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    Confused about advanced graphite drawings

    Advanced graphite drawings. What technique does it really boil down to, is it essentially all about hatching/crosshatching? And are smooth transitions like these possible with just pencil? No brushes/stomps needed?

    Oh how I wish there could be some serious workshops on my location..

    Confused about advanced graphite drawings

    Confused about advanced graphite drawings

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    No particular technique...but defintiely not hatching/cross-hatching in those examples. It simply comes down to developing the values you want. If you want really smooth gradations then stomps are great tools...as is your finger. Kneaded or fine stick ersaers are important tools as well. Drawing is not one kind of thing, technique or application.

    Paper or board surface play a huge role in mark making as well, as does the softness of the graphite, the grip, point length, angle of application and pressure of the tool.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    My particular pet peeve is stomps when used with graphite. Schmearing graphite is a crime.

    I think patience, touch, and skill are much better tools in getting smooth transitions. Surface, like Jeff said, is a consistent knowledge of your tool. Most people just don't have the patience to make really smooth happen.

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    +1 on stomps and kneaded eraser. I couldn`t live without it, I tell you...

    @Jeff - fingers? I was told several times that this method might not be the best, due to chemical structure of sebum (skin fat)...humm...:/

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    Sure...skin oils are going to get in there to some extent...but you know, 500 years from now when your drawings are on display behind glass in an inert gas atmosphere they will have figured out how to stabilize your drawing...if necessary. :p

    Graphite is made for schmearing Bill! But yeah...stomps are like anything else...poorly handled is poorly handled.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    Sure...skin oils are going to get in there to some extent...but you know, 500 years from now when your drawings are on display behind glass in an inert gas atmosphere they will have figured out how to stabilize your drawing...if necessary. :p
    Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight...............

    Graphite is made for schmearing Bill! But yeah...stomps are like anything else...poorly handled is poorly handled.
    YUp. Learned that the hard way. :/ But I still prefer the "poor mans" solution - ear swabs.
    Whaaaat? Oh come on, like you didn`t think about it?

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    Found a process photo. No hatching, only neat lines and knowledge of form, muscles and so on then?

    Confused about advanced graphite drawings

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    Yep...just careful, deliberate handling of the media...after years of effort to do so.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Charcoals is made for schmearing. Graphite is too pure.

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    Too pure? I have a tube of graphite powder (chainsaw lube) that I like to use when I'm lazy. It smears up nice!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shorinji_Knight View Post
    Too pure? I have a tube of graphite powder (chainsaw lube) that I like to use when I'm lazy. It smears up nice!
    Graphite is better than oil in a lot of places. Also may be the next generation of chips. /derail

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Charcoals is made for schmearing. Graphite is too pure.
    That's Idaho talking, right there!

    (no idea what that means...but I like it)

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    That's Idaho talking, right there!

    (no idea what that means...but I like it)
    You are correct sir. Center of the art universe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Graphite is better than oil in a lot of places. Also may be the next generation of chips. /derail
    Potato chips are sooooo 20th century...

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    Time is the technique.

    Drawings like these are full of patients.

    Check out David Kassan:
    Confused about advanced graphite drawings

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    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.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9p-1200V2Q

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    Lee Hammond isn't a good example of anything, except what not to do. Oog.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Lee Hammond isn't a good example of anything, except what not to do. Oog.
    How so?

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    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.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    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.
    Well I certainly won't stop you. I don't have enough sensitivity in that area to pick up why things don't work, just that to me they're 'ehh'.

    Does anyone have an idea/suggestion on how long the model poses are for those drawings?

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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vay View Post
    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 the 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.
    You're talking about pan pastel applicators.

    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.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    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.
    But at least Chris Hart is making plenty of $$$$ in art. Chicks flock to him cos' he's rich. If I had to list down another idol besides the usual suspects like Feng Zhu and Vilppu, it would be him. LOL

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    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xeon_OND View Post
    But at least Chris Hart is making plenty of $$$$ in art. Chicks flock to him cos' he's rich. If I had to list down another idol besides the usual suspects like Feng Zhu and Vilppu, it would be him. LOL
    great marketing makes up for a lot of art 'sins'

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    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.
    Never heard of her, so I had to go Google around. It's one of those cases where I think: I'll never be able to do that. Neither would I want to. :-)

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    Usually when I see artists obsess over surface quality, they end up ignoring structure.

    Personally, I gave up on using the stump when I realized that my eye for proportion, line quality, structure and just about everything else was severely under developed, since I was too reliant on how a terrible drawing could still be a terrible drawing, but a good looking one, if I just spent enough time rendering it.

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  45. #28
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    Usually when I see artists obsess over surface quality, they end up ignoring structure.
    I hope you mean amateurs. I'm a surface junkie but I can do the structure thing pretty well when I put my mind to it.

    I know what you're saying, just kickin' the dust a little.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickydraws View Post
    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.
    Yep, the second drawing is by Angela. I am a student at Grand Central Academy currently and she is one of my instructors. We don't really use a blending stomp at all, it is all careful pencil marks in graphite. The form has to be conceptualized in regards to a light source, so all of the modeling of tone has to take into consideration the highest point of light for each plane. It is a long process though, we often spend weeks in order to get the drawing to look that fully rendered. It is amazing seeing the final result though, here are some examples from students:

    Andrew Bonneau

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    Liz Beard

    Name:  liz.jpg
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    Patrick Byrnes

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    Cool drawings but am I the only one who's wondering what's going on with the Liz Beard drawing(2nd one)?

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