A rounded and smooth point on a hard pencil produces a light but consistent mark on the paper. If you use this over the top of other layers of graphite, and make it cover the whole area consistently, then we call it a glaze. It has the effect of filling in little gaps and inconsistencies. It is this which often elevates a good drawing into something which becomes very curious to look at because it no longer looks like raw pencil marks. It fills all the tooth on the paper, leaving no stark white dots. It is often this step which makes a good pencil portrait look to some people like a photograph.
1.2.43 Oils (In skin)
Try to avoid touching the paper at any time. Some techniques will cause finger prints and oily smudges to give an inconsistent result. Some areas of your drawing will suffer if you don't have perfect control over the values. For example, a smooth cheek won't look good if an oily finger print causes the graphite to be darker in one area. Other areas are not so sensitive - like the foliage of a tree, or an area in the hair. Graphite dust acts like a finger-print detector as the fine particles stick to the oils.
Embossing is a very interesting and sometimes extremely useful technique for preserving fine highlights. A good example is dark hair where there are numerous small hairs which reflect light. An embossing tool could be a knitting-needle type metal point. You need it fine but smooth. The idea is to compress the tooth of the paper so that subsequent layers won't fill the compressed area. It shines through to produce convincing highlights. You can apply this technique before any graphite is laid down, or after one or more layers. Applying the technique after multiple layers will give you half-tone highlights.
Burnishing is to rub a surface with a hard smooth object - like the back of a spoon. It will not scratch the surface, but it will change it. To experiment with burnishing, take a sample of paper, and a teaspoon. Burnish an area, then apply different strokes and grades of pencil to the burnished, and non-burnished areas. Try to get a feel for how this affects the area. Recall this in future in case it produces an effect or texture that you find difficult to obtain otherwise. It could work well with techniques involving graphite dust.
(C) Jeremy Lee 2010, all rights reserved.
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spOOk's art is owned by Jeremy. He has practiced drawing and painting for about 40 years, and might get good at it one day. spOOk's art is focused on graphite portraits.