Graphite or just being shady

Sometimes you can get so frustrated from not seeing much progress, but I have to say, in one area I can see progress and that’s in graphite.

Something just suddenly clicked, it was strange. It’s something I’ve seen very often with other artists, and think to myself ‘They need to make the shadows darker. I suddenly realised that mine needed to be darker as well. Add this to the discovery of the 14B pencil (yes really – how soft can you get?) and even better is that it is matt. One of the drawbacks of using pencil is that it goes really shiny the more you shade. Great if you want that, but it’s not often that shadows are shiny ;-). Anyway, lovely FaberCastell created the very beautiful 14B matt. If you look below you can see how much darker it is in comparison to a 6B for example. But then again you can also see how very dark a black polychromos crayon is (also Faber Castell).

pencil shading examples
pencil shading examples

I also discovered that just about every other artist who works in pencil uses a black something for really black things, either a charcoal pencil or a coloured pencil like Prismacolour or polychromous (above) in black. Who knew? Once I knew this, things changed a bit.

If you compare this picture and the shadows and blacks with this one, you can see the difference. The top one I went as dark as I dared at the time, and in the eyes as dark as was possible. The lower one I was able to replicate the darks that were in the reference picture (as far as my ability allows at the moment 😉

lady's face in pencil
lady's face in pencil

At present I seem to be doing a lot more pencil work, it seems to appear to my finickity fussy nature ;-). They are more like projects than pictures to finish. Something to just pick up in the evening and do a bit more shading, very therapeutic and quite meditative. My next blog shows some more examples of pencil work (and using the same image again and again.

That’s it for today, back again very soon. Would love to hear comments.

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