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sketching

  • Drawing with...

    Charcoal and other smudge-tools

    Graphite, charcoal, conte pencils... they seem like everyday tools in an artist's toolbox, yet they shouldn't be underestimated. There's no need for expensive materials to create great work!
    If not sure about the difference, read more!

     

    Graphite

    The most obvious one is, of course graphite pencils, and graphite in other forms. Mechanical pencils for precise, thin lines, graphite sticks for broad free work and even graphite powder.

    No matter how "basic" graphite can seem, it has its own wonders - see the example for how many different shading techniques and patterns are there!

     

    Hatching: Creates shades by applying parallel lines. The closer they are the more even the effect.

    Crosshatching: This technique is comprised of a series of intersecting lines. The lines can cross each other at various angles.

    Stumping:  This is created by smudging the graphite. It can be done with your finger, a cloth, a paper stump.

    Stippling: Is done by creating shades with a series of dots – lots of dots close together create darker shades.

     

    Charcoal

    Perhaps the oldest drawing tool is charcoal – that has many different forms as well, such as pencils, powder, sticks or vine.

    Artist’s charcoals are made of finely ground organic material and a gum or wax binder. It’s a great tool for producing soft, light lines or intense black surfaces. It’s easily removable yet it leaves stains without the use of fixatives. It can be applied to smooth or course surfaces alike.

    Depending on the manufacturing method, there are different charcoal types that have slightly different qualities.

    Compressed charcoal is shaped into a block or a stick. Its intensity depends on the hardness – the amount of gum or wax binders that are added to the powder. The harder the charcoal is the lighter the marks are.

    Vine charcoal is the long and thin stick that’s made by kiln firing vines. Vine charcoal is great for dusty, soft lines and for covering surfaces, making it less suitable for detailed drawings.

    Charcoal pencils are essentially the same as sticks, they just look like a regular pencil. They are great for sharp, thin lines used in detailed drawing as they can be sharpened with a regular pencil sharpener.

    Useful tools for Charcoal drawings include blending stumps, paper towels, kneaded and regular erasers.

    Charcoal is a great material for drawing, for beginners and professionals alike! It's relatively easy to use, cheap and you can achieve dramatic light and shadow differences, but it's Jenny Saville is one example of many professional artists who use charcoal in their practice.

    Jenny Saville's studio

     

    Conté

    Conté sticks or crayons are composed of powdered graphite or charcoal, mixed with clay or wax and pigments. Nicolas-Jacques Conté.

    invented them in 1795 to create a cheap alternative to graphite during the graphite shortage caused by the Napoleonic Wars.

     

    Conté crayons are most commonly black, white, grey and sanguine tones, but with additional pigments they are available in many different colours. They have very good lightfastness.

    Conté sticks differ from soft pastels in many ways.

    Conté sticks differ from soft pastels in many ways. They are harder and more waxy than the powder-like soft pastels and are suitable to create drawings, unlike the “painterly” soft pastels. It’s easy to control them and they are suitable for small details. They don’t produce a lot of dust.

    They are the best on rough paper, but they work on different surfaces like toned paper, canvas, boards, or newsprint.

    Anthea Polson 's work

    References

    • https://www.craftsy.com/art/article/introduction-to-drawing-with-charcoal/
    • https://design.tutsplus.com/tutorials/the-basics-of-sketching-with-charcoal--cms-23690
    • https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-mediums/drawing/charcoal-drawing/
    • http://www.paintdrawpaint.com/2010/07/some-ideas-on-charcoal-drawing.html
    • https://keetonsonline.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/interested-in-conte-crayons-but-dont-know-what-they-are-or-how-to-use-them-heres-your-guide/
    • https://www.georgeweil.com/blog/all-about-conte-a-paris-crayons/
    • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cont%C3%A9
    • https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-techniques/beginner-artist/graphite-pencil-drawing-basics/
    • http://www.toadhollowstudio.com/wp_blog/drawing-painting-powdered-graphite/
    • https://liannewilliams.com/blog/2016/3/2/my-essential-graphite-pencil-techniques
    • http://www.drawingandpaintinglessons.com/Drawing-Lessons/GraphiteStick-Exercise.cfm
    • https://www.strathmoreartist.com/blog-reader/shading-techniques-selecting-paper-for-graphite.html
  • Enough Excuses – Get Creative! Keeping an Artist’s Journal

    jenndalyn

    Get creative anytime, anywhere!

    Do you feel that you would love to be more creative, but never seem to be able to find the time to set it aside for artistic endeavours? Why not try keeping an artist’s journal with you whenever you’re on the move, to record some of your day-to-day activities?

    CharlotteAliceMurrayEven keeping just an A5 or A6 slim-line sketchbook with you, and some fine-liners, colouring pencils or coloured gel pens is enough to start you off, and can keep you artistically engaged in the world around you. Even better, you don’t have to carry lots of materials around, nor do you have to set aside special time after a long day to do it – just keep your drawing gear in your bag!

    Seize and capture any moment!

    Whilst you’re on the bus, waiting for a train or in the airport, in a queue at the post-office or even on a lunch break, taking out a sketchbook and drawing/ doodling/ writing can really calm you down, help you to relax and allow some small moments of creativity into your day-to-day. Whether it’s a peculiar architectural detail, a quick interaction between two strangers or simply a colourful window display that captures your attention, try to note it down in whatever way comes to you. Drawing has been proven to relieve stress and engages your brain in a different kind of mental stimulation - and it’ll help you to put down your phone and be with yourself a little more.AndreaJoseph

    Our Hahnemülle journals and booklets have lined pages alternating between blank pages, allowing you to note down ideas, thoughts and bits of poetry, or even funny comments overheard at a supermarket. All these minor moments that you capture eventually build into something much bigger, which you can look back on in your visual diary. Small ideas or colour studies quickly noted down can also be the germinations of bigger ideas, such as a series of prints, paintings, a poem – or even all three.

    Pen, pencil, watercolour, pastel... use anything you like!

    MissWearer

    If you’re feeling a little more ambitious, and love the idea of noting the wonderful changing colours of spring, for example, you could always keep a Van Gogh watercolour pocket box, a travel-size bottle of water and some Fabriano A6 postcards with you. Equally, carrying a handy small pack of Rembrandt pastels with an A5 or A6 kraft paper sketchbook means you’re always prepared to embrace the surprising, moving or intriguing moments of your day. You could also collage onto some pages in advance, with newspaper, magazine cuttings or tissue paper which can give you something to work on, instead of the (sometimes frightening!) blank white page. As you become more accustomed to carrying a sketchbook around with you, your observation and drawing skills will also develop.

    Remember – you’re not setting out to make a phenomenal ‘work of art’ here, nothing needs to be judged. If a drawing doesn’t work out, don’t worry, just move onto the next page, and you can always make it into something else at a later date. You are making personal observations that relate to you and the quiet moments you encounter throughout the day, and no one needs to see what you do - unless you want them to!

    Images courtesy (top - bottom):

    Jenndalyn, Charlotte Alice Murray, Miss Wearer, Andrea Joseph

  • Innocent Artwork

    Kids Artwork

    Drawing by Ava

    It is always a joy to see the artworks created by young children and, seeing what they visualise in their heads. These drawings by our daughter, Ava, were only sketched a few weeks ago. Our daughter is a pre-schooler, aged 4, and just loves to draw and write. Recently she has been writing her brothers name as well as her own and has taken a strong interest in shapes and people in her artworks. As you can see she has got a lot of detail, even to the person at the front door of the house with a smiley face (below) and above Ava has drawn a familwith detailed faces and basic body shapes (ourselves).

    Drawing by Ava

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