I’m sorry, but my internet went down yesterday and it took them til late last night to get it back up and running, so the blog post is late…
A Stable Environment Graphite Drawing
My latest piece of art work is of a horse in a stable. I thought the title I gave this piece “Stable Environment” was perfect considering the last few weeks of dealing with a situation in my life and career as an Artist. You can read about it here and here if you are so inclined. But enough of that! In this blog post I would like to share with you some of my tips, tricks and techniques that I used to do this Realism drawing of a horse and a stable. So let’s get started!
Before I do any drawing in realism I make sure that I do an accurate lay-in (or initial sketch of the subject). This is so important if you want your finished piece to be accurate. You will have a much more difficult or nearly impossible time getting a realistic finished piece if your lay-in is not well done.
If you are a beginner, feel free to use a light box, or trace the image for accuracy. If you are a skilled artist and want to produce realism more quickly you too can utilize a light box or trace your image. Don’t fall victim to the “that’s cheating” mentality when it comes to using tools to help you. There is no such thing as cheating in Art unless you are just stealing someone else’s work and claiming it as your own, which is also stealing. If you love to just draw your image in free-hand that’s great. I use both methods depending on mood and time. Below is a picture of my lay-in for “Stable Environment” and as you can see I draw as much detail as possible to make sure my proportions and perspective is correct before I start on any details.
To do my lay-in I usually select an HB or a B graphite pencil. This way I can much more easily erase any lines I don’t want or need. I use Blick Studio graphite pencils. They have a nice range of leads and they are of good quality at a reasonable price.
After I do the lay-in I then use a kneadable eraser and pounce it on the lines to lighten them. You will find a kneadable eraser a wonderful tool for other techniques as well.
The next step is to start on the details. I usually will start in the upper left corner or the eye of the subject depending on what I am drawing. Here I started on the wood grain to be sure I could get it to look as much like real wood as I possibly could.
I started with a 2H graphite pencil to lightly work in the grain of the wood. Then I used an HB over the top of the 2H pencil. After I was happy with the value I took a cotton swab and blended. This left the grain marks and gave a lighter value on the rest of the area. Then in some areas I would work over the grain marks again and deepen values on the board where it was needed. I worked on one board at a time this way.
Once I was happy with the way the wood grain was looking I moved on to the horses eye and the darkest values on the face. I tend to want to get the darkest values in so that I can gauge the rest of the piece accordingly. To work in realism it is a must to get your values correct. By this I mean your lights, darks and mid-tones. Now this does not mean that if you have a reference photo that is too dark or the lights are to harsh that you can’t change them. But it does mean that if you change one value, the others have to follow suit. Realism is all about adding dimension and detail to your piece and making it look believable. Having a good quality reference is also very important; you can only draw the detail that you can see.
Still paying close attention to my reference photo, I use the appropriate pencil (I have a range of pencils from 6H-6B and a carbon pencil for the blacks) to work in my lights and darks and blend out with the cotton swab where it’s needed. To lighten an area such as the reflection on the metal hinges or the glint in the eye, I use the kneadable eraser or the narrow eraser on a mechanical pencil.
Here are some pictures of my progress as I worked on this piece getting in the details including the nails in the wood, hinges, the tree to the right with the leaves, the texture of the wood, tree trunk, metal hinges and so on.
After working in all of the stable and horse I worked in the tree and leaves on the far right. For my final work I checked my values to be sure I was happy with them an touched up any areas I felt needed more detail such as darkening shadows and gaps in the wood boards, etc. Then of course adding the copyright mark and name to my final piece.
I work on Strathmore paper or Canson Paper most of the time. This piece was done on Strathmore paper. The finished piece is 8″x10″ but I worked on 11″x14″ paper. This allows me to have more matting and framing options. I can easily cut away any excess paper to fit a smaller frame but I have the option to use a larger one.
Was This Tutorial Helpful
So tell me what you think! Do you need more details? Was this tutorial helpful? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below or contact me if you would like any more information.
Do you like to work in realism? If so, what are some of your tips, tricks and techniques? Let’s help each other grow in our knowledge and skill and support each other as Artists!
This piece is available for purchase. Just click here for more information.