Time is the technique.
Drawings like these are full of patients.
Check out David Kassan:
I want to chime in on the smearing versus not smearing comments since that decision will be important to the OP's exploration of this type of drawing. First let me say, be sure to try both, giving both a fair shake. I'll give some observations on each.
Lee Hammond is a good example of the smearing style and she does some impressive work with it. However, there are some things about that style that I dislike. For one, everything seems to look kinda muddy to me, both my results with the technique and even what I see from Lee. Another thing to watch out for is that if you are too aggressive with the stump (press down too hard) it can ruin the tooth of the paper, not allowing you to go back and push the darks when you need to. To do drawings like you posted you'll probably need to use a pretty smooth paper to begin with and you don't want to hurt the tooth you've got. I also found it surprisingly difficult to control the graphite in this manner; I'd frequently end up moving too much and having too little contrast in a gradient and it's harder than it seems to pull graphite out smoothly.
In the end I found it best to just put the graphite where I wanted it to begin with. As sharp and precise as a pencil is, it is ideally suited for that anyway. Here is a video of another artist that uses this method and talks about that choice and shows you what you can do without smearing.
Ugly, flat, rubbery, boring, plastic, formless, amateurish, "photographic" (in every negative sense)... shall I go on? She's Christopher Hart for the blue-haired lady set.
I use the soft, pink colored spongy stuff I found in the pastel section at Dickblick(they come in taped off plastic bags like the portable niji waterbrushes, which I threw away and so don't know the brand name). They come in tips, pads, and palette knife shapes, and the palette knife in particular requires you to fit the spongy stuff onto the palette tip first. They look like make-up blenders, and you can probably also use make-up pads for blending.
They blend easily, and you won't need to force it as much as if when using a paper blending stump, which hardens the paper's surface.
People also use brushes to blend. One in particular that I remember was a classmate at a French atelier course, and he used a fan brush, while I used those pink, soft make-up like blenders that I got at Dickblick.
However, most of the blending in the atelier method comes from filling up the white paper with a very thin pencil. The thinness of the pencil tip allows for a lot of value control. As such, accidents, bad or good, occur less often. The task is tedious, because it involves filling in every tiny white spot that stands out too much from an area of gradation in order to harmonize the flow of values. This means you have to sharpen the pencil a lot to fill in those tiny white spots. I, on the other hand, skipped most of this part by using the soft blending tools I bought.
Last edited by Vay; May 30th, 2012 at 12:01 AM.
Twinkle, twinkle little star
I don't wonder what you are
For by spectroscopic ken
I know that you are hydrogen - Ian D.
There's always a risk when blending that you'll destroy your carefully plotted shadow shapes. The difficulty when smudging is to retain them. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't. Of course you can always return and clarify as well. Everyone has their own technique; there's no good or bad technique, only good and bad artists.
Personally, I'd never ever use charcoal without smudging but I often use graphite without.
The second drawing is by Angela Cunningham. She comes from the Grand Central Academy. They do not use any stomping or blending. Neither do they really use hatching. It's all built up with careful pencil strokes, working from piece to piece, until everything is smooth. Knowledge of form plays the biggest part. You imagine as if you are working in 3D, sculpting with the pencil, crawling over the form.
Last edited by Norkagar; May 30th, 2012 at 02:12 AM.
My sketchbook thread: