More Drawing Tools

Earliest man used pieces of cinder or charred sticks to draw on cave walls—and things haven't changed all that much. Artists today rely on charcoal in a variety of forms, as well as more kinds of pens and pencils than you can shake a stick at. Some of Lauren's favorites include:

Assorted artist's materials.

> Charcoal pencils, charcoal, paper stomp, and conte crayons all make their own marks and tones. Each comes in different thicknesses, from stubby and thick to thin and fine, and each comes in different hardnesses as well, from rather hard (for a soft medium) to very soft and smudgy.

Fixative is sprayed on the surface of an unstable drawing to protect it from unwanted smudging. It can be worked on after application, and to some extent is reworkable (you can get under it to change something).

Ink, pens, and brushes are very old media, taking over where charcoal left off. A stick or a clump of animal hair dipped in a pot of pigmented liquid (including blood, mud, or herbal dye) made an ink line, while a piece of grass probably served as an early brush. Today, ink comes water soluble and permanent. Either can be diluted to make washes of varying tints and shades.

Pens are as personal as the hand that holds them, from reed and bamboo pens that you can shape to make a particular line, to crow- and hawk-quill pens, to technical pens for a very fine line, to all the new micro-point and felt-tip varieties. You will only know what you like if you buy it, try it, and see what it does.

Water-soluble pencils are wonderful to use; they go anywhere and can handle anything. You can use them for a dry drawing, or for a watercolor effect. Built-up layers of color or tone produce rich and sometimes surprising colors.

A pencil sharpener is handy to acquire now if you haven't already. A battery-operated one is great for going out into the field (or stream). If you develop a fondness for water-soluble pencils, a sharpener will be invaluable, because the points need to be sharp to make good lines, and stopping to manually sharpen each one slows you down.

The Art of Drawing

Brushes are just as personal in preference and use. There are wonderful Chinese brushes that hold a lot of liquid down to fine camel hair that makes the thinnest of lines. Be careful with any brush. Don't leave it sitting in water on its bristles. Wash brushes frequently as you use them, and always keep them flat next to you. If you use a brush for permanent ink, be very sure that you have cleaned it, or there will be a build-up of ink at the base which will affect its shape. Brushes are expensive, but buy the best ones you can. By the way, they make great birthday presents for an artist (hint, hint).

Artist's Sketchbook

A paper stomp, whether simply a clumped up paper towel or a specially purchased one, a Q-tip, or even a finger can make interesting tones and blurred areas. Harder lines can be drawn or redrawn on top for more definition. Any unstable surface that could be smeared if touched must be protected with a fixative, which is sprayed on a completed drawing to protect it after you've finished.

You can make a page of marks or a tonal scale from any new medium to test its uses and range of possibilities.

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Pencil Drawing Beginners Guide

Easy Step-By-Step Lessons How Would You Like To Teach Yourself Some Of The Powerful Basic Techniques Of Pencil Drawing With Our Step-by-Step Tutorial. Learn the ABC of Pencil Drawing From the Experts.

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