So, yesterday's work time was pretty much occupied with filling in that right hand side with a soft tone and trying to get some variation in it as I worked. Might be hard to distinguish from the photo, shot on the drawing board this morning before I sit down to work today, but I wanted there to be a slight gradation from top to bottom, with some stronger dark on the top gradually softening up as it moved 'south'. At first, in my original sketch out of the piece, I had thought it would have a fully delineated background, though rather dark and nondescript so as not to detract from the focus on the cattle, but in the process of beginning work yesterday, I decided I would much rather see a very 'negative' background giving the complete focus on the cattle and so that is what I did.
In this next shot, you can see the three main pencils that I used to establish that varying grey tonality, on the left a rounded point H wood encased pencil, in the center a lead holder with a 2H very sharp point tip to it and on the right a blunt tipped 4H. Basically, these three grades of graphite made up the majority of that overall tone through a series of hatching - both horizontal and vertical as well as angular in both directions - overlayered with lots of circular movement of the pencils to soften and blend the tone. I've mentioned before that I work on a slightly textured Bristol board, so I am basically just brushing the upper surfaces of the texture with the pencils, constantly building up the tone till I get it to where I want it; this accomplished by mixing the grades over one another in no particular order, but usually starting out with the blunted side of the 4H lead as a base to work from. The reason for the blunt tip on the 4H is so I can use either 'side' of it, either the blunted side or turning the pencil slightly while I am running the point across the surface of the Bristol to expose the sharper tip which gives a narrower, darker stroke. By working with the 4H in that manner, rotating the tip as I work, I can vary the tonal intensity of the strokes with that one grade of graphite. The sharp point on the 2H really acts as a strong blending agent and is what usually is the last layer that is drawn in to combine all the other hatches, squiggles and circles into one, soft, even tone. Sounds like a lot of work . . . well, it is! But that is the way I have learned how to use the medium and I like the end result.
In this last shot, I hope you can see some of the beginnings of the hatching and circular strokes as I began to build up that area.