Tyson 002Blog

Graphite Pencil on A4 Heavyweight Cartridge Paper

Hello again readers, I thought I’d let you have a peek at the commission which got in the way of my little bee and left it sitting wet but as yet unfinished on its wet flower.

This was somebody’s much loved pet until he sadly and suddenly passed away after a brief illness. There is always just the extra bit of pressure in jobs where the subject is no longer alive, to get it exactly and absolutely right to do justice to their memory. And, of course, there is a limited supply of photographs, which can be a bit of a problem at times if they lack sufficient quality for drawing.

This was not the case with this one though, there were a number of excellent pictures to choose from, supplied digitally, which I like as I can easily manipulate and enlarge them as needed.

I decided to jump into the deep end for once. You see, I usually use a large scale grid system to transfer the outline and major features from the photograph to my paper.  The reference photograph would usually be divided into sixteen squares or rectangles which would then be enlarged or reduced to the appropriate size to fit the subject on to the selected paper. A lot of artists who use this system will work with a much finer grid to make the transfer easier and more accurate, but personally I found having to get rid of or hide so many lines in my drawing to be too annoying to bother. For the same reason I don’t draw a full grid on my paper, either, but I simply mark the points where the lines cross with dots. I can live with having to make them disappear.

Well, to cut a long story short, I did not use a grid in this drawing. A bit of a personal challenge, really, as when you use grids all the time you come to rely on them and I wanted to ensure I was actually able to do without. Turns out I found the procedure incredibly stress free and I think I even got the proportions right, too.

The other thing I did differently from usual was to use a wider range of pencils instead of my trusted 2B mechanical pencil. Now that was a challenge and I have yet to get to grips with this. I love the ability to achieve better contrasts and dark shades by using the very soft pencils, but found the softest of them, the 8B, to have a different, very matte, appearance compared to the rest. I am not sure I like mixing matte and shiny.

I was not particularly experimental with the paper, with it being a commission, it is a heavy weight Daler Rowney (220g/m²) drawing paper, so other than that it is heavier than what I normally use, it has a similar tooth to it. This became quite apparent during the drawing process but it didn’t present much of a problem.

 All in all I am chuffed with the way this turned out and so is the client I am pleased to report. I hope you like it, too.


10 thoughts on “Tyson

  1. Interesting you used a grid – when I drew as a teenager that is how I did business too – I would be interested how long did it take from start to finish?

    • Scott, I normally use grids, but I didn’t for this one and found it quite liberating. However, I will still use grids in most, particularly in complex drawings as it is preferable to having to make corrections continually as you go on because something or other isn’t right. Since I am not nearly as perfect as everyone thinks. It also ensures that I fit the drawing centred onto the size of paper that has been chosen. Tbh I couldn’t really tell you how long this took, because of our lifestyle there are lots of stops and starts and no matter how much I try to keep track of the time used, I always loose it in the end. If you want I can run a stop watch on my next one, but they are all different anyway. Dark animals will take longer than white ones for example. If I had to take a wild guess, 24 hours maybe.

  2. I love this Sonja! It is beautiful. I am continually amazed by your talent, Thanks for sharing your work and the details about your process.

    • Hi Nicole, funny that, I never think of drawing as anything that special. Wasn’t sure either about the write-up with all those details, but I guess people have the option of not reading if it is too much bother 😉 Glad you like the drawing xx

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