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Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Lesson 4 of 9

Demo: Surfaces For Graphite

Mary Jane Begin

Getting Started with Colored and Graphite Pencils

Mary Jane Begin

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Lesson Info

4. Demo: Surfaces For Graphite

Lesson Info

Demo: Surfaces For Graphite

So the next kind of paper that I'm gonna show you and I wanna show you a couple different types, because I feel like knowing what paper works best or is nicest for a tool is kind of important. So here I'm just gonna show you this is what the ebony looks. Now look, this is newsprint and if you look at this it's not very dark. So if you compare the darkness level on this beautiful 100 pound smooth Bristol paper versus the newsprint it's quite a bit different. The newsprint is designed for quick studies, it's designed for rough drawings. It's usually, it's mostly designed for in-class drawing where you're drawing from the model or still life and you're doing just a quick gestural study. You're not trying to make a really fancy finish. Because the value range is limited, because it's a really gray surface, you wouldn't tend to use this for really fine work. But it's great for quick use of the pencil as a gestural tool. If I were drawing a figure the ebony pencil would be your best pencil t...

ool to use on the newsprint, because when you get to these really fine tools it's gestural and it's nice, but it's kind of, again, it's like not that dark. This pencil lead is not gonna go very dark on this surface. So the value range isn't quite as wonderful as it is on a totally white piece of paper. This is newsprint, it's also super thin, it's made from recycled paper, so it's also really cheap, which means you could use a lot of it when you're doing roughs and you're doing sketches and you're thinking, you're trying to make an idea come to fruition, this is great stuff for that, but not for your finish. Another surface, paper surface, that we like to work with and I like to work with are what's called trace papers. When you're doing a drawing that you need to see through to another paper, because you're trying to make changes. I'm just gonna use the lead that's in here. Let's say you're making, here's a side view of a face and you want to change something. Here's the hair, da, da, da, you might say to yourself, oh, I wanna make a change, so I'll make that change on another piece of paper, maybe I wanna make the nose a different shape, what have you. I then can put this on top of that and I can see through and I can make my change that way. So it's really, the tracing paper is an excellent tool for, I would call it problem solving in drawing and construction of pictures. I'm a huge fan of the trace paper for that reason. You can also do this if you're in Photoshop, you can do layers, but these are literally physical layers of trace. And what I'm doing drawings I might have one, two, three, four, five layers of trace paper with my pencil drawings to create the construction or drawing. And I did bring a couple of my pencil drawings that are on tracing paper, because I wanted you to see. This is on vellum trace. And you can literally see through this image or this image. It's taped on the edge to keep it flat on the surface, but I can get a pretty good value range with this vellum surface. And I'll explain that in a minute. I love it as a drawing tool. And I use this, these are pencil drawings that were then turned into paintings. I took them and I printed them on another kind of surface, watercolor surface, and then made my paintings. But the vellum takes a beating, unlike sort of thin trace that's maybe not as expensive. Vellum's a little more expensive than your regular trace and I'll show you that. This is Canson vellum, I love it. The other kind of trace paper, let's see if I have it here. I don't see it. It's super, super thin and it's really meant, I'm not seeing that pad, but it's sort of like this paper below, which is, it's kind of see through, but it's not quite as hefty as this vellum trace. And this is super see through. So I think that's one of the beauties of the Canson vellum trace is that you can see right through it like a window and you can make multiple layers and still see the drawing on the bottom. It's also a beautiful surface if we take our ebony pencil, it can handle it and the color still stays pretty dark, unlike the newsprint. So some people like to draw on newsprint for their roughs. I love the vellum trace. And again, the pad, it's not the cheapest tracing paper you're gonna find, but you can do a lot to this. I've actually inked on vellum trace and I've done like simple watercolors. Water tends to buckle the paper, so you can't get too dramatic with it. You can also use markers on the vellum trace. So it's a really versatile paper. The other surface, this is the Bristol that I talked about. I wanna show you a little bit of, this is actually a really interesting tool, this is a graphite pencil that you can add water to. So when you have something that you can actually, and we'll test it right here with my water, when you can add water to something and then mix it up, that's kind of an interesting thing to be able to do. And I'll show you the water soluble, and I'm just dipping this into regular old water. I won't drink that after I've done this. Just remind me, Kenna, not to drink from that. But what's cool is that you can have the pencil that just looks like pencil or you can wet it and it almost looks like watercolor. It's movable, it's smearing around. You can't do this with a regular pencil. It's just not an option. So these are called Graphitone, they're by Derwent, and they are available from Blick. And they're just kind of cool. So I like these. I don't use those, in particular, I don't use my colored pencils mixed with water, I tend to use them just as colored pencils, but it's a beautiful option to have. Now what I just did I did on the 100 pound smooth Bristol paper and that's, it's taking the water and it's not buckling terribly. You don't have to stretch this paper. If I really soaked this paper it would wrinkle, so you have to, there's a limit to the amount of water that it can handle. But it's such a pretty surface for drawing, I just love it. And again, it's super smooth, it doesn't have a tooth or a texture. When I say tooth I'm just referring to texture. So another thing that I wanna show you and I'm gonna save some of this paper too for our colored pencil demonstration, this is the Blick smooth, but I wanna show the Fabriano, which is, there's two types of, well there's more than two, but there are two excellent types of pastel paper that you can use for pencil drawings or for colored pencil. This one's Fabriano and there's two sides to it. The Fabriano is a really good quality paper and the Canson paper, pastel paper is really good quality. Just because it's called pastel paper does not mean you can't use it for graphite or colored pencils. You absolutely can. And Rebecca did in the image I showed you. And you can see, I'm testing here. This is a surface that has a real tooth or texture to it, so you have to decide if that's something that you particularly like. If you don't like a texture, and I'm just gonna show you, the texture versus. And if we could grab those, some stumps that are on that table, that would be great. I just wanna show what those stumps do and I'll also show what my finger does. When I've talked about this with pastels and with charcoal, if I rub it in the oil from my finger actually moves that tonality around. Thank you. Now these are called stumps. And basically they come in different sizes. This is sort of a larger size and an intermediary size. You can get them really tiny, but you'd be doing really fine work to use a really small stump. But I'm gonna show you how it's actually for graphite and colored pencil the stumps are a better tool than the finger, because you're able to really push that tone into the surface. And some people don't like the sound of the stump on the surface of the paper. You can only know that if you test it. So I recommend you try it. But it does allow you to create gradations, really soft gradations, and it's quite appealing and I really like it. So this is just another tool, the stump tool. And one other tool I do wanna mention as an additional tool for working with your pencils and your colored pencils is an X-ACTO knife. I like to have an X-ACTO knife on hand and a ruler, just so that I can cut my papers, I can use this tool to trim or what have you. I can cut out something that I need to. This is kind of a basic tool to have in your art studio anyway, and this one has a really fine point, unlike a matte knife or a big knife. This cuts more finely with different types of paper. So I really, and I cut all this paper with my X-ACTO knife.

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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