Art Lessons with Lianne

Art Box 


If you are starting to get serious about your artwork, no matter what age, you may also be starting to get serious about the materials that you use. We’ll start off with the most obvious essential – quality drawing pencils. When it comes to drawing pencils, each artist will find a brand that they connect with. There’s no way to know which brand will become your favorite until you try a few. Choose a set that includes the full spectrum of graphite grades. Many sets include pencils with harder graphite (9H) through softer graphite (9B).  Harder graphite makes lighter marks and keeps a sharp tip longer, while softer graphite makes a darker mark, but needs constant resharpening. These sets give the artist the ability to work with many different values and varieties of mark.   I personally use Derwent graphite pencils, they are consistent in their quality and is the brand I recommend.



Mechanical pencils allows you to make marks with much greater precision than with ordinary wooden ones. That's because you will have a consistently sharp point. I use mechanical pencils when precision lines are required. The result is that your work will look cleaner, smarter and more accurate… the best part is that they’re inexpensive, and sold by the dozen. Like traditional drawing pencils, mechanical-pencil leads vary in hardness from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest) and a variety of widths…I tend to use 3 mechanical pencils… 0.3mm and 0.5mm with HB, 2B and 4B leads 


The kind of paper you choose is without a doubt is the most important decision you need to make. It will have the biggest impact on the quality of your end result. Different artists prefer different styles of paper depending on the end result they are looking for. my personal preference is for Windsor and Newton's Bristol Board in smooth.  Bristol board is a Smooth tooth paper that is heavy like card and very resilient. This paper is quite rigid and there is little to no tooth making it excellent for creating smooth gradations of value or detailed line work. When I was starting out in art I used A4 size, but I never draw smaller than A3 these days. the larger the paper the more photorealism you can achieve due to the amount of detail you can fit in.




Erasers Erasers aren't just for mistakes… they are an essential part of creating detail, fine lines, negative space and texture. Erasers can be a great mark-making tool as well. Each eraser creates a different mark and you should be armed with a multitude of different types Here are a few recommended erasers…


Rubber Eraser – Your standard eraser for erasing graphite.  This eraser uses friction to remove any material from the surface and is great for correcting errors. 



Kneaded Eraser – This eraser lifts material from the surface, instead of using friction to remove it.  It can be pulled and fashioned into different forms to create specific marks.  This eraser gets dirty over time, but can be cleaned by pulling and “kneading” it. It is one of the most important erasers and the one i use the most.


Electric erasers These battery driven Electric Erasers have a spinning head and are very useful when you need to erase just a small area with accuracy which may be difficult using a normal eraser.


Eraser pens and refills.  A very thin eraser that can be used similar to a pencil and allows a clear view of the paper. Perfect for negative drawing of hairs and skin texture




Powdered graphite is the same graphite that pencil leads are made of, only ground into fine powder. You can “paint” it on paper with brushes to make watercolor-like “wash” effects, smooth textures, and cloudy backgrounds. It is perfect time saving tool for large areas, i apply to these areas using a cotton wool pad... It and can be used wet or with solvent to get really dark values. It is very messy though so be careful with how you use it.




Cotton blends graphite very well, and I have always preferred using cotton to any other tool. I use cotton wool pads for large area and Qtips where I need to blend finely… Qips take skin textures to a whole new level of smoothness! It also allows extremely subtle tonal values gradation. I use them in a circular motion very similar to how i use my pencils for shading. see my tutorial on Circulism.  Never ever us your finger to blend... the natural oils in your skin will absorb into the paper muddying where you lay graphite. Cotton wool pads and Qtips can be found in any drug store and are inexpensive.



Blending stumps are another blending tool. They are great for the artist wanting to smudge or move material around on the surface.  A blending stump allows the artist to create gradations in value without introducing the oils of the finger (through finger smudging) which can make a drawing look dirty or uncontrolled. Blending stumps also allow the artist to create gradations and smooth applications of value in areas of detail that may be hard to  get to with a Qtip... They come in a variety of sizes and can be sharpened with sand paper.

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