Materials & Surfaces for Drawing Exercises
I'd like to talk about some of my favorite materials that I love to use for. Figure drawing There are if you've ever been to an art store, it can be really overwhelming in terms of just walking in and seeing thousands of pencils and pens and strange dark looking objects don't even necessarily know what they're for. So I want to go through some of my favorites and I also want to assure you that you know you could literally do this course with just a regular everyday household pencil and even some xerox paper if you don't have what I have up here. But I want to show you possibilities because I really feel like you're probably be quite inspired once you see um what these things do and then you might want to expand your repertoire a little bit. The first thing that I do when I come into the studio is I sharpen my pencils and you might think yeah sharp pencil like yeah I get that but I wanna show you something that might be a little more subtle that I actually really for me heightens my ins...
piration for drawing which is how you show sharpen your pencil. Now there are a lot of you know pencil sharpeners that might look something like this where you just put you know the pencil in the chamber and you turn it and voila you get a sharp pencil kind of conical shaped. But if you compare you know the tip of that pencil to this pencil you might notice that this pencil has a very different look to it. It's very chiseled, it's very organic and the lead is longer. So I want to show you how I sharpen pencils in the studio. I tend to use an exacto knife and the thing about an exacto knife is that they're sharp, so you wanna make sure that you always put the cover on afterwards and if you lose the cover, like I often do, you can keep yourself safe by actually nesting the knife into an eraser. You know, that's something you can do if you lose the cover in between using it. But what I'd like to show you is how to sharpen a pencil with an exacto knife. So I tend to bring the pencil down to a surface, it could be actually resting your hand on the edge of a garbage can and just shaving the shavings into that. But I sometimes like to put it on a piece of paper and I'll show you why. So you'll take the exacto blade and you can put it on maybe about a 40° angle against the pencil and just start whittling away. You know, this is actually a new blade on the knife, so it's sort of like butter through the wood. Even the sound of the shavings coming off the pencil is getting me in the mood to draw. So this is like you know getting ready getting inspired and sometimes I'll actually sharpen several pencils because here's the thing if the model is posing and it's fleeting and time is of the essence, you don't want to stop and you know have to sharpen a pencil in between. So I definitely suggest sharpening up several pencils before any model session starts. So now I look at this and I say now that's something I want to draw with that's got facets got kind of a long tip to it. And the beauty of it is that because it's got a long tip, you can use the point of the pencil but you can also shift it and use the side more so it creates a little bit more of a variety of marks rather than just having, you know, kind of a more sort of store bought version. So that's something in terms of pencil sharpening, that is really great to practice the other aspect. The other beauty. So you know, this is sort of like remnants, right? You might think well now she's made a mess on her table. But actually what I love to do is with the shavings, this is a graphite pencil with the shavings, you can kind of move them around. And what happens is that once you kind of take the wood shavings off, you'll notice that the paper now has this gray tone to it. And sometimes actually I like to put a little gray tone down, sometimes a white sheet of paper feels a little intense or a little intimidating. Having a little bit of gray pigment down allows you to move in in a diff way and you can actually then take an eraser as a tool to actually create marks through the pigment, the leftover pigment and that can be actually a nice addition to any kind of drawing process. So we're using we're using all of that to create, you know, a sense of um experimentation and and you know using things that you might not normally use. Alright, some other tools I love. So one thing that I really enjoy is using charcoal, so there's a couple different kinds of charcoal that you might end up using. One is a willow or vine charcoal. The willow or vine charcoal has a beautiful dark effect and you see what I'm doing here as I put it down. I'm sort of turning it in my hand a little bit and sometimes I'm pressing very lightly, Sometimes I'm pressing very hard and that creates this beautiful dynamism, this sort of undulating line which can really make or break a figure drawing the beauty of the willow or the vine charcoal is that you can and this is something we're going to be working with. You can make marks and then you can just like wipe them away and then you can put a darker mark on top. So it starts to be this sort of ghost process of layering marks, chuckle is really atmospheric and really beautiful in that way. So there's this vine charcoal but there's also compressed charcoal and compressed charcoal has a much, you can see how much darker it is, really has impact. It really has a potential for making really bold drawings and in the case of this it also is smudgy but it doesn't really get removed quite as much as the willow or vine. So there's lots of different types of charcoal, definitely recommend that you work with them and experiment to find your favorite. Another type of material that is a little bit chalky and you'll notice this particular drawing tool is really, really fun. What it is is it actually has little teeth to it and you press a button and it opens and you can insert whatever kind of drawing pigment you want. This has more of a brownish or sepia color and this is a content. So it again makes a pretty nice dark mark. I like the brown, warm color and this too, can smudge a little bit, see that. So this too can smudge. And some people like smudgy drawings depending on how quickly the models moving, depending on my, you know, uh just sort of how I'm feeling. I might reach for charcoal or I might reach for something a little more precise. Speaking of which there's a couple more pencils, I want to show you beyond, you know what we worked with earlier. Sometimes I like to work with a color. So here's sort of a waxy, almost colored pencil version of what we just saw. It's got this sanguine color, which is really beautiful, very old, mastery looking. And then sometimes I just like to work with a color like blue or maybe overlay red and doing something a little bit more experimental which will be working with as well. In this course, Some of the surfaces that you might choose from, you know, like sometimes people will just have a small sketchbook to draw the figure and that's absolutely great and fine. But for this course, the majority of it we're gonna be working larger because I really want you to be working with your body like as opposed to making tight little drawings. Working on a larger 18 by 24 piece of paper is really going to allow you to loosen up and just be very reactive. You could use a wire bound sketch pad, something like this, or you could use just loose paper clipped onto a board like this. And this top sheet is newsprint. It's very inexpensive, very forgiving. I like working on newsprint, especially with gesture drawing because you know, you work on it, it's not precious. You don't have to like really feel too pressured to have a product in mind underneath this. I've layered some sort of nicer drawing paper. Um it has a little bit of a smoother texture. So again, depending on you know, I would experiment and try different things and see what just feels good to you couple less things I want to show you in terms of the materials we might use for this class, we're actually gonna be starting very um dramatically with some of the initial drawings and actually using ink. So some kinds of ink drawing that I do have, just take a cheap old bic pen and we'll be working with it a little bit to find some of the joints that moves very fluidly across the paper. I kinda love it and you know, there's no erasing and we won't be doing a ton of erasing because we're just after putting stuff down freshly and then just like not worrying about it. But the other thing that we're going to try is working with ink from a bottle. You could, this is like a walnut ink, but you could also use, you know, a really black India ink, you could even use a diluted water color, something like that. So we're gonna be practicing a particular kind of gesture drawing where you're gonna get a brush and like super saucy, just really don't even wipe it off and we're gonna be making marks to just sort of track the gesture of the body in space over and over again. So just kind of like making a mark and saying that's the feeling of the pose. So this is a wonderful tool and like, you know, a very good way to build your bravery to make marks. Absolutely. Um and then just a couple other things. One sometimes it's nice to have a roll of tape around in case, you know, maybe you're, you know, you want to tape something up in a different way and then finally this idea of having a viewfinder which is really like looking through a camera to start to make decisions about what you want the edges of your composition to be, or zeroing in on the figure, just to kind of compose a particular area, we're gonna be working in particular with the feet as we place the feet, we're gonna be looking through this view finder to help us do that. So all of these materials are options for you. Each one has a really different effect and I think it's super fun to play with things, even you might prompt yourself if you start getting used to a certain material and you start to love it and you start to get comfortable with it, like change it up, like change it up and say, you know, I've been working with you know, the, the ballpoint pen for a while and I really love it, this is my tool. Well then, you know, maybe you want to bring in the charcoal, maybe you wanna bring in a different kind of ink just to keep it fresh and keep your keep your edge. So materials are super fun, you don't have to break the bank to buy a ton of different ones, but I do recommend experimenting and in this course you'll get to see how each one is used.