Hello again creative tribe! I am bringing it back to basics for this post. I recently got my hands on a set of water-soluble graphite pencils by Faber-Castell. There are five pencils and a paintbrush included. The five pencils range in hardness from HB (like a regular #2 pencil) up to 8B (soft and dark). They are divine to work with.
A little history....back in college my go to art supplies were pencils, charcoal and pens. I loved to doodle and sketch. I would get lost in the details of a composition and spend lots of time adding textures and shadows. I drew a lot of faces. Mostly self portraits but also funky ones from my imagination. Faces are endlessly fascinating to me with all their variations. Even though I like to play with mixed media I tend to take a break and just draw. I keep it simple, keep it monochromatic and let the magic happen.
For this little face I started in my Dylusions art journal on a page that I had previously gessoed. (Just a light layer applied with an old key card.) You can use these pencils on an un-gessoed surface but I like the extra workability I get from the gesso base.
Loosely sketching with the HB pencil I establish the head shape. Sometimes I start my faces with the nose and go out from there but this time I started with a U shape for the face. Once all the features were to my liking I took a softer pencil like the 2B or the 4B and put the shadows in. Grabbing a wet paintbrush or even a Koi Water Brush I painted over my lines and watched as the graphite began to blend and darken. I was able to pull out more shadows and create some really beautiful shades of gray.
While the surface was still wet I went back in with the 8B pencil and drew right on the wet paper. What a dark smooth line it made! The pencil line even bled a little into the wet paper. My little texture-lovin' heart went pitter pat at all the different ways I could create texture with just a few pencils, a brush and a cup o' water.
When my drawing was dry I used the 6B pencil and added more shadows around the face. I did not add water this time as I liked how the texture of the paper made such a nice complement to the smooth texture made by adding water.
I hope if you have not yet tried water-soluble drawing pencils that you take a leap and go for it. Keep it simple and just play. Get lost in the details and experiment with textures and shadows. Layer the graphite and watch the magic happen.
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