Category Archives: Drawing

Pencil Study

Today I decided it was about time I did a little pencil study to better understand the behaviour of my pencils. I use mark making a great deal in my work and sometimes I want the pencil mark to move or bleed into my paints and other times I want it to remain on the painting as a sharp line.

I have a large range of pencils that I have accumulated over time and generally I don’t spend a great deal of time choosing which one I want to use. But sometimes they don’t behave on the artwork the way I had intended, so I thought it was about time I did another little pencil experiment.

You will see here that I have quickly drawn out a few boxes and with each pencil I have drawn inside a box with a few straight lines and another with a solid scribbled line. Then with each box I have painted over with clear water to see how water soluble they were.

Pencil study
Pencil Study
Pencil Sudy

It was interesting to see that different brands of the same type of pencil can behave differently. You will see here that the Koh – I -Noor HB pencil bled less with water than the Royal Graphite HB pencil. That is why it is important to know your pencils.

From the 28 pencils that I experimented with the ONLY pencil that did not move or bleed with water was the Chinamarker, which I guess I already knew.

The most water soluble ones that I used, that is the ones that bled the darkest black, were the ArtGraf and Stabilo Woody.

These were closely followed by:

Graphite LYRA Water Soluble
Stabilo Aquarellable 8046
Derwent Inktense
Stabilo Carbathello
Conte à Paris

Water soluble art pencils

And my final conclusion was that I have far too may pencils!

I probably could whittle them down to about 5 or 6 different types. So I may just keep that selection in a different container so that I can easily find the one that I want.

I hope you have found this little experiment useful.

Sketching Quirky Portraits

I am still away from my art studio and only have limited supplies with me. So, I am having to console myself with sketching quirky portraits with pencil in my tiny sketchbook. 

Now I can’t wait to get back to my art supplies so that I can collage some large backgrounds and transform these gals with some paint and colour.




Blind Contour Drawing

With very little supplies and limited time it was fun to do a blind contour drawing. This was a photo that I found on the internet that I used as my inspiration.

Then with pencil on paper and only by looking at the reference photo and not looking down at my drawing I placed my pen on paper and drew. Then a little bit of colouring in with my Neocolor 11 crayons.

Then I painted on a little water to activate the crayons. And voila!Great fun to do and lovely quirky results. And fulfilled my yearning for a quick fix of art.

Face Portrait using Charcoal

I sketched this face portrait from June Biagioni’s ‘Drawing in the Soul’ online class using charcoal pencil and pastels. This is an exceptionally good class and I am enjoying every minute of it. If you would like to learn how to draw portraits then I really recommend this class.

Face portrait

This was my first attempt at using charcoal and I really enjoyed using it, much to my surprise. I find charcoal messy but I used this method of catching the charcoal crumbs that inevitably fall away as you are drawing.

Tape along bottom of easel

I used a table easel and I taped double sided tape on the lower edge which is slightly tilted up to create a channel. The tape attracted the falling crumbs and they stuck to the tape. This meant that there was no mess left on my worktop and no charcoal crumbs were inadvertently smudged on to my drawing whilst I was sketching. One of the reasons I have always avoided charcoal is that I don’t like the mess. But this solved the problem nicely.

I took some photos of the progression of this portrait from start to finish and then made it into a quick little video for you if you would like to see how it evolved.


I was really pleased with this sketch and felt I had made a huge stride forward with my portrait drawing. Now I just need time to practice more.