Welcome to post #001 of "Rendering Realistic Graphite Portraits"
Chapter 1 description
Chapter 1 covers the basics. We define the language used in the rest of the book, and also as much as possible in the same way as specialist graphite artists do so from around the world. Once we have a language to use, it makes the tutorials and descriptions more precise and easy to follow. Please make sure you understand the terms used. The contents and index are both very comprehensive so that you can read any section and look up terms as required. There is no need to read this book from start to finish. The language used is pitched at the mature student and adult reader.
In Chapter 1, we also itemize and describe various tools. In some ways, this is an extension of the language used, but the terms refer to tangible things.
Chapter 1 The Basics.
I am going to assume that you want to start from scratch. Therefore, we will discuss the tools, media and techniques which are most basic for graphite drawing. A sketch is a preparatory task. A drawing is a finished piece; but a work of art is something much more. It is my intention to slowly build theory and technique and practice so that you can work from basics to eventually compose and execute a work of art.
This book is very focused. There are many books which illustrate art and technique in a variety of mediums, but few which focus exclusively on highly detailed and finished works entirely in graphite and charcoal. You can also use many of the techniques presented here with chalk, coloured pencils and tinted paper but this book will only discuss graphite and charcoal on white paper.
The old masters often used charcoal as a preparatory medium. These works were not intended to last long. Charcoal is charred wood, so it was cheap. It is still cheap, and it produces wonderful deep darks without shine; but it smudges easily. It was also used as a sketch on a canvas which was painted over. Today, we have plastic. A type of plastic called Acrylic is available in a spray called fixative. This fixative is supplied by art-shops in a spray can. The fixative may be used over charcoal or graphite to make it stick harder to the paper and reduce the chance of smudging. You may also frame your works behind glass. Later in this book you will find instructions on presenting and protecting your works. Today, there is a slow but growing interest in finished graphite and charcoal works. You will still find however, that colour paintings are very popular. Colour helps to finish the decor in a room where the rest of the furnishings and walls are neutral colours. Where you find impressive colour already on the walls, black and white drawings and photographs have a lot of impact. If there is a trend towards more colourful walls in homes and offices, then graphite works will be more marketable than they have been in the latter part of the 20th century.
(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.