Article One - Pencil Basics

Repost from http://pencils.com/blog/pencil-basics-with-diane-wright/

Greetings Studio 602ers! Over the next few weeks, Pencils.com featured artist Diane Wright will be sharing several articles that cover the basics of creating art with a pencil . If you aren’t familiar with Diane or her work, check out this interview featuring the Queen of Landscape Pencil Art herself and, without further ado, let’s get started!


 A Passion for Drawing

I am frequently asked, “Why drawing?” Pencil art is one of the most direct and expressive art forms. It is also the most simple, requiring just a piece of paper and pencil. The pencil is an extension of the hand and the flow of ideas onto the paper becomes seamless.

The process of drawing can help us explore our ideas and capture the wealth of detail from the world around us. Our creations can be as simple as a partial sketch or as complex as a finished piece of art. It’s amazing what can be expressed with just a pencil.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to discuss the some of the basics of drawing to help you get started.
Let’s start with the basics….

Pencil lead hardness – Pencil hardness ranges from 9H to 9B, with 9H being the hardest and 9B the softest. Their characteristics differ in that the H’s create a lighter mark that produces a light silver color while the B’s are softer, creating a darker and blacker mark. Do you really need all of them? It is nice to have the full range, as each one is subtly different, but as you work 2 or 3 will become your favorites.

Pencil point – The point on you pencil has a large effect on the type of pencil mark you will produce.

A sharp point is used to make fine lines and work in small detail areas.A blunt or rounded tip will produce less refined marks and is good for shading. The chisel point is the most versatile. The flat side is good for shading and the edge can be used for creating detail or fine lines.
Pencil grip – How you hold your pencil can affect your pencil strokes.

The writing grip (the one that you use to write with) is good when working in detail areas. It creates a very deliberate stroke and precise details. If your marks are too tight, you are probably holding the pencil too tight.
The underhand grip creates a smooth, flowing stroke. Hold your palm above and almost parallel to the drawing surface with the pencil running under and across the palm. (I rest the butt of the pencil on my little finger.) Keeping your wrist stiff, use your entire arm to make the stroke. This allows a more fluid motion resulting in a fluid mark. With a little practice, this grip becomes very comfortable and natural.

Pencil pressure – This is simple: the harder you press down on the paper with the pencil, the stronger and darker the mark and the lighter the pressure, the lighter the mark. As I explore a subject, I will use more pressure when I am drawing the shadow and use lighter pressure when working in the highlights. I feel those lights and darks with the amount of pressure I apply to my pencil. This creates very expressive lines and in turn, brings life to your mark.
Paper – Choosing the right paper is important; your efforts are worth using good quality paper. My preference is Bristol board smooth drawing paper (two great brands include Strathmore 300 Series Bristol board smooth and Canson Foundation). For portraits, I prefer Arches or Fabriano hot press watercolor paper.
Questions? – Each article will be posted on Diane’s blog. Comments or questions can be posted here at Studio 602 or on Diane’s blog, where Diane can respond directly.

Next Article: It all starts with a mark

Comments

  1. Looking forward to your series. I'm finding I like pencil more and more.

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