Saturday, August 25, 2007

Drawing tools

Neda had asked me to share how I did the street scene drawing in the previous post. Since I am so late in responding to her request (sorry Sis!) I will share with you all my drawing tools and techniques (such as they are). As you will see I am not a purist at all. I do not adhere to any rules and frankly do not treat my tools with reverence at all. I use them as the subject compels me to and I don't worry about the rest!

My drawing tools fall into three broad sets: Inks, graphite and chalks.

On the ink side, I really like using regular writing ink because I love wetting it after it dries and using it as a semi wash or to soften edges. I use a home made mix of Skrip yellow and black which gives me a delicious brown that I can't find anywhere else. Here is an example of this ink in action I use 2 pens for this ink. A very old Shaffer pen and an artist Ackerman pen. The Ackerman pen can take drawing nibs and it is a wonderful instrument to use. I actually interviewed the maker of the Ackerman pen a while back with the hope of posting an article about him here, but never got around to it. (sorry Charles).

I also use a set of Faber Castell permanent ink pens. They come in a set of Super fine (S) Fine (F) Medium (M) and Brush (B) They are excellent and a pleasure to use, and I have learned to open them and re-fill them with ink when they dry up. Here is a drawing done using them and a little sepia in the (B) pen after it dried. I also used these for the sketch on the plane in the previous post. I just added a bit of Graphite pencils shading in the sky on that one.

I don't like simple graphite pencils very much, but sometimes they are the only thing at hand and I do use them. I am always disappointed afterwards though, because you really have to use fixative if you want the drawing to remain crisp. What I love to use are the Derwent water soluble graphite pencils and the Yarka water soluble sticks. They are a real treat. I was introduced to them while doing a live drawing session and I adore them. Try these out by first drawing your object and then going in with a wet brush and spreading the graphite like a wash. You will fall in love I promise you. Here is a quick one I did of the kids today using the Derwent water soluble pencils.

What I call "my chalks" are really Conte sticks and leads. I use these dry, but I also enjoy wetting them on the paper similar to the water soluble graphite. They work well that way and I can enjoy them better knowing I smudge and swirl them around at will.

Of course it would be no fun if you can't mix and match these tools together and add some watercolour or coloured pencil marks to add some colour to the drawings. In short I would suggest that you go wild! Drawing is instinctively in all of us. Our cave ancestors used whatever they could get their hands on to draw wonderful and fanciful images on walls. What keeps us all from reaching back to this primordial skill? Fear. Fear of failure, or ridicule or rejection. Well think of it this way: Your first and second and 50th drawing will not make it to any museums. I can promise you that. So do 50 drawings for fun. Throw them away if you must or burn them so no one will see them. Then scan and post your 51st and let's have a look. What do you say? Use a bic pen if you want, who cares! As long as you are enjoying it!! I once did a very nice drawing using a bic pen and correction fluid. So disrespect the tools and go wild!

Here are a few more from a while back:




  1. Thank you for sharing your differnt drawing tools with us. It is interesting to see what you work with and what the results are. I can see that the different choices can make or break a picture, How do you decide? I wish I could say something sensible about it, but I am not a fellow artist, so I can't. I have only drawn with pencil ever and I have only tried different techniques with ecoline inks and water colors on thick paper. I am not that very experienced, yet! It is good to see that you are and I hope you share some paintings with us again soon.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing the names and examples of your drawing tools, Fawzan. I love how you draw from life. Your work has a unique feel because of it which I can't at this moment describe adequately.

    I think your idea of the 50 drawings + 1 is genius. And sounds like an most effective remedy for fear. I vow to come back to this idea and give it a try.

  3. Love your drawings. I envy you the ability to see and translate to the paper and produce an atmosphere at the same time.

  4. A very belated thank you, bro'! I am studying everything carefully but I think the best thing for me is to travel to Toronto and learn from the Master himself :) Hugs!

  5. Maybe we should have a artists retreat for all of us somewhere!

    Can I suggest something? Remember how you always kept a notebook? BTW, I was always jealous of your notebooks they look so great. Why not carry a sketchbook and a pen and see what happens? Don't think about it too much. Keep it in your purse for a while. Let it get comfortable and it will come out and get used when it wants to.

  6. Debi, I will hold you to it!

  7. Frances, I promise you I didn't start out that way. Practice gets you there.


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