Thursday, July 25, 2013

Art Basics: Pencils - Good old yellow #2

If you can write your name you can learn to draw. To create an artistic drawing half the battle is understanding how to use the tools. Pencils are the most basic of all art tools. They are great for quick sketches and base drawings. They are also essential in learning how to create value (a range of light to dark) on an object to give it form. They are erasable and easy to blend. You can buy expensive pencils or just some good old yellow #2's. For these exercises just dig through your junk drawer and sharpen them up.

Rule #1 - Keep your pencils sharp.  I always sharpen 2-3 pencils so I don't have to stop when the creativity's flowing.
Rule #2 - Invest in a white eraser.  The pink ones on the end of the pencil can smear.
Rule # 3 - Remember there are 2 ways to draw with a pencil - with the tip and with the side.

Using the tip
A very sharp pencil can give you a precise line that is great for drawing the shape of an object.  The tip can also be used for:
cross hatching
--Hatching - lines drawn close to each other
--Cross-hatching - lines drawn close to each other overlapped in more than one direction. 


 --Stippling - dots placed close together for darker areas and further apart for lighter.

                                      Blending Pencils

Using the side of the pencil gives you a blend of graphite.  Create a value scale from dark to light.  As you blend your pencil marks put less pressure as you get to the lighter side.  To make an even darker area add more strokes from the opposite direction. 

 Now try it on a circle.  Decide where the light source is and leave that the lightest area.  Use a white eraser to brighten up white areas

Now try drawing an everyday object like a piece of fruit.  Start with blending then try creating value using the tip. I'd love to read your comments and see your results!


  1. Great lesson!! I'm a horrible drawer but my son is good and this gave me some great ideas for teaching him. Thanks.

    1. Enjoy drawing with your son. It's never too late to learn!

  2. Great post Karen. I like how you broke down the different techniques of drawing with pencil. You can have fun and be creative while keeping it simple. I will be sure to try your techniques when I have a bit more time. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Just take 15 minutes a day - you can improve your techniques!

  3. Fantastic lesson. May I link my blog to yours on one of my posts. You have such good ideas about creativity. I hope you got one of my notes that said how you got me started on the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Thank you so much. I'm so glad we took those classes from you.


      Thanks Carol - I'm glad you found the UBC!

      You should link your "Carl's" painting to my post about Ice Cream Dreams.

      I look forward to reading more of your posts.