Sometimes I take a photo of my first layer of graphite. As I use Derwent H7, the hardest of pencils for the vaguest and most subtle of layers, I can not see well how my drawing will look like. Here comes the magic trick; I take a photo and increase it in contrast and darkness. This way, I get to see ahead of my progress. I can evaluate the darker and lighter sections with ease. I can only evaluate, I am afraid, not change anything beyond this point because the composition by now is already set. Seeing the contrasting dark-light sections, however, provides me also with an impression of the movements in the drawing. With this drawing, I am very pleased. Can you see large lotus leaves and three dynamic turtles?
How to Draw an Underlayer?
I use H7 Derwent pencils for the first layer. Do I put the leaves or turtles (or any other subject) straight on an expensive sheet of Arches paper? No. I first make some rudimentary sketches in my diary or on the back of a payment slip, or on a carton of gluten-free cereals at breakfast. How often one makes a beginners sketch depends on one’s self confidence. With this I do not mean that I am confident all the time; new subjects demand more sketches than subjects you are confident with.
Is the use of a ruler okay?
Yes! I always use a ruler because I work on large Arches sheets and thus I divide my sheet in sections. Should I not do that, a turtle might perhaps have too little space and thus ‘falling’ of the composition. I use a ruler also to create white space around my composition, which is aesthetically pleasing but also handy for using a mount (passe-partout) or frame. By the way, with my remark to create space for all objects you like to include in your drawing, I do not mean that everything needs to be 100% included. It can be exciting when parts or objects ‘fall off’ a canvas or sheet. This creates suspense and an illusion that the real scene the artist had in mind is much larger than what he or she has been able to express within the limits of a canvas or sheet.
I hope this tips have been helpful. There are many more tidbits of advice on my website, just follow (the below) related posts. Or contact me freely!
Contact me freely for advice, commissions, or help with choosing artwork or note-cards.
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