Any good examples of pencil smudging?
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    Any good examples of pencil smudging?

    A lot of people say to never smudge with your finger, but rather to control it through pencil pressure alone, and that's what I've been doing my whole life. I'm curious though if anyone has examples of drawings where it was blended largely through smudging instead, but still looks good?

    Last edited by Elwell; November 11th, 2012 at 08:30 PM.
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    I schmudge all the time...I kinda like it.

    Graphite (using graphite powder to lay in broad tone) - an hour maybe...18x24 or so
    Name:  Hillary_Chair_72.jpg
Views: 1391
Size:  101.8 KB

    Edit: Like most things it isn't the technique or the media that is the problem...it's what one does with it.

    What would Caravaggio do?
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    There are no good examples of smudging graphite.
    A nod to an old discussion right Jeff?

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    Paper or Plastic?

    PAPER I say! Paper is the One True Bag Material.

    (Oh well, we haven't had a good anti-smudging or one-true-way-to-hold-a-pencil thread in awhile. . . .)

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    Well I don't want to turn this into a "it's the artist not the materials" thread, nor a "smudging is bad" thread...

    I'm fairly comfortable with controlling things through layers of hatching (see my latest pencils here to get an idea of where I am). I just wanted some examples of smudging since I haven't seen many people do it, but from what I have seen it gives some nice soft edges and a dream-like feel that is very different from more "acceptable" methods of laying down strokes.

    So yeah, less discussion and more pictures please!

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    Smudging with your finger can leave oils behind and make it harder to manipulate. They make tortillons and stomps
    specifically for smudging.

    Last edited by Craig D; November 10th, 2012 at 01:40 AM.
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    A Master Of Smudging-- J. D. Hillberry:



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    Except that picture is likely to have been done in graphite dust, not pencil; and definitely with a stub, not a finger. Fingers are oily and ruin the texture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Except that picture is likely to have been done in graphite dust, not pencil; and definitely with a stub, not a finger. Fingers are oily and ruin the texture.
    Hey arenhaus, I think this is where most of these discussions go sideways-- terminology.

    From the tone of the OPs opening post, it's as if he's totally unaware of the idea of "blending" graphite as a legitimate technique. If "smudging"= "blending," then the OP has been rigidly avoiding a useful practice due to misunderstanding advice about not getting oil from his fingers on the paper. Thus he's restarted one of these false dichotomies between the "more acceptable" practice of hatching and the, apparently, "less acceptable" practice of "smudging."

    [Hillberry uses standard blending tools-- stumps, tortillons, chamois, and various types of paper wrapped around his finger. His working method actually is slow build up with graphite pencil developed by using the various blending tools. To get the darker passages to pop out without overworking the graphite to a shine, he switches to carbon pencils and some charcoal for things like pupils and crevice shadows.]

    Last edited by Kamber Parrk; November 10th, 2012 at 11:37 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I schmudge all the time...I kinda like it.

    Graphite (using graphite powder to lay in broad tone) - an hour maybe...18x24 or so
    Name:  Hillary_Chair_72.jpg
Views: 1391
Size:  101.8 KB

    Edit: Like most things it isn't the technique or the media that is the problem...it's what one does with it.
    Nice smudgin'! Reminds me of Andrew Wyeth's "Helga" drawings.

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    Thanks Kamber - nicest thing I've heard in quite some time! I really like broad media and blending..whether graphite, charcoal, conte, pastel. I probably prefer graphite actually because I like pulling it out with an eraser..a bit harder to do with conte, pastel and charcoal - they always leave a bit in the tooth. With larger work I almost always use tissue paper or a chamois for blending and laying in tone. That said of course, you can see I also like marks and a variety of texture and line. I personally don't care for an overly modeled, soft airbrush look to form.

    Again I don't like to say, or hear "never" in art...my mantra is do whatever it takes. I smudge frequently in my sketchbooks as well...no one has cared so far. Then again...Bill hasn't seen them!

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    NSFW

    Nathan Fowkes smudges his charcoal: http://nathanfowkes.blogspot.com/

    From my experience, there is no way to quickly shade things smooth without smudging. Unless you want to use purely pencil, dotting for months on a drawing like the French Atelier students, then smudging is your friend.

    I have used pan pastel, make-up like pads, to blend my graphites drawings. They don't ruin the paper as much as stumps or chamois. For the drawing below, I started with more "strokey" stylistic shading and then I smudged the charcoal with my fingers, this I do for longer poses, otherwise I leave them stylistic. I can mentally control my hand not to sweat, I don't how I do it, but I just can. Either that or I rarely sweat through my hands:

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    Last edited by Vay; November 11th, 2012 at 10:32 AM.
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    i think you should use the hatching technique it would help you to create a basic 3d forms knowledge in your head, also smudging is really difficult to control i usually use coton and tortillons (love this name) but before so, i ALWAIS map shadows and light sources and try to boost them check out jason seiler he doesn't smudge but he get quite awesome results [img]http://www.jasonseiler.com/portfolio/images/sketches/18.jpg[img] sorry i'm new to forums how do you post images?

    Last edited by revanthem; November 13th, 2012 at 10:15 AM.
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    Not saying it’s a ‘good’ example, but there’s a lot of smudging and erasing out going on in this graphite (no powder) drawing I did back in the 90s. The scan could be better.

    Name:  Cheetah.jpg
Views: 1345
Size:  209.5 KB

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    Hiroaki Samura, not everyone's cup of tea but definitely something to learn technique wise

    but like mentioned above, smudging with your finger doesn't work out too well

    Name:  mj05.jpg
Views: 1040
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    Name:  Hiroki1.jpg
Views: 3087
Size:  334.5 KB

    Name:  tumblr_lbfnzmzuYX1qbhg4wo1_500.jpg
Views: 1126
Size:  181.8 KB



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    Figured I'd better add a NSFW tag to the thread after that last batch.


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    That's not Boris Karloff is it?



    'Cause that looks like Boris Karloff!

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    yeah it is. He lived in LA in the 20's and 30's and did a lot of celebrity portraits.

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    Take a look at Henry Yan
    http://www.henryyanart.com/drawings.php




    Last edited by Saraiva; November 11th, 2012 at 11:12 PM.
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    wait did fechin smudge? I always thought he did most of his rendering with line. Like it's really subtle but I always felt he did something similar to da vinci, forgot the techniques name but yeah, I might have no clue, ignore me

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    Quote Originally Posted by M.A.C. View Post
    wait did fechin smudge? I always thought he did most of his rendering with line. Like it's really subtle but I always felt he did something similar to da vinci, forgot the techniques name but yeah, I might have no clue, ignore me
    I saw a show of his original drawings in Taos a few years back. He had great value control but parts of the drawings were definitely blended or smudged. Some looked like they were made with graphite or charcoal powder and applied with a brush but some had a less precise look like smudging or blending. It fits with the information in his book where he talks about using any means necessary to achieve an effect, including fingers while painting

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    Frazetta
    Every drawing in the Illustrations Arcanum book are made on Vellum or tracing paper to exploit the smudge effect used with a kneaded eraser to pick areas back out.

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    I just recently started attending a nude drawing class and the teacher there doesn´t like it when I smudge. It says that my figures will look like an oil painting, so he tells me pencil needs to feel like pencil and cross hatching is the only method to go..Don´t get why though..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Saraiva View Post
    Take a look at Henry Yan
    http://www.henryyanart.com/drawings.php


    As far as I know Henry Yan gets the majority of that effect by laying out large, raw strokes of charcoal (although I'm sure he 'smudges' a bit as well, 'smudging' is a lot more common/effective with charcoal than with graphite)

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    Ay-yi-yi. Those're some pictures I'll never get out of my head, M.A.C.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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    Very cool stuff so far! I really enjoyed the video on Hiroaki Samura, I've seen his work before but never a video.

    The Frazetta one is very nice as well--I imagine he used this technique mostly to save time?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Goremageddon View Post
    I just recently started attending a nude drawing class and the teacher there doesn´t like it when I smudge. It says that my figures will look like an oil painting, so he tells me pencil needs to feel like pencil and cross hatching is the only method to go..Don´t get why though..
    I'll take a stab at this. He's trying to teach you something. What I've learned is that students smudge, stipple, and mindlessly crosshatch to fudge or because they are not sure what to do. I joke about not smudging because it can be a crutch for learning students. Learning to draw is, in part, about building confidence in your seeing and mark-making. Covering up your lines with too many lines or smudging is usually a mark of insecurity in students. When you get better at drawing it can be a tool well used in the right hands but if a teacher is telling you not to smudge I imagine it is for reasons of learning not assholing. Also I'm betting by hatching with line the teacher is trying to get you to learn about cross contouring or learning the form. One more thought. Some people believe that tools have inherent qualities that shouldn't be messed with. Hence pencil should look like pencil and paint like paint. It is old-fashioned but you can learn something from anyone if you try.

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