“Village Speed Limit” – Start like this…
Drawing skills don’t just come without practice. Just like anything else, any skill or any desire when you start you’re not as good as you will become if you practice. I’ve always loved to draw and I started at the beginning, which means picking up a pencil and grabbing some paper and making that first mark. I don’t remember it being any big deal but I knew that drawing was something I enjoyed doing. That was a long time ago but still I know that drawing or painting or just doing anything creative is something I enjoy doing.
When I was a kid I remember pulling out the Encyclopedia Brittanica “H” volume. Now for those of you who are not as aged as myself I’ll explain that back in the old days each family might purchase their own encyclopedia set for the whole family to use as a resource for learning and homework and such. While we were not a rich family by any means my parents made the substantial purchase, which was a big deal….
Anyway… in our Encyclopedia Brittanica Volume “H” I could find a few photographs and illustrations of horses. I’ve always loved horses and yearned to own a horse of my own. Without any ready horse models available to me I would study those photographs and illustrations and then with pencil in hand and a blank sheet of paper I would draw horses… over and over again. I always had a particular problem drawing the horse’s hooves and never practiced enough to get it right. Now I know if you push and practice sometimes you get it just right. I also know that if you push and practice you don’t always get it right but you might and that’s why you keep at it. That’s why you don’t give up trying. The test is whether, in spite of many unsuccessful attempts, you will pick up that pencil, drag out that paper and try again.
“Village Speed Limit” Graphite on Bristol
So anyway… let me get back to this drawing entitled “Rural Delivery.” This drawing is a piece I started while sitting at one of my art shows. The nice thing about drawing is the supplies are easy to pack and take with you. A small sketchbook, a few pencils (or lots), blending tool (or your finger) and an eraser (essential) is all really you need. Of course, there are lots and lots of accessories you can purchase but you really only need your desire, paper, pencil and eraser to get going.
My style with pencil and watercolor is a building up or layering process. After starting with a light and loose sketch in this case I began laying in my middle values. Many times I will start with a layer using an “H” or hard pencil and apply over that a layer using a “B” or soft pencil. Your “H” series pencils are hard and will not bring you your darkest darks. That’s what the “B” series pencils will do. The higher the number the darker value you will achieve. So for example a 2B will not be as dark when applied as your 6B.
One important thing to remember is to move forward with patience while observing and adjusting where necessary. I used a photo reference for this drawing and sometimes I will change things a little in order to strengthen the composition and design. Other times there’s no need to change much and still other times if you’re doing a specific drawing for someone you cannot change things. But you get the idea… don’t be a slave to the photograph if you don’t need to be. Strengthen values, use texture and line to bring the viewer where you want them to go.