Pencil Drawing Techniques, Tools, etc. - of Artist; S. Belle-Isle
Pencil drawings artist; S. Belle-Isle, discuses pencil drawing techniques, favorite tools, creative process, studio, and early experience with pencil drawing.
What are some of your drawing techniques?
I use a number of pencil drawing techniques to bring a graphite drawing to life. Here are the primary ones I use for my drawings.
pencil drawing techniques divide into 3 parts and are used in
the order listed:
Using the grid method, an accurate line drawing is completed. To begin the shading process, the first thing I do is scribble graphite onto a sketch pad with a very soft graphite pencil. Then I use what I call the "borrow" method and I wipe the scribbles with a soft cloth covering the cloth with an ample amount of graphite. I then rub the loaded cloth on the area of the drawing where I need it, creating light and medium tones. This adds the graphite softly with continuous, smooth tonal gradations. I use tortillions (blending stumps - the rolled type) to add medium to medium dark shadows for smooth transitions. Last, I use the pencil directly for the medium dark and dark areas of the drawing varying strokes and pressure until I get the look I'm after.
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For graphite landscape drawings and custom home drawings I use the pencils directly on the paper occasionally using a cloth or tortillion to blend, and I use mostly a "B" and "H" pencil for the details I need. Landscape drawings cost more due to the time to render the details.
My drawings are not computer manipulations like many that are being sold on the internet. My drawings are true, fully developed pencil renderings. You can often tell whether a drawing is a computer generated facsimile by the pricing. Very low pricing often means it's a computer generated picture. In the case of something computer generated, why not just use a photograph?
My graphite pencil drawings are always sprayed with a fixative to preserve it and further intensify color depth. (My techniques are similar for white charcoal drawings.)
What are your favorite tools for pencil drawings
Because of the versatility, portability, odorless and colorful aspects of pencil I have always been, and always will be a pencil artist. Some of my pencils of choice are: Col-Erase, Prismacolor, Verithin, graphite, charcoal, pastel, sepia tone & watercolor. The surfaces I use most often are:: Dura-lar vellum (a coated plastic surface), Strathmore Bristol Vellum, Strathmore Artagain, hardware store sandpaper (600 grit), crocus cloth sandpaper, cold press watercolor paper (300 lb), hot press watercolor paper, illustration board (cold press), Pastelmat pastel paper, suede mat board for pastel paintings, and I've been known to experiment with others but seem to go back to these..
My basic tools for custom pencil drawings are: a soft cloth, tortillions, a kneaded & ejector eraser (the type that ejects out like a mechanical pencil), electric eraser, the right surface for the job, low tack masking tape, foam core board, a pencil sharpener, and, of course, my beloved pencils.
Can you explain your creative process?
It all starts with an idea. Then comes a list of all the items to be incorporated into the artistic vision. Often, at this point, I need help pulling it all together so I employ a meditation process. Then, a rough (8 x 10) line drawing is prepared using a fat eraser for lots of changes.
How did you learn to draw?
Actually, I'm totally self taught. I'm blessed (or cursed; depending on your point of view) with a definite level of passion that drives me to learn what I want to know. I'll dig and dig until a level of satisfaction is reached in the knowledge I pursue, often not even sleeping well until my mission is accomplished. I read books. I studied other artists' work that I admired. And, as far as formal education is concerned in the area of the arts, it's great for some people, but for me, they tended to teach what they thought was valuable for me to know. I simply had a different opinion and became impatient and bored with having to do things that didn't interest me. And, now with the internet (for me, often YouTube), and an adequate amount of tenacity and passion, you can learn anything you want to learn. It's all there.
Do you have a studio to do your pencil drawings?
One thing is for sure, if producing custom pencil drawings depended on a fancy studio I’d be sunk, so all I need to visit a little slice of heaven is a comfortable recliner, a good magnifier with an attached light, a sketch pad & pencil, a fresh cup of coffee, a BIG SPACE OF TIME & voila! The Perfect Art Studio. The last drawing at right of "Mother's Day Tulips" was created with pastel pencils.
When did you start doing pencil drawings?
Even as a child I was interested in art and had many mentors to spur me on. But, around 1982 I was bitten by a pernicious bug to draw pencil portraits of famous people and particularly stars from the old black and white movies. Then, somewhere along the way, I discovered there were other things to draw like landscapes, flowers, homes, & still life.
My entire art journey started with portraits and has always been expressed in pencil. There are so many reasons I love pencils, i.e.; non-toxic, easy to carry, inexpensive, and oh so versatile.
With pencils I can create the look of pastel, watercolor, and smooth oil as well as beautiful pencil textures. Graphite pencil portrait drawings, to this day, are still my favorite art expression.
Send photos here to start a pencil drawing.
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