It is always A Good Idea to compare different methods of creating a drawing. In the drawing classes on Friday at Ardleigh House we had a sitter join the group, Rachel. She was a very animated and relaxed sitter and easily joined in with various conversations regarding art and related topics in the classroom. The question I asked all the learners in the classes was “have we got a likeness of Rachel?”. Most learners had, and they all had their own interpretation of Rachel. We were initially going to complete a gestural drawing but for our purposes that would not have resulted in a clear sketch so line drawing was the chosen method. Line drawings often form the basis of what I term studies, drawings that have line, form and shade, which take some time to complete. You can see from my drawing all the lines I used, no shading, but varying values of different graphite pencils from a H to a range of B pencils (2-7).

For the grisaille drawing we had a sample from an old instruction book. Grisailles are drawn in grey colours and the object is to make them look like a sculpture. This was a very nice exercise to complete and the process was: draw a soft pencil pressure line down the middle of your intended scale of shape (I generally do an amount of measuring for scaling up) – use a hard pencil, then draw the lines of the overall shape. The line drawing is crucial part of this drawing: take your time in measuring the features. The ear is a focal point of this drawing so take your time in getting the shape and lines correct as they will be your guidelines for your form and shading. Scale wise: ensure the head and the base of the “sculpture” balance; do not make the base too small.

I then take a photo on my phone of the overall image: this takes the place of a thumbnail sketch for me, where you can easily see with a smaller image of your drawing if you have any incorrect shapes.

Now start making form by shading. Use a range of B pencils, working from the hardest B (1) and use the softest ones for the darkest shades. I used a paper stump (a blending stump made of rolled paper) to blend the graphite into the paper. You can use your fingertip but I found the paper stump was a much better tool to use in the particular drawing.