What’s A Pencil?

When I came to sketching I’d been using fountain pens for all of my writing for decades.  It never occurred to me to use anything different to draw stuff.  So I’ve spent years using fountain pens for sketching and rarely have I tried anything else, though I’ve spent a bunch of time with watercolor pencils in museums when watercolors weren’t allowed.  But with the COVID scurge going on I’m doing more experiments.  I’m not sure why, but I think it has to do with me doing more art in isolation rather than going out with friends to sketch some location.

I was at an Artistes dans les parcs event last week.  Even here I’m mostly by myself because the language barrier prevents a lot of interaction between myself and the rest of the participants.  Anyways, I was out on the shore of the St. Lawrence River sizing up some rocks to draw.  For whatever reason I got the idea to draw them with a pencil.  I dug around in my bag and came up with a short hunk of Blackwing 602.  Here’s the result.  Another result of this experiment is the realization that I’ve never learned how to draw with a simple, graphite pencil.

Strathmore 184lb Toned Tan paper, pencil

5 thoughts on “What’s A Pencil?

  1. I already said this on Instagram, but I’ll say it here, too: Yay for graphite! Seriously, though, you have a point about experimenting more because you are sketching more alone. I, too, have been trying different things at my desk because I have more time — time that I would ordinarily spend, you know, doing stuff away from home. Or sketching with my friends. It’s the peak of summer — I would normally be going out sketching with the group at least once a week. Sigh.

    • Thanks for mentioning this, Tina. For a long time I’ve thought about this issue but have never said anything about it on the internet. Maybe now is the time as I suspect that you and I are not the only ones doing “odd” things since being isolated from our normal sketching regimes.

  2. I just signed up for a month-to-month subscription to Art Tutor. Their introductory course has a lot of graphite exercises. I’ve been through it before, watching, but haven’t done all the exercises. This time, I’m going to try to do more of them. I enjoy working with color more, but realize I will get more out of using color if I learn more about using tones!

    • I agree Julana. Further, until we concentrate on learning tone, we can’t see them. I think it’s also the case that most of our approaches cause us to look at outline of objects rather than the 3D form of objects. Once we make that transition, working with color is much easier in my view. Good luck with your art journey.

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