Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Drawing Monkies

The silverpoint drawing I was working on was two Velvet Monkies. I liked the preliminary drawing and didn't want to give up on the concept just because the silverpoint didn't pan out for me. So I decided to do a graphite drawing of the same design. I also decided to use the Golden Silverpoint/Drawing Ground which I liked so much.

For my surface, I began with a piece of Ampersand Gessoboard. I covered the entire board with Golden's light Molding Paste, spreading it on with a long cake knife. I kept working it to get the smoothest possible surface (which was mostly, but not completely, smooth) on the right middle part of the board where the drawing was going to go. I textured the rest in various ways - pulling my fingers through it, using a comb, and squiggling with a shorted spatula. I even pressed the face of a flower into it then pulled it away. What resulted was interesting, but didn't look like a flower, which was OK. I also used a clay modeling tool to add some writing to the left of where the drawing would go. I wrote "ancient knowledge" in ancient Greek - my commentary on the spirit of the monkies.

After the modeling paste dried, I tinted some of the silverpoint ground with acrylic paint and coated the modeling paste. Foolishly, wanting an antique white, I added antique white paint to the silverpoint ground. Of course it took a fair amount of paint to get the color I wanted, and I should obviously have used a much darker paint so that I wouldn't need so much. I think it would have worked out a little better if I had more of the silverpoint ground in the mix.

Anyway, with the board prepared in that way, I carefully transferred my drawing (with the drawing on tracing paper, I went over the lines on the back of the paper with a 2B pencil, then placed the drawing right-side-up on the prepared surface and went over all the lines lightly with a stylus, thus transferring the 2B graphite to the prepared board) and began my drawing with HB and 2B mechanical pencils. The drawing was a little tricky because the surface was not completely firm. The modeling paste leaves a "flexible film" and, since it was thick - 1/16" to over 1/8" in places - it gives with the pressure of the lead point. I had to use a pretty light touch and be careful to not scrape the surface with the pencil point. It all worked pretty well, but I didn't get real darks, even with my 9B Cretacolor Monolith Woodless Pencil. I think the ground would have caught more pencil lead and I could have gone darker - even with a light touch - if I hadn't had diluted its tooth so much with the paint I used to tint it. When I felt almost done, I sprayed the whole piece with Krylon workable fixative. I did just a little more drawing and found that the lead transfers more heavily with the fixative on the surface - increases the tooth, I guess. I'll work on the drawing some more then fix it again. I'm considering light washes of acrylic or watercolor over the parts without the drawing to antique the piece a bit and bring out the texture - especially the lettering. But I don't know how the washes will work over the fixative. I guess I'll have to experiment - YUCK, I hate "practicing!"

By the way, I looked for softer leads for my mechanical pencils but couldn't find anything darker than 3B and 4B, which I found at jetpens.com.

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