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Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Lesson 5 of 9

Demo: Shading With Graphite

Mary Jane Begin

Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Mary Jane Begin

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Lesson Info

5. Demo: Shading With Graphite

Lesson Info

Demo: Shading With Graphite

The graphite pencil is a beautiful tool for making a value range piece. But you can't, it's not gonna be a tool that you're gonna use to make a really giant picture. Mostly because it just takes too much time. And even doing this right now I'm using the side of my pencil and I'm trying to pay attention to my mark making. I'm trying to make it look like stone. I'm not rubbing this in. I could, this is with the stump, this is without the stump. I'm using a 4B lead, which is pretty soft. I could use the ebony. But basically all's what I'm doing is I'm trying to establish value range, which just means from very, very dark to lighter to lighter to lighter to white, which is the white of the page. So when you're creating a pencil drawing generally speaking you're using the white of the page to help define that value range. And you can see, I'm trying to keep the stroke really consistent. If I were building this I would make sure that one side is darker than the other and then there's one sid...

e that's lightest. So I'm gonna just imagine this as a just a gray cube. And again, your mark making, I'm kind of going this way and this way to build up my tonality, but what I'm trying really hard to do is keep the pressure of my hand on the surface consistent. Because if I don't and I start pressing harder I'm gonna have a little black spot or a darker spot. And I'm trying to make the tone really, really even. Probably the biggest challenge for people trying to make use of the pencil mark, if you're making little dots and dashes and line work or hair or this kind of thing it's not as much of an issue. You can go thick to thin and it's a beautiful line. But when you're trying to make a tonality the second that you start pressing a little harder it gets darker. And it then becomes a kind of inconsistent tone. So I try to keep my pressure really consistent and then I build the tonality. I don't try to just press really hard to make a dark tone, I build it up layer by layer. So this is one side of the cube. And I wanna make sure it's consistent, so I'm just gonna look at it a little further away. I see some dark spots, so I'm gonna fill in a little bit more. I'm gonna swirl, I'm gonna start using circles, again, to connect all that texture of that pencil, so we don't have any really big dark spots. And this just, it does take a little practice to watch the weight of the pressure of your hand, but it's a very immediate tool. I mean, this is, it's pencil. We've been using pencils as we were kids, so it's not an unfamiliar tool. Now up here I'm just gonna, I'm really, I wanna use the same tool and then I'm gonna switch to another, a lighter, an H maybe for this side here. But you can see, I'm changing my stroke. I'm making this like long and consistent. I just want you to see different ways that you can use this pencil. And I'm just really keeping that pressure super, super, super light. Barely grazing the surface of this. And this is a Crescent illustration board. I didn't mention that. It has a little bit of a tooth to it, which means a little bit textural. And you can kind of tell, because the mark that I'm making is textural. And I wanted to ask, Kenna, has anybody checked in, are there any questions about pencil, I wanna make sure I answer any questions that come in. One of the questions that had come in while you were working and dipping the pencil in was whether, this is from Rianna, whether that pencil was already sharp before you dipped it in the water, does the water kind of change the effect of the sharpness? Was the pencil actually sharp beforehand? It's, this pencil, where is it? Where did it go? The Dewart. So this is a 2B, it's fairly soft. You can see that tip is not very sharp at all. And I can actually demonstrate if we sharpen it how that looks. And you just use a traditional pencil sharpener. You really have to push, because it's kind, it's a kind of waxier consistency. It feels different than graphite, which is a little more powdery. So there, look at that, now that point is pretty substantial. I'm gonna shift over to another piece of paper, a smoother piece of paper. Dip it in the water, just so I can show you what that mark looks like. Yeah. So now this is a really sharp point and it almost in a way you're able to move that color when the point is sharper a little bit more gracefully like watercolor. And the more the water disappears the more it becomes just like a regular pencil. So when I used it before it was pretty rounded, it wasn't sharp at all. But you can certainly sharpen it, dip it in, and then the more water you have the more this graphite sort of mixes with the water and you're using, I'm putting it on its side, I'm using this to blend that, so it become this sort of gray tonality. Okay, I hope that that answers the question. Thank you. You're welcome. Now I'm gonna shift to a very light lead, probably I'm gonna use a 2H, because a 2H is hard and the harder the lead, we know, the lighter that tonality. And it's already got a pretty good point, so I'm just gonna leave that as-is. And I'm just gonna graze another direction. You can hear the sound. It's hard on a rough surface, so it makes a lot more noise. And I can press pretty hard and I don't really have to worry that that's going to get too dark, because the lead is so hard. It's a 2H. I could use a 4H, I could use even an H. Now one thing I might say to myself is I want the line work to be more consistent, so maybe I'm just gonna graze this whole thing with this kind of tonality to kind of unify the different, I purposefully chose different mark directions. One is straight, one was curly or circular motions. But I'm trying to make the whole thing pull together I might just drag that line over the whole surface to kind of bind all those marks together. And the beauty of this kind of thing is that it's easy to get that tone off of there. If I don't like what I have all's I have to do is grab an eraser and erase it off. And I'll show you the different erasers, 'cause you should have a few different styles. Now I'm gonna go in a different direction. You can always change direction with your pencil. Again, I'm not pressing super hard, but I'm not going as lightly as I did here, simply because I wanna get some tone on the surface. And I'm gonna drag that kind of directional line over what's already here. It sort of fills in the gaps of this textured side. And I'm just trying to make a gray cube basically. And as I do this I'm sort of filling in all the little white spots, so it's connecting a little bit more closely to what's on this side, the lit side. And I would recommend, if you haven't used pencils in this way, then I would tend to try something simple, whoop, like a little value chart, play with the stumps, and I would make a cube, make a circle. I think this is all good ways to get familiar with a tool that maybe you've used pencil, but you really haven't used them in this way where you've experimented with the different weights of the leads, the Hs, the Bs, et cetera. Or played with the kind of lines that they can make. So that's, I feel pretty comfortable with this. I'm just gonna go back in, I'm trying, again, unify the texture. And then I might just graze this across very lightly. What I'm trying to do, I don't want the value to be too dark, but I'm trying to unify the textures, so it looks almost like a stone block. And I'm just doing that with the ebony, because I know the ebony is gonna make a more textured mark on this surface. It's really soft. And I'm gonna go in two directions. This way. And turn it around. One of the issues too is if you're left handed or you're right handed, you keep spinning your drawing around, so you can see it from different angles. That helps me. And also what's really useful is you don't wanna smear your drawing. And the ebony in particular will smear a lot, but pencil in general. Once you're finished with it I would use a spray fixative to hold it all on. So that's a pencil rendering using a variety of pencils, a variety of directions, and it's just a tonal little box. It's a little on the light side, but it takes time to make these graphite drawings. If you look at the drawings that I created those took two week each, because it's so many layers of the graphite. It's not a speedy medium when you use it in that way. If you use it gesturally it's fast, but not if you're doing really detail fine pictures.

Class Description

Are you interested in drawing with color or graphite pencils but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to color or graphite pencils. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a drawing practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to start experimenting and drawing with color or graphite pencils!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of color or graphite pencils and how they work
  • Which supplies and papers to use when working with color or graphite pencils
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium

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