This was the last day dedicated to graphite pencil exercises and at the end of it all I was surprised I found something that really engaged me and took my work to a new level.
There were a few other little highlights that I liked: the seasonal wolf illustrations which plays to my “strengths” or cute little things in an imaginary setting; and my tonal flower which was me just winging it – it was very delicate and feminine which is not me at all.
My expressive portraits I was happy with. Darker grade pencils are the way to go. I’m fine with using a 2B for structural lines but they don’t give you the fluidity or tonal range which a 4B can give you. Even the tone difference when combining a 2B and a darker pencil together doesn’t give me enough contrast to make a picture interesting. The line variation with sharp and blunt pencils does however.
I don’t think I’m a pattern maker but I will keep persevering with it. I will make a conscious effort to notice patterns around me in day to day life and possibly create a database of them for inspiration. My mind is not wired to see patterns as much as bold shapes, lighting or texture.
I do like cross-hatching, but I’m not sure if I like it with pencil. I have drawn several with dip pen and ink but I’m too heavy handed with pencil.
And realism… it’s really important I feel to spend time drawing this way, whether its “your thing” or not. It’s the foundation of all visual arts, possibly other disciplines like architectural or fashion design. Even if you’re someone who only loves paints and brushes, the value of this type of drawing is you spend time seeing things differently – the subtleties of light reflection, a subject’s mass or that there is complexity in something as simple as a pebble. It teaches you control and discipline which is a valuable skill even for an expressive artist.
Everyone who takes their art seriously or wants to improve should always return to the humble graphite pencil every now and then, it’s a really good way to hone your skills. You dont even need a fancy imported compressed charcoal graphite pencil stick thing, your average graphite pencil is fine. The same goes with the paper you use.
But no rubbing out! Leave your mistakes in, it’s about learning and exploring. Unless, that is, it’s to draw with, then go crazy. ;D