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Thursday, 28 March 2013

Short Drawing Tip #2 - Warm-up

Warm-up your drawing hand inside and out!
Sounds weird?

Over the last few years I have started to feel the flexibility leave my nibble fingers.
The result of 20 plus years of heavy carrying, pulling, lumbering and shovelling I donated to equine maintenance.

Two years ago, I wrote this post Hot mugs and sketched circles  in which I explain the benefits of holding a hot mug of water for as long as possible letting the heat penetrate as deeply as possible (outside warm-up) and how I then follow-up by scribbling in quick succession a series of mad circles swooping them in all directions (inside warm-up).

Actually, the post gains a wee bit more depth and explains how Renoir battled with arthritis ... ( if you have a minute you really should have a read or re-read: it's still amazes me how he (Renoir) overcomes crippling pain to produce such beauty.)

Today, I have added another step  to my routine and that is to scrunch (10-20 times) a miniature rugby ball (gets the blood flowing nicely).

Tip #2
Warm up your hand, arm, shoulder, body before starting a drawing session.
This really makes getting into a flow and finding a good rhythm that much easier. May sound mad but the result on paper has proved it to be well worth it!

p.s: if you missed tip #1(Paper Choice)  no problemo here's the link

Friday, 22 March 2013

Short Drawing Tip #1. Paper Choice.

The choice of paper is crucial to a successful drawing yet in it's importance (and choice) very overwhelming.
All you need to do is start searching the internet to be confronted and snowed under by soooooo much information and choice.

Paper choice is very personal and something that has to be tried out, literally.
Pencil (your pencil) has to make contact with the paper.
No amount of reading what other artists like and use will guaranty your own success.
Trial and error (sadly) are in this case your best friends.

As a guide and to help you shed a little light on the question "what paper?" here are a few relevant points to watch out for:

  • If you want a drawing with strong contrast, lots of spontaneity and are not too bothered about detail and realism then a "toothy" rough paper would suit you well. Strathmore Drawing paper is a nice quality toothy paper as is Fabriano Artistico .

  • Always always make sure you choose a good quality art paper. All quality papers are acid free. This ensures your work of art does not turn yellow a few years down the line.  I also like my paper to be thick (at least 250g), this way it can withstand much more handling (or in my case manhandling) without creasing or showing too many signs of wear.

  • Determine which colour you like the best for your work. Each paper will be of a different white. I find that by putting a selection of different papers together you can really get a good idea about the variation in shades of white. As a rule of thumb : realism works well on a crisp white paper  whereas a softer more flowing drawing is better suited to a warm-toned paper.  

  • Once you have found your paper, made the paper choice you know fits like a glove, make sure you stock up  and have enough to last the waves of inspiration. Nothing is worse than running out of paper when you are under pressure from both your muse and dead-lines.

  • Make sure you use a piece of paper larger than you need. This will insure extra room for spontaneity, miscalculation and a all over nice drawing experience. (I've had a few drawings falling of the edge the paper and it is the most infuriating thing.)

SDT #1 

Take your time in choosing a paper. Make sure you like the feel, the look (ie colour), the quality and the way it responds to your drawing.
Most art stores will allow you to sample papers, discover their qualities, before committing to buying. Use this opportunity to make your own personal choice, put a bunch of quality samples together, take them home and get scribbling!

p.s: this is #1 in my series of Short Drawing Tips. Hope you've enjoyed it. Over the next ten weeks, there will be a small tip a week. Stay tuned for #2....

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Short Drawing Tips ... coming soon

It's fantastic!
So many of you are asking questions that I know the answer to and that I feel confident answering!
Happy dances!

Therefore, it may very well be time (after thousands of hours at the drawing table) to, finally, create a wee series of tips and share my experience with all of you here on my blog.

My Short Drawing Tips (SDT) are going to be short (yep!), exclusively about the technical side of graphite drawing (double yep!) and will all be based on my trials experienced and errors made.

Some of you may remember I shared my drawing recipe a while back with a more poetic focus.

The objective this time round, is quite simply to share, in a short and snappy way, how I approach my craft.
These SDTs are never going to boast being the right and only way, they are just what works for me.

Topics covered will be the very popular topics of choice of paper, pencil choice, drawing surface, sharpeners, fixatives, blending but also extra personal tips of the trade.

The keyboard used for the typing-up of my SDTs....

It's so exciting.

Short Drawing Tip #1 is nearly ready and will be posted here on Black on Grey on White on Friday. The plan is to have one new Short Drawing Tip appear every week.
Currently in the making are 10 SDTs.

should you have any extra special requests please let me know and I will be sure to consider them.

Off to get typing, ciao ciao for now.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Unique Trust, new drawing

Unique Trust
Pencil on Paper
57 x 46cm
Sheona Hamilton-Grant. All rights reserved

After spending a little more than six weeks hand in hand with my feelings, memories and pencils, I proudly present "Unique Trust".
In line with my 2013 resolutions, I was determined to jump out of my comfort zone and roam a little in the unknown suburbs of my drawing ability.
A different approach had to be taken.
So I went big much much bigger, stepped away from the classic head pose and began discovering how to convey a very special intimate, precious moment. 

"Unique Trust" happened in layers: a layer of technical knowledge topped with a double layer of whipped emotions, sprinkled with a wee bit of pencil magic.