Wednesday, January 23, 2013


About 4 hours at the drawing board today. So, what have I been doing? Well, in addition to working new, as yet untouched areas, I've been going back over previously worked spots and adding more depth with deeper darks (HB, B, the occasional 2B) and sharpening up the contrasts between light areas and dark to help to move things forward and back. It seems that I am working the perimeter of the piece as opposed to moving across or top to bottom as I sometimes do. Well, I figured I would try and get all the hard work done first before moving into the easier areas (Are there really any easier areas in this one? Yep.). So, I will continue to concentrate on the outer areas and slowly work my way into the interior. I suppose the birds might wind up being the very last areas to be done and since they are to be the focus of the work, I'll save the best for last!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please explain how you achieve such darks with HB, B and 2B. As for the previous image/post, why and how do you 'transfer' a sketch to your final work surface?

Thank you!

Terry Miller said...

Hello Anonymous -

How do I achieve such darks with HB, B and 2B? As I've noted in previous posts, my technique with graphite is similar to that of a painter who uses glazes of color to achieve depth. If you go back through the archives, there are any number of postings where I've talked about how I layer to achieve a dark area rather than going in right off and setting a strong dark with a soft lead. That way, I can control the overall balance of a work by moving around it and constantly tinkering to add the needed level of dark I want.

Starting out, usually, with an overall tone of 2H or 3H, I will then go over that with a layer of H or F, then a layer of HB or H again which continues the darkening process. B or a softer lead is used to pull out the real strong dark and sometimes I go as soft as 4B depending on the piece, usually saving it for the final fifteen or twenty minutes on a work just tightening up and making sharp distinctions between light and dark areas to help define the point of separation.

As to the question of how and why I transfer a sketch to the Bristol Board . . . once I have the final idea worked out in sketch form, usually a bit smaller than the actual size of a finished piece, I will grid it out and then, through a larger grid on a piece of tracing paper, transfer the simple line drawing of the composition to the larger, full size 'cartoon' to be able to transfer it to the Bristol. That is achieved by turning the paper over and duplicating the lines on the back with an HB lead so that when it is turned right side up on the Bristol, I can then go over those lines again, lightly, and that will transfer the simple outline drawing onto the Bristol for me to use as my guide when beginning the work.

Hope this answers your query.

TM