Is it? Because I've seen some highly refined graphite drawings that were blended with a tortillion and I don't think it's always necessarily the "lazy way out".
The point isn't that it's cheating, really; the point is it's ineffectiveness 9/10 times at conveying volumes correctly. As well it's much harder to control your edges that way, and can be easily messed up and very hard to correct...
Not always bad, especially not for gesture sketches, recommended? Personally, I'd say no.
There are no rules with any art mediums that you absolutely must stick to. When there are rules, such as “fat over lean” in oil painting, they are guidelines meant to make your work last longer, or be made with more ease. Or in the case of “never use opaque paint” in watercolor, they are meant to preserve some standard that may be completely irrelevant to you.
I generally advise people not to smudge graphite because so many new artists think that by smudging graphite, they should be grinding it into the paper with their fingertips. Not only does it produce a messy-looking image, but it grinds skin oils in with the graphite, which stains the paper and will yellow over time.
I’m of the opinion that the best shading results that can be achieved with graphite are when the graphite is layered on rather than smudged. This leaves the artist in complete control of the values and makes a more consistent finish on the surface of the drawing. But if you want to smudge, there are “smudge stumps” made expressly for that purpose. They are essentially a stick of soft paper. You could probably improvise your own with folded notebook or tissue paper.
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never bad...where did you hear it was bad?
old masters didn't have a prob with it
i say smear it...
draw like your painting
(scored to an IVAN MAXIMOV Classic animated short )
Smearing is a nice life line some times, so nah.
Still trying to think of a clever saying.
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i think we should encourage drawing that has a similar approach to speed painting. bold expressive,
not the careful precious, hesitant strokes we usually see from new artists.
there are papers that allow for nearly infinite erasing. you really can now treat graphite like paint...moving it around the paper.
shading and building forms can be very like water colors or marker rendering, and easy to correct...far easier than precious lines or contours.
and the beginner will learn faster this way...as it sidesteps the fear of erasing that awkward part you spent hours crosshatching, but is wrong.
Drawing becomes more alive and immediate and production time is cut in half.
Last edited by kingshaj; October 6th, 2007 at 10:21 PM.
(scored to an IVAN MAXIMOV Classic animated short )
I was always told that smudging was bad. In my opinion, it does make the picture look too messy most of the time. But I did see some artists make some very nice graphite drawings that had some smudging involved.
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Short answer; Smuding is fine.
Long answer; Smudging is fine if you have already learned how to control your values. Beginners should not be speed painting- while they might learn a little, they would learn alot less than by building up values slowly and learning how to use them appropriately.
wrong. I find it easier to control edges and value when smudging because of the use of erasers and other tools that let me go back and forth and remove and reapply, much like charcoal. I prefer smudging it. But i use a cloth to prevent oils from touching the graphite. And I also prefer charcoal so smudging reminds me more of working with charcoal and hence i like it better.The point isn't that it's cheating, really; the point is it's ineffectiveness 9/10 times at conveying volumes correctly. As well it's much harder to control your edges that way, and can be easily messed up and very hard to correct...
Now my friend who is over my shoulder is the opposite. He prefers graphite and wont smudge. He has a harder time controlling edges and values when smudging then just long graphite renderings. It all depends on how you work and what you were taught.
I use blending sticks with graphite (or sometimes my fingers when the situation calls for it.) Bad habit I guess, though sometimes it works well for me. Other times, I immediately miss those rough pencil scratches. I'm not particularly fond of charcoals though, so I'm not sure where that lands me on the blend/erase vs. crosshatching thing.
I'm still a beginner though, so who knows...
Last edited by Jasonwclark; October 7th, 2007 at 08:27 AM.
I agree with Elwell. In the hands of a beginner, the results will be flat and dull. However, for the advanced it speeds things up tremendously. I did this piece in graphite using a combination of blending stumps and layering:
and ive certainly seen the type of work your refer to.
i may have overstated it by referring to it as "speedpainting"
that comment was meant to evoke the idea that the lines or elements in the drawing should be seen as disposable and malleable...and should be limited in duration.
i guess in my experience most newbs tend to become married to lines they've laid down to early.
where as treatment of drawing as something more fluid ...the way beginning painters approach quick figure studies in oil..would actually be more beneficial.
i found i learned the most about how to evoke form and motion from quick oil studies...and when i returned to graphite..my work was far more accurate and
i guess im advocating the quick charcoal study aesthetic, but realizing that
it needn't be done strictly with charcoal...imagine if you could erase charcoal the way you can digitally..back to pure white paper....you can!
the beginners misuses of the tortillion are due to the tool's rarity. in my opinion
its a bit esoteric. most are never taught how to use it...or more importantly when to stop.
they only learn it from other beginners.
if oil paint or the digital media we use has taught us anything its that the the image can be reworked and re thought infinitely. (when using the correct paper in the case of graphite)
i encourage every one to at least attempt the painting aproach to graphite.
before dismissing it....volume and movement are missing from alot of pro-art these days,
and i believe this is because we all begin drawing thinking primarily about line.
line is king...and im beginning to question the validity of that assumption.
sorry this is so scattered...
Last edited by kingshaj; October 7th, 2007 at 03:32 PM.
(scored to an IVAN MAXIMOV Classic animated short )
I know what you mean about line-loving. I always made it a point that if There was some problem in a sketch of mine, instead of free tranforming or warping or skewing it and trying to make it look right, I erase and redraw the whole thing, otherwise it just looks plain wrong.
Sweetoblivion, again, I was talking about the beginner using smudging...
I think we are arguing about nothing; I'm pretty sure we are all in agreeement here just trying to state it differently..
I think using a tortillian, or a blending paper stump is fine as long as it's not a crutch. There are some artists out there who cannot blend without the use of a tortillian, and for them, I don't think it's wise to keep using any "smudge/smear" techniques. Once you can shade with crosshatching, and once you can shade by using different pressures with different pencils, then, in my opinion, its fine to use a tool that helps you take a "shortcut". You do have to watch though because if you use a blending tool, you need to keep control of the values. You dont want a muddy drawing.
--edit-- PS, Andymania, that drawing is absolutely amazing, but the big white square in the background to me is reading as a bright light source. I know it isn't because the values on the drawing itself are a very strong indicator of where the light really is. The white in the background just seems extremely bright.
Last edited by hitnrun; December 16th, 2009 at 11:24 AM.
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The usual staples for anatomy:
I will also add that carelessly drawing fast, smudging being a fast way to do things, can lead to bad habits and bad results. I spent the whole of last year doing large charcoal drawings of casts at a place where the teachers urged me to use various gestures and techniques as well as being more abstract and fast, to try and get an interesting look, similar to speedpainting.
The problem was that amoungst all students there was no consistancy with the quality and beauty of the drawing. I on the otherhand, subconsiously, retaned some of my 'illustrative' self, trying to get a tight drawing and make things more 'beautiful' as is my natural tendency. Some times it worked other times it was a confusing result. The problem is that I got a bad habit out of it, I oversmudged the charcoal as a way to build up smooth tone (they scorned hatching and controlling the charcoal in big chucks proved hard for me) and I got the bad habit of moving too fast. Now, I am outta there and trying to unlearn the bad habits I aquired while trying to keep whatever good things I learned.
Bottom line, don't use smudging too much, make sure you can do things as you want them when you want them with the tool you are using, and you can experiment or study a specific technique later on, when you're more confident.
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