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13 November 2015

Portraits - watersoluble graphite

I have been using a watersoluble graphite pencil for many of my portraits lately. A few people have mentioned that they had never heard of them before so I decided to do this quick simple tutorial showing my process using one. I use a Progresso Aquarelle. I bought it individually at the local art store for around $2.

I do my drawing initially using it the same as any other graphite pencil. I do like that it is woodless and can be used on its side for shading, much like charcoal.

Here is the end of the sketch. Reference is from a Pixabay image by Ben Kerchx

I then use a waterbrush to blend areas. I tend to start with the darkest areas first and then build up form.

I have found to keep the darkest darks it is best to lightly wet the area with the brush. Washes tend to lighten it overall. Here I brushed from the blended graphite down and away in the top 2 images. If I am trying to control the area more I wash from clean area up into the graphite, as in the bottom example. I hope that makes sense. Basically I am using it like a watercolour pencil, if you are familiar with them.

Initial washes and blending complete. You can see that I have flicked the brush out from the dark hair areas to help depict strands. Now to let it dry completely.

Once dry I go back erase any areas I want to lighten and go over other areas with the pencil to add detail or more shading. It can be nice to see some pencil lines in the final piece.
I hope you have found this to be interesting and informative in some way. I often find it is nice just to see the process someone else uses.

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