Dark to Light

I discovered for myself a technique I find very useful in pencil drawing. 

After working out the proportions and basic composition of my piece, I transfer it to Bristol board. The transfer is simply the basic shapes that will make up my composition. I'll work out any corrections I can see are needed during this initial stage, though in reality corrections are made all through the process.

Then, I start using my darker pencils on the focal points, which often are the eyes of an animal. The eyes and nose create a triangular area for the viewers eye to begin and end in its journey around the composition. Other elements (such as the raven I'll be putting into this drawing) help the eye to swing around back to the wolf's face.

After my dark marks are made, I use progressively lighter pencils (which are simply harder graphite) to begin blending some of the darker spots in. It's that application of especially the lightest of my pencils that creates a more convincing look to fur. It also de-emphasizes the detail work I don't want in areas that aren't included in the focal point/area. Detailed pencil marks and dark pencil marks go together.

A story is told by the composition. I won't impose it upon you at this early stage -- this drawing is a WIP (work in progress): along with the original sketches and the transfer, this shows the end of one day's work. When the whole thing is done, I hope the story I intended to tell will be readable by the viewer. I'll offer some of what I intended as I created it, but in the end, it's you who will receive it as a story.


© 2020 by Stephen D. Wedan