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Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Drawing and Blending Mediums: A comparative overview

I was paging through one of my drawing books when I came across a tiny picture that fascinated me. It was a simple little picture and easy to draw, but the serenity appealed to me. I sat down to do a quick sketch and was immediately confronted by the question: which medium to use? And just like that this blog was born.


I decided to start with the most commonly used medium, pencil, or rather graphite. I'll walk you through the drawing the first time around and thereafter, I copy the same drawing using the same steps, so I won't bother showing the steps again. Instead I'll simply change drawing materials each time. Feel free to skip these first steps if you are a proficient sketching artist. I started off with a Clutch Pencil by Marie's. I love this pencil which has a very thick 5,6 mm lead and often use it. It comes packaged with a box of 6 extra leads. Available in 4B.


Start by drawing to wobbly lines running straight down. My paper is Canson 120 gsm.


Close it at the top with a zig-zag line.


I now fill the space with broken lines. Do not draw lines that run from top to bottom. Do not let lines overlap. Lines should not be evenly spaced.


Draw a line that loops back on the edges, as if it is wrapping around the post.


Draw the anchor line that stretches to the water. The water will be moving, allowing the rope to hang slack. This line should also be broken, since highlights will appear as gaps to the eye.


Draw the grass and land area. Grass should run in all directions and crisscross over each other. Avoid even the suggestion of symmetry. The ground closer to the water's edge will have been trampled down and needs to reflect that.


Still water will reflect clearly as a mirror. Moving water will reflect broken images. In this case a simple zigzag line will effectively create the illusion of a broken reflection of the post. Wider at the bottom of the post and narrower at the top of the post.


I now want to make it clear which direction my light source is coming from. In this case it is from low down on the right. That means the left and top will be darker, because it is in shadows. These sides must be darkened.


Next step is to finish the drawing by blending the lines. I used Derwent's Blender and Burnisher here.


I used the blender only on the left hand side of the drawing (the shadow side). I used the burnisher in the reflection. The burnisher will give a tinge of a shine to your work.


I used a Pigma Pen 02 to write the details of my mediums. This page will serve as a reference for future drawings, illustrating the possibilities of the available mediums. It will also serve as a good visual reference for the differences in mediums.


The next drawing would be done in charcoal.


I used a nice thick stick to work with, knowing it would be easy to vary the thickness of the lines quite easily.


I drew the sketch a second time, again darkening the shadowed areas at the end.


Time to do the blending. This time I chose a rather unlikely option. My choice fell on the rubber paint pushers which allows for some very precise work.


Being made from rubber, the paint pusher will easily blend any graphite or pencil drawing, just like any hard eraser would. But it also shares the characteristic of being able to erase lines and markings. Charcoal work is very dark and it is this last quality that drew me to this. See how I created highlights in the drawing below.


In the third drawing I was going to revert back to graphite, but this time chose a water soluble graphitone by Derwent. This comes in sets of 2B, 4B, 6B and 8B.


I once again drew the same sketch.


This time I would use water to blend it with. I used the Pentel Aquash brush.


Simply unscrew the brush, fill the reservoir with tap water, and reassemble. Slight pressure will drive the water down the shaft and you can paint without any extra water containers cluttering your space.


I paint only selected lines to soften them a little.


It is also possible to take 'paint' off the water soluble pencils and do lighter washes with it. It became increasingly clear that I had chosen the wrong paper for adding water. A better choice would have been 300 gsm Expressit watercolour paper.




I finally decided to move away from the greyscale drawings. I wanted to keep it monotone. I chose to use a pastel pencil. Faber-Castell has a marvelous set of 3 pencils and chose the darkest in this selection.


The same drawing was repeated in the dark brown pastel pencil.


I chose paper stumps to blend with.


I was once again selective in the blending process. It is very easy to over-blend a drawing.


At the end of half an hour I had a very nice visual reference for comparing drawing mediums and blending tools.


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