From the Artist
"Certain distinguishing characteristics help identify every object. These are the traits that make glass look like glass, leather look like leather, etc. Rendering the texture of an object boils down to successfully imitating its most distinguishing characteristics."
Rediscover the beauty of pencil ... the joy of getting back to the basics.
On a recent trip to Chicago, I visited an artist-friend's studio. The walls were covered with large, marvelous paintings-in-progress, shouting with vivid colors. But off in one corner, mounted in a deep shadowbox so you had to stand close and look carefully to see it, was a small pencil drawing. And I did look carefully and long.
This book by J.D. Hillberry raises the same wonderment I felt then: What is it about pencil drawings that makes them so innately appealing? Is it the humbleness of the medium? The faint sense of nostalgia? The purity of line and value? Whatever it is, J.D.'s remarkable drawings make the most of it.
This book will open your eyes to the exciting textural possibilities of the medium. You won't believe the incredible drawings you can create using pencil and the special techniques illustrated in this book ... techniques so easy that anyone—from doodler to advanced artist—can begin exploring immediately!
Starting Off Right
All it takes to draw is a pencil and a piece of paper—a thought that amazes J.D. when he looks around at all the materials he's accumulated while exploring various drawing techniques. Through his experimentations, J.D. has discovered ways to achieve an incredible sense of realism by using a variety of pencils, blenders and erasers.
This book starts with a guide to these different types of tools and materials, including J.D.'s favorites and why he likes them. Especially important is finding the right paper, as it affects the appearance of your drawing even more than technique.
To create his lifelike drawings, J.D. uses charcoal, graphite, carbon or a combination of all three. The trick is in knowing the special characteristics of each medium, and how to make them work for you. (Graphite, for instance, is the most reflective of the three media, making it the perfect choice for rendering shiny surfaces like bright metals and glass.)
J.D. shows you some unique ways of handling your drawing media to produce an assortment of realistic effects. You'll how to use circular shading, stippling, cross-hatching, frisket and other techniques to create dramatic contrasts and interesting textures.
One of the great things about working with charcoal and pencil is how easily it can be blended to create various shades of gray. One swipe of a clean cloth over charcoal lines yields a beautiful progression of descending values across your paper. That's fine, if it's intentional. "If the cloth is your shirt," says J.D., "and you've just produced what appears to be a smoking comet through the face of your latest commissioned portrait—you've got a problem." Never fear—J.D. has filled this book with tricks-of-the-trade to help you avoid and correct such misfortunes.
Close Your Eyes
The key to simulating texture," says J.D., "begins with identifying its most noticeable characteristics. If possible, close your eyes and feel the subject. This gives you a better understanding of its surface quality and helps you decide which medium would work best to imitate the texture."
Then open your eyes and let the fun begin! Step by step, you'll learn how to create the look of metal, glass, wood, fur, leather, skin, hair and other remarkably realistic textures. Clear instructions include everything you need to know to get impressive results, from which pencils and blending tools to use, right down to when to use a sharp or dull point. You'll also discover tricks for letting your paper do some of the work—like how to create the look of scratches and pits in old metal by indenting your paper. And how to select a paper with more to help create the rough textures of weathered wood.
Two detailed start-to-finish demonstrations show you how to use these textures to create drawings—a still life and a drawing of a cat—that look so real they seem to leap right off the page! Along the way, J.D. offers expert insights and advice on lighting your subjects, capturing the intricacies of light and texture, and more. You'll learn, for example, how to set up "visual clues" in your still life arrangements that add more dimension to your drawings—like cast shadows falling onto more than one plane, the reflection of one object in another, and reflections of shadows.
Lessons to Remember
Without the distraction of color, the "poetry" of your subject and the ever-important building blocks of your composition come to the forefront. Working in pencil will heighten your sensitivity to light and values, and enhance the sense of realism in your work. The pencil can teach you secrets for drawing your viewers in, so they stand close and look long. Take a pleasant break from your regular medium to learn these lessons. Or draw, as J.D. does, simply for the joy of drawing.