I love tonal drawing, it's so easy to do, costs very little and requires little space....perfect!
|'Red Camellia, Unfinished' graphite on Stillman & Birn Zeta Series Sketch paper, 7 x 7 inches. Completed using Faber Castell 9000 2H to 4B|
When I teach graphite in my online courses and think it's extremely important to establish this as a foundation skill. I find that it's not so different from purist watercolour methods, especially for quite a dry painter like me....using the white of the paper for only the brightest highlights and layering different tones to build up a 3 dimensional form. It's also the best way of understanding tonal values before moving on to colour and is great for controlling detail. But you have to experiment to get the textures and desired effect too, just like watercolour dry brush work.
I don't invest in fancy tools, there is no need, they won't make your drawing any better. A set of Faber Castell 9000, are without doubt the best pencils and Staedtler are not bad too but a bit too soft for me. Some students find Faber Castell's a bit 'scratchy' at first but this is generally poor technique and too much pressure being applied. The weight should never be at the point of the tip of the pencil and pressing into the surface of the paper, but instead should be kept in the arm, so that the pencil glides over the surface without pressure or resistance. I have reverted to a hard rubber but also use a putty rubber but sometimes these can become sticky. A rubber should be used as little ar possible though. My best friends in the drawing tool kit are a good old Stanley knife and nail file for sharpening. Sharpening is really important and there are a number of variations in the way a pencil can be sharpened and used for different effects. Dark flecks generally only occur if you have rubber or other graphite debis on the surface of the paper, so dust off regularly with a big, clean dry brush and use tracing paper to protect your work from dirty marks. A magnifyer is a must for getting close in at the edges.
|Some basic tools, the nail file/ emery board is a must have, and hand sharpened long leads are better than any sharpener on the market. I couldn't draw at all without a magnifyer.|
|Here's another unfinished - from a Skype tutorial with one of my students this week. I estimate to complete a life size tonal drawing of a tulip would take in the region of 5-6 hours. This one is in the early stages.|
|Here's a Camellia leaf, see how it's a good bit darker than the flower. This is achieved by layering with the softer grades. The underside of the leaf is much lighter though and these are the differences to look for.|
Hmm....30 day challenge = much faster Blogging skills too! albeit with the odd typo