Key Steps in Illustration: Exploring Drawing and Painting

The next exercise asked to create a sketchbook with different papers, and use various matierals to try out on them. I put together some papers like newspaper, heavy watercolour paper, gift wrap, transparent paper, and others. I then used several pens, pencils and graphite as well as ink (with a very simple motif: a piece of cake) to try out how the different matierals work on the papers’ textures. I also tried out a few of the suggested ways of using pencils, but I feel that I want to try this out more when working on an actual piece of work.

What I found is that I have to choose the materials depending on the papers I want to work with, as some papers for example kind of “swollow” pencils, or on others, ink bleed out.


Frankly I struggle with exercises like this somewhat because I feel bored and uninspired. I much rather prefer working on this as time goes by once in a while than only dedicating a few hours to this task. I am aware that it is part of the studies to try out and explore new things, but I much rather work on a real piece of work in combination with discovering new materials.

I also researched a few tips for choosing the right paper for different materials, like graphite,  watercolours, ink or pencil, and learn about the different surfaces and what effects they might have (see here and here and here). The first article also presents the different shading techniques like hatching, stamping, crosshatching, and stippling. So far I think I’ve used the different versions more naturally without knowing why or what they were. I will get back to trying to create a new illustration only using these methods.

As the Thought.Co article states, it might take some time to find the right materials, and the last few times I went to buy new art supplies, I also added something to the cart that I have not used before, e.g. new papers or a new tool for a specific technique. For instance, I bought some linocut equipment to give this a new try. Earlier this year, I did a weekend class for printing techniques that don’t involve a printing press, and this was only a very brief part of the course, so I thought I might want to explore this a bit further this winter.

I eventually went back to this exercise and tried out several shading techniques, described in the course book. Rapidfireart explains different ways how to create shades. I drew several pieces of cake using graphite and pencil, and different techniques like stomping, (cross-)hatching and smudging the graphite. I also tried to hold the pencil in different angles and see how the results changed. Overall I think that the technique should probably vary in terms of what overall look I want to achieve. The sketches with hatching/crosshatching have a rather quick and unfinished touch, while especially the ones where I smudged the pencil look more smooth and a lot more finished.


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