This drawing, which is also a speed draw video that you can watch here, is a classic drawing class project. I decided to create a bit more interest by throwing in hints to my passions: gardening and the Earthius brand. This video, as well as the coke can video, is destined for more greatness in service of the Earthius mission. Both videos will eventually turn into little eco-animations. I will probably use snails and lady bugs to entertain the viewer, but I am not giving anything more away!
I started this drawing 3 times, believe it or not. I was not feeling well this week and was totally unmotivated. The first two attempts were with charcoal and Conte pencils, both of which I hate. I really thought I could overcome this apathy by working with them more, but it does not seem to be the case. I am precise and want to be in control of every detail, so these are not my kind of materials. Graphite, on the other hand, suits my style nicely, and I always find myself drawn to it in the end.
For a soft, realistic look, I make much use of a blending stump and several types of erasers. In fact, I often draw almost as much with my stump and erasers as with the graphite! I tend to use my blending stumps dirty, but there comes a point when you need to clean them off and re-establish a fresh point. You can see how to do that in this video by PaperNLacePrincess.
Above you can see how the stump spreads the graphite and even picks it up so you can use it like a soft-tipped shading tool. Remember, the softer the graphite (2B-9B) the darker and smoother the blending results.
There are also silicon blending tools, like the ones on the right here. I have ordered these but have never used them, so I cannot vouch for their effectiveness yet. I’ll post my opinion on them in a future post.
At one point, about 90% of the way through the video, you will see that I take my finger and just brush over the entire composition. This creates a nice muted tone to the whole thing and allows me to work with my erasers to create subtle and stark highlights. I use an electric eraser, which is great paired with an eraser shield to get all the way back to the white of the paper.
Above, you will notice that not all eraser shields are created equal. I recently got my hands on a new one and found, to my dismay, that the openings were much wider than my old one! But here’s a bit of advice: buy the one with the narrowest openings. Why? because the whole point of a shield is to have control over detailed erasing. The wider openings do not provide you with much protection and leave you with erasures no more detailed than you can do without a shield! By the way, you can use the shield with any type of eraser. But for the love of art, do not buy a plastic one!!!
I also use a white, solid eraser for sharper edges and detail work. Of course, the kneaded eraser is an indispensable tool. I quite often opt to dab at my work aggressively with the kneaded eraser to introduce inconsistent and subtle variations in tone, where needed. I also prefer this eraser to clean up the surrounding areas from the inevitable smudges that working with graphite or charcoal introduce. Do yourself a favor, and do not buy an off-brand or store brand. Fabercastle or Prismacolor only. The difference is huge. The kneaded eraser should be soft and pliable, stretch easily without breaking. Not the case with off-brands.
The eraser pencil is a wonderful addition to my eraser collection and provides super tight control over free-hand detail work.
Now, with all this erasing comes the eraser debris. Never… NEVER brush over your paper to wipe away these crumbles! I cannot reiterate this enough! If you do not want to invest in a drafting brush (and I highly recommend that you do), then you are left with blowing the crumbles off your paper. I do this frequently, and it took years to suppress the habit of wiping across the paper, as we learned to do in grade school. But eventually, you’ll catch yourself. Especially after one or two fiascos.
So there you have it. I hope the result is enjoyable and that the video imparts some good information for you to grow as an artist!