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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Blending graphite sketches with a stump

This is one of the quick little videos I did for my Quick Sketching mini-classes--I haven't had time to do much in the way of new videos lately, so I decided to make this one public. (And oops, no idea how to make it fit the blog, sorry...)

This is a fun technique that David Rankin often demonstrates.  You can see lots more in his book, Fast Sketching Techniques, and if you're on Facebook, you can find him HERE.

Thank you, David, for letting us share your work!

I've used a similar technique for much more complex drawings like the one of my sweetie in Revolutionary War garb, above, and botanical artists have drawn with graphite dust for generations. Blending, softening, lifting and even adding value with a stump or tortillon makes for some wonderfully versatile effects.  Give it a try!


  1. Thanks, Cathy. Always wonderful to learn from your videos. I love the way a blank page grows and brings joy when you touch it with pencil and start sketching. Good idea to pick up more graphite from the sand paper. I hadn't thought of that.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, Kay! And yes, that's a fun technique...give it a try!

  3. Cathy, this portrait of your "sweetie" is fantastic! Beautiful work!

  4. That looks exactly like my own black and white cat, also called Pepi, so I shall be trying this technique out next time he poses for me! Thank you!

  5. Dear Cathy, concerning the video size: Once you click on the "embedding" button on youtube, you'll see code -- iframe width="425" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2nib-m62aPs" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe -- or even a menue, where you can select the size. you can change the "width/height" to any size you wish.

    Besides that, and much more important: Thanks again for such an inspiring and beautiful video!

  6. Thank you for interesting demo, love to see your videos! Portrait of Joseph is wonderful.

  7. Thanks, all, and Julie, thanks for the tip! How do you reset those parameters so the proportion stays the same? Where I clicked the embedding, it ONLY gave me the code, nothing else, but of course when I cut and pasted it into the .html here there was the whole thing, I just didn't know what to tweak, or how.

  8. Cathy that's wonderful, thank you! I've used stumps, but never like that, and I'm off to get a sandpaper block now! Wonderful portrait of your husband - but all your work is fantastic!

  9. Enjoy! And let us see what you do, all right?

  10. Cathy, the proportions are ... rocket science! (Being a specialist for languages makes me a complete idiot in anything with numbers. I always try until it looks good ;-)

  11. Love it! Have to try this technique.
    Kitties are so adorable, aren't them? XD
    I just don't know how to draw my siamese girl accurately since her face is too black... I still have difficulties in the highlights, fur and stuff like that. =P


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