Friday, March 2, 2012

Drawing in Graphite

Using charcoal allows the artist to get a drawing to a refined state in a relatively short period of time. To be sure it can become a messy process, but it is remarkably fast. On the other hand drawing in graphite requires a little bit of patience. It is a universal assumption that all artists are accustomed to drawing with a pencil from youth, but that does not mean we know how to handle it properly. As with all media, the better quality materials the better the results. Graphite pencils range in density (hardness) and darkness (tone). The hardness scale goes from 9H (hardest) to H, and the tone from B to 9B (darkest), the middle pencil is always an HB. The famous scholastic "Number 2" pencil is the equivalent of a 2B. Hard pencils give very sharp and precise lines and are best suited for architectural and engineering drawings. Tonal pencils allow a full range of dark values to be drawn without burnishing the paper by pushing too hard on the surface. To be sure drawing with graphite requires constant sharpening and a consistent stroke and pressure on the fibre of the sheet as well as holding the pencil vertically like charcoal and drawing with the arm instead of with the wrist. The above study of Rene is 20" x 30" and took approximately 12 hours to complete. A similar sized drawing in charcoal would have taken about 6 hours.

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