drawing tools

Recently I have been asked about the tools I use for drawing.

One of the first tools I use, and a very important one, is a good steel ruler. It is absolutely necessary for blocking out the composition, getting proportions right ,measuring and squaring edges. This is something that can take hours and it has to be done perfectly! You don’t want to have to start over after drawing for days before you realize ‘hmmm, the wing on that dragonfly just doesn’t look like it’s the same size as the one on the other side’. That sucks big-time, believe me!

Ususally, I use a variety of mechanical pencils, HB and 2B both .5mm and 4B which is a 2mm and needs to be sharpened with a special sharpener. I prefer sharp pencils to blunt ones, more even coverage and darker darks as the sharp end of a pencil will go deeper into the tooth of the paper than a blunt end will. After a bit of practice you can shade very lightly and smoothly with sharp pencils if you are careful and it looks better than with a blunt pencil as well.  I sometimes use a graphite stick, 4B, and rarely, a rolled paper stump or some kleenex type tissue for blending. I always have a kneaded eraser in my left hand (pencil in my right) and use it almost as much as I use my pencils, it is invaluable!

For really black blacks, charcoal is nice but messy. Extreme care must be taken and I never use charcoal until the very end when I can spray it with a fixative, alot of fixative! Before it is sprayed the excess must be removed, a very nerve wracking ordeal! I usually take my drawing outside and gently tip it and not shake it but wiggle it a bit. It needs cleaning up after but if it hasn’t been touched the dust will come of nicely with a kneaded eraser, blotting, not rubbing!

Sometimes, very rarely, I will use a bit of very high quality white pastel to highlight. The problem with pastel though is that it’s difficult to ‘fix’. The spray usually makes it disappear and it needs to be reapplied after the work has been sprayed.

In the photo above is a very soft Japanese wash brush which I use to remove any eraser bits, very carefully as not to pull any graphite around the drawing. I had to learn not to blow on my drawings as inevitably I would end up spitting a little bit!

As for paper, I try to find heavy paper that is smooth but not shiny. I go through the drawers at Opus and feel the sheets with my fingers (don’t know if they would approve of that! Try to be sure your hands are clean before trying it for yourself if you are so compelled). I like it to be just off white as I find pure white too clinical and cold.

I am adding to this blog as I remember stuff so check back every now and then if you are interested!

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~ by amyheggieart on February 11, 2010.

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