Effective Techniques to Aid in Your Graphite Art

GraphitFaces of FreedomCredit: Drawing done in part from a photo by Andrea Brucee artists are an amazing group of people.  When I began my journey into art, I found a group of people passionate about a monochromatic world.  People sometimes refer to graphite art as "black and white."  This is not technically true.  In fact, in graphite, there is no "true" black...only shades of grey.  The brain seeks out the darkest shade of gray and then views it as black.  It is a trick of the eye and brain that enables graphite artists to achieve such dimension in their work.  

In the example above, which is an example of some of my work, I was able to use varying degrees of graphite lead to achieve the depth which is seen by the eye.  It is what gives graphite art the "3D" illusion.  Some graphite artists refer to this as the moment when the drawing "pops" off the page.  It is a magic moment.

One of the most fundamental principles in this type of art is an understanding of the "tooth" of the paper.  Graphite artists specifically need to understand this, as it affects their art more so than artist who use other mediums.  The tooth of the paper is your friend and you must treat it with kindness.  In the video below, I illustrate what the tooth is and how to treat it.  The two simple rules I give in the video are:

1. Use light pressure.

2. Use multiple layers.

I hope you will take a moment and watch the video as it will illustrate better than my text can do.  

Understanding Paper Tooth

As you can see from the video, understanding the tooth and how it is used, is very important.  Some of the first drawings I made were ruined because I did not understand how important the tooth was.  I mistakenly believed that the darkest parts of the drawing required pressing firmly down as I drew.  I didn't realize I was flattening the tooth of the paper and destroying the drawing in the process.  Hopefully this brief article and the accompanying video will give you the instruction you need to avoid a similar circumstance.