Above: Dick, sketched from life using a non-photo blue pencil, on an 8 x 8 inch page in the Seawhite journal. The writing at the bottom reads "Caran D'Ache Sketcher, non-photo blue; 6.12.16, 5 min. sketch; Dick standing in kitchen, overhead light and side." There seems to be a piece of lint on the scanner, showing up on the left eye (our right). Click on the image to view an enlargement.
My all time favorite sketch of Dick. I was able to get the proportions on both sides of his face, and well everything else just sort of worked.
This is from early June. I'd hoped to write more about this commercially bound journal, in fact a long-time reader wrote asking about it because he thought he'd missed the review. Nope. Lots cropped up this week and while I normally have two weeks of blog posts lined up and ready to go I found instead I was looking at a lot of larger topic posts that haven't yet gelled in my harried head.
Let's not worry about all that right now, let's look instead at why I've been sketching with blue pencil more and more the past few months? Click on the image to view an enlargement and then look at the sides of the face where the ears are. There you'll see my early strokes as I feel around for the shape of his head. (This was a very quick sketch and it all fell quickly into place.)
I like a couple things about the blue pencil. (I'm using the Caran D'Ache Non-Photo Blue pencil shown in this video. I am not erasing it; have never; so I can't tell you how that goes.) I find that despite its light value I can get some darks down that clearly create demarcations. The pencil goes on smoothly and I can lay even gradations down if I want to (though I didn't try that here). It just seems uncluttered to me. Those areas with exploratory lines don't compete with the main lines in the same way that graphite sometimes seems to compete with itself. At least that's what I think today.
I don't ink these drawings afterwards like the artist in the short video I've linked does with his drawings. I just draw them in non-photo blue and move on. (Non-photo blue pencils however have always been used as shown in the short video, and also for marking up on layouts that are photographically shot before making printing plates. That was always my main use of the non-photo blue pencil. [It's also called non-repro blue for non-reproduction, meaning it doesn't show up when reproducing it photographically]. I still like to use this type of pencil when I'm laying out my zines which get produced using a toner photocopier—as the copier doesn't see the blue. Digital reproduction and scanning, depending on how you're set up, will capture these lines.)
Sometimes on the scans I have to adjust the levels in order for the drawings to be dark enough to show up digitally, while they look quite clear to me the way they are in person. The scans shown in this post were not darkened digitally.
I think for me getting the brow at this angle really helped me sight on, and place and size, the features. I was also working without my glasses. When I saw Dick standing there in the kitching just turning to go to bed I knew I had to sketch him. And I knew I had to be fast.
Grabbing this pencil allowed me to work softly and quickly without worrying about clogging the page with a lot of heavier and heavier ink lines.
Whatever you pick up this weekend to sketch with, I hope you get some great sketches in your journal. You might even want to take off your glasses!
(I'll probably write that review of this journal in a couple weeks when I've tested more materials in it.)