Tips for Better Pencil Drawing
When you are teaching yourself to draw using books and the internet, it can be difficult to know how to improve. Without a teacher to help, we tend to keep making the same mistakes for longer than a student in a classroom. The key to overcoming this obstacle is to learn to look at your work with a fresh, critical eye. Here is some tips on better graphite pencil drawing.
- Pencil Quality Varies: Pencils can vary widely in quality. Poorly processed graphite can lead to unpredictable result, and even worse, scratches in the paper and tends to break on sharpening. High quality artist's pencils deliver reliable, better results, and are less prone to breakage.
- Using A Hard Grade of Pencil: If you have no very dark shadows and the whole picture is rather pale, check your pencil. Are you using a Number2 (HB) pencil? These are too hard to draw with (though they are handy for light shading). Get a B, 2B and 4B for darker values.
- Keep Your Pencils Sharp: Don't worry about 'wasting' graphite in the sharpener - better than wasting your drawing efforts! Brighten the point by rubbing the side of the pencil on scrap paper between sharpenings. If you need a darker line, use a softer pencil, and be aware that a softer pencil goes blunt quickly.
- Using the Wrong Paper: If your drawing is pale, it might be the paper. Some cheap papers have a sheen on the surface that is too smooth to grab the particles off the pencil. Try a basic photocopy/office paper, or check the art store for cheap sketch paper. Place a piece of card under a couple of sheets to give a firmer surface. buy paper which will cope with repeated erasing and working, and a fine texture which will allow you to move your pencil smoothly and draw curves and shapes easily. Most drawing paper has a coarse texture which works against you.
- Keep it Clean: Inexpensive cotton gloves (the kind you can get at the supermarket) with the fingertips cut out are just the thing for keeping paper clean and free of fingerprints, especially in hot weather.
- Using Pencil Lines For Hair and Grass: If you try to draw every hair or blade of grass as a single pencil line, you'll end up with an unnatural-looking mess of tangled wire. Instead, try to make feathery pencil-strokes to draw the shadows behind areas of grass or hair.
- Keeping a Sketchbook Is Essential for Any Artist: Keeping a sketchbook is a practical tool for developing skills and recording thoughts and a great way of keeping track of creative ideas and getting in the habit of regular drawing, as well as being a useful resource for large works when you are feeling short on ideas.
Don't feel constrained by what others think art should be about .. make your drawings about whatever you find interesting, an unusual object, an interesting face, a beautiful landscape or an invented fantasy.
Hope that this article is being useful for you .. and remember .. pencil is so pure and it takes you back to basics. It's just you, a pencil, a blank sheet of paper and an eraser :)
Rodaina Al Sholeh