Custom Graphite Drawing Technique

By: Derek Wicks

Custom Graphite Drawing Technique

So many people have asked me about how I do my graphite wash technique for original graphite drawings. The technique I use gives the drawing a unique one of a kind look. Here is the process i use to achieve the look.

First, I like a cold press illustration board with medium tooth, I want a little texture. Texture is very important, if the board is to smooth you will have no tooth to grab the washes as you make your stokes. Smooth boards will only come out washy and not create much wanted texture. The board must also be double thick as it can handle allot of water without bowing, this is very important. A single thick standard board will only bow and crack as you apply additional layers of wash.

Second, I grade up a 2B Water soluble graphite pencil and let it soak and break down for a day or two in a plastic or ceramic dish. I then soak the board with a spritzer bottle so that the whole surface is wet but not drenched. I then add in some of the water soluble mixture to the board. I try to make as random a pattern as i can. I then allow the mixture to dry for several days, this is key. Do not try to continue until the board is bone dry or your pencil will tear up the surface. I repeat this process two or three times.

Third, I then start working in HB and 2B graphite shading into the piece creating the shape and form of my subject. The white highlights are removed from the board using custom cut erasing shields to create specific shapes through the use an electric eraser. If need be a new razor blade can remove a layer of board and get you to pure white again for those super white highlights.

The keys to this type of drawing is many thumbnail drawings before I start and allowing the board to dry between stages. Starting to draw in your detail before the board is COMPLETELY dry between stages is a recipe for destruction. Thanks for looking and good luck!

About the Author:
Derek C Wicks is an internationally acclaimed wildlife arts who's work has been use to endorse many conservation efforts and charity's. Derek's credits include 2007 Ducks Unlimited National Artist of the Year and he is named as one of the 60 Masters Of Wildlife Art by Portfolio Press, New York, NY. Derek's Full biography can be viewed at Derek's website.


Graphite or Pencil Drawing Techniques



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