How to Avoid Overworking a Pencil Drawing

By: Kelli Swan

How to Avoid Overworking a Pencil Drawing

When is a Drawing (or a Painting) Done?

Many of us have struggled with that question. We throw ourselves into the creation process, the inspired image fresh on our minds, only to end up overworking a drawing until it looks like mud! How does one decide when to stop drawing? When is a pencil drawing truly complete?

Speaking as one who has over-worked several drawings, I have come up with a number of tricks that help me reach for this fixative spray at just the right point.

The first thing I do is to stop drawing when I feel the piece is 90% complete... or when I know I still have more to do but it is almost done. I then walk away from the drawing for several days so that I can see it with fresh eyes later.

When I come back the the drawing table, I take the artwork and tape it to a door or wall and view it from a distance. I leave it there for another day or two and let my new impressions & inspirations sink in. Most of the time, I know at this point exactly what I want to do to finish the piece.

If I am still questioning myself, I hold the drawing up to a mirror and view it in "reverse." This offers a completely new perspective, and I nearly always clearly see anything that has been bothering me about the drawing. Occasionally I will take a digital picture of the artwork and view it on a computer screen. It's amazing what a different view of the art will reveal.

Pencil Artist David Horne says "When you start looking for things to do in a piece of work that is normally when its done." I think this is a wonderful quote, and I know it will help me with future pencil drawings. And pencil artist Clive Meredith shares "I tend to know that a drawing is finished when the image on paper matches the one in my mind."... another wonderful thought!

Pencil drawing is a very soothing art form, requiring many hours of dedication in peace & quiet. It can be so easy to become lost in creating detail, that we become trapped in that detail, losing site of the desired result. I hope the above tips will help you to create your perfect drawing in pencil!

About the Author:
Artist and Graphic Designer Kelli Swan specializes in black and white pencil drawing and search marketing: Kelli's Pencil Drawings, Design SEO SMM.


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