Media of the Month

April 2022- Pencil

I’ve been dithering about which media to pick for this month and have been aware that so far I have gone for colour. This is because during the dark days of winter I tend to hibernate and go out little. I’ve been cheering myself up by using colour rather than turning to sombre tones this year.

I’ve noticed too that I’ve become more fascinated by the act of mark making and less inclined toward doing any finished works. Last year I got frustrated whenever I didn’t complete a piece, whereas this year it has become unimportant to do so.

Most recently I’ve been experimenting more with watercolours but on this wet April morning, it has come down to a choice between ink and pencil, and have decided upon deferring watercolour to a month which is more likely to have finer weather for some Plein air studies. I did quite a few ink drawings last year so pencil it is as I hope it will improve my drawing skills. And it’s just graphite grey pencils I’ll be exploring this month as I’ll save watercolour pencils for another month.

The key thing to remember about pencils is you have a full range of tone to use. You can simply use a propelling pencil or a range or pencils to go from the palest of grey’s to the darkest of blacks. Pencils are graded accordingly from H indicating hardness and pale greys to the B range which are the softest but give the blackest tones. In the middle is HB but few artists start with that preferring a 2B at least. Usually it is technical drawers that prefer the H range. Remember you never have to stick with the same pencil while sketching but I did with my doodle sketchbook from 2000 where I only used my propelling pencil to explore mark making. See below.