Thursday, 9 May 2013

How to draw with different mediums

Learn about different mediums in drawing

In this post I am going to talk a bit more about different drawing mediums.  

By learning about different drawing mediums, you also develop your style.  It is good for an artist to have at least a basic knowledge of all the available mediums out there.  As you experiment with different mediums, you will find out what you like and you might decide you only like one medium and don't want to use any of the rest, that's fine.  That's how you develop your style.  You need to know what you like and what you don't.  

Most beginners never learnt about any other medium but pencil and are stuck in the mindset that pencil is their favorite medium.  I encourage you to have a look at all the mediums I am going to discuss and just try it, you will be surprised that you might like something that you never thought you will.

I am going to discuss five drawing mediums:
  1. Pencil
  2. Graphite
  3. Charcoal
  4. Pen and Ink
  5. Brushes and Ink

Pencil tonal spectrum1.  Pencil

Pencil is the most universal medium and is also a very easy medium to use.  It varies from hard to soft (2H, H, HB, 2B, 4B, 6B etc.), black and varied thickness.  The harder the lead (H, 2H etc.), the lighter the tone delivered.  The softer the lead (2B, 4B etc.), the darker the tone it produces.  Pencil is a medium that is very precise and can be used loosely.  When you draw with pencil you want to use a combination of hard and soft pencils and a varying degree of blackness.  For example, the most commonly used combination of pencils in a drawing is HB (the light tone), 2B (the mid tone and also the most versatile pencil) and a 4B or 6B (the dark or black tone).

Graphite marks2.  Graphite

Graphite is a bit more versatile than pencil and comes in a wooden casing or as a solid stick with a plastic covering around it.  The solid stick of graphite lasts longer because it is more solid and thicker.  You can use the solid stick to draw thick lines or thin lines and also comes in very handy when shading a drawing.  The wooden casing might feel a bit nicer to draw with.  Graphite also varies from hard to very soft and different tones of blackness.

3.  Charcoal

Charcoal marks
Charcoal is my personal favorite medium because of the contrast it creates and also because I find it to be very versatile.  There are different types of charcoal namely compressed charcoal, compressed charcoal sticks and willow charcoal.  Compressed charcoal can be found with a wooden casing, with a plastic covering or as sticks.  It is also mostly used to add finer details into drawings because it can give more refined an precise lines.  Compressed charcoal is used with willow charcoal, which are light sticks that come in varied thickness.  Willow charcoal is excellent for laying down a "base coat" on the drawing surface and to create different tones in the drawing but should always be used with compressed charcoal.  Charcoal is a messier medium and can be used with smudge tools or your fingers to smudge the willow charcoal for shading. A charcoal drawing must also be fixed with a fixative (you can use a colorless hairspray as well) or it can be placed interleaved pieces of paper while transporting your drawing. 

4.  Pen and Ink

You can use push-pens, dip-nibs or fine liners to draw with.  This is a good medium to use with ink to add finer detail to a drawing but can also be used completely on its own.  A dip-nib does not have an ink cartridge and should be used with drawing in, most commonly 'Indian ink' and can be water soluble or permanent.

5. Brushes and Ink

Brushes can be used for washes of tone so I often use it with water soluble or permanent 'Indian ink'.  When you use ink as a wash, remember to dilute the ink with water to get lighter tones.  Start your drawing with very light tones (very diluted ink) and work your way up like with layers by slowly diluting it less until you achieve the tones you want.  

I normally carry a few different brushes with me namely numbers 0/2, 2, 1, 2 and a 6; all of them round and then one flat 6.  I find these brushes make a good mark and are all useful in any ink drawing.

I hope that you will be open to experimenting with all of these drawing mediums before you decide to only stick to one specific medium.  As you play around with different drawing mediums, you will enrich your knowledge of drawing styles and techniques.  I hope that as you learn about these mediums while drawing with them, that you will also learn to control them.