Past & present shows how much trust, respect, confidence, understanding and strength can be achieved by bridging generations.
I loved drawing this piece.
Many reasons spring to mind (new territory, new subject, new challenge, new approach...)
However, the main reason has to be (symbolism aside) rendering three totally different textures: hair, cotton and skin.
I used a 2B, 5B (for the dark jeans) and F (for skin). The T-shirt I will admit was rendered by blending 2B which I then layered with F to get the smoothed crushed feeling. The paper used was Mellotex a very thick smooth white paper.
I'm glad I found the TLC this piece needed last week.
Now: it's back to gorgeous 4 legged subjects.
Cheers for now
As always please feel free to check out my blog Black on Grey on White at sheonas.blogspot.comComment on or Share this Article →
Make sure to also check out my (almost) daily studio blog at: http://sheonas.blogspot.com/
"Fancy Free" is finished and framed.
Ready for Windsor next month.
This is my third action study of Zig Zag a three day old filly German Warmblood.
Once again captured in full flight...well, on take off!
"Response", pencil on paper
Have you ever felt that you are just not sure which way to turn and what to think?
Well this was the basic state of affairs for me last week.
I had no clue how to deal with everything (professionally and privately) being chucked at me that I just ended picking up a pencil and going for it!
"Response" is the result of my mayonnaise of feelings...it took ages to draw.
I took 2 days to getsome sort of a good flow going but then as the week went on and my gritty determination got stronger, it all fell into place.
I like the result.
I like the symbolism: it's not all dark and just like life you can respond and swich away most of the rubbish you get delt!
Pencils need sharpening, thanks for popping by...
"Ciao", pencil on paper
Here's the follow on to last weeks "Footloose": "Ciao"
"Footloose", pencil on paper
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Final lap before the presies need to be bought and wrapped.
Finished this drawing of Rex just in time. Signed and delivered.
Time now for me to tidy the pencils away, hang up the mistletoe and bring out the Christmas cheer.
Have a wonderful Christmas and all the best for 2008.
Head to Toe
"Head to Toe" is a pencil drawing of a dapple grey gelding going about his daily exercising. The reference photograph was taken this summer and crying out ever since to be converted to graphite.
When riding daily, this was a very normal site for me. A horse on the bit, relaxed and enjoying his work. Now, this is something that I miss.
Finished, proud and relieved.
Gentle Tom was not a one off , Quality Time is the follow up to working out of my comfort zone.
This latest drawing is a little piece I have done on the side...I felt I had done really well with the commission work and allowed myself a little treat.
Quality Time is the result. It has taken 10 days to complete and roughly 50 hours and a whole load of ups and downs. (Must admit that at one point it was steely determination that kept me going...!)
At the end of the day, there must have been more ups because I can't wait to get cracking on my next project.