Draw a graphite portrait of a horse

Draw a graphite portrait of a horse

I’ve had such fun with graphite sketches all week! Today’s no different….I’ve wanted to create a horse drawing for so long. I used to live on a ranch in Montana, and the owner had horses in our pasture who would come up to see me at the fence (begging for snacks of course!)

But though I’d tried drawing a horse’s mane before, I never knew how to create the kind of rough hair on the mane that one of those horses had. But the electric eraser changed all of that!

Tutorial: Draw a graphite portrait of a horse

I’m glad I filmed this both on my phone (from an angle) as well as overhead (camera)…the camera footage was terrible due to the amount of graphite and its reflectivity! (See my previous post about the pros and cons of graphite and colored pencil.)

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Refined Linseed Oil

I didn’t end up mentioning it in the video but the new refined linseed oil I bought recently is pretty fabulous. It’s nothing like the stuff I got at Lowes! (ha!) It doesn’t stink like that, and it doesn’t get…..gooey. Yay! More testing ahead.

ICYMI

In case you missed my sketches created this week – here you go!

Your ideas?

My list of must-do ideas is finally lightening up; 2022 has been a prolific year checking a lot off! I’d love to add some of your ideas – subject matter, techniques, etc? Leave a comment and your idea might be added to the list!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Graphite vs Colored Pencil: pros, cons, and tips

Graphite vs Colored Pencil: pros, cons, and tips

A prospective student emailed a question: can he use a black colored pencil for one of my drawing classes instead of graphite? 

We had a bit of a back and forth about it, but in all honesty I was going from what I know about both, not having tested them side by side. Today’s exercise did confirm what I believed but with a little less of a difference than I thought they’d have. But read on to see my assessments of each aspect tested.

 

Tutorial: Graphite vs Colored Pencil – pros, cons, and tips

The left side of the sketch is in graphite, mostly 6B; the right side in black Polychromos pencil!

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Line weights

Graphite comes in various hardnesses; the harder the pencil the lighter, and those pencils can also get very very sharp. Great for tiny light details. Softer pencils make heavier lines.

Colored Pencil only has the one pencil, and typically a manufacturer uses the same hardness for all their pencils. Making different weights is done by the sharpness of the pencil as well as the amount of pressure used.

Color

Graphite can get dark but when compared directly with colored pencils, it’s more of a deep grey. Colored pencil can be deep black; but I can’t speak for cheap pencils, those may not be really really black—many of them release little pigment.

Erasability

Graphite is quite erasable; unless it gets really overworked (layer upon layer with blending solutions) it can often be erased mostly to the white of the paper. 

Colored Pencil is less erasable, leaving more pigment adhered to the surface of the paper. Electric erasers can sometimes lift more than others can but also may destroy the paper. Both are paper-dependent; some papers will erase better than others, so test it out.

Smudging

Graphite is so soft that it smudges very easily! That means it blends well, sometimes even when you don’t want it to. Protect your work with glassine under your hand – if you don’t have that, use the shiny side of freezer paper against the graphite to keep it from smudging.

Colored pencil smudges less, but only by a degree. Once blending solution is “set” (ie has dried completely) it’s less likely to smudge, too. 

Reflectiveness

Graphite is reflective – making it hard to photograph sometimes. It gets a sheen to it that catches light. Colored Pencil is less reflective.

Paper

Graphite can work on any smooth paper – even computer paper! I still do like a little texture myself; Stonehenge is what I like for all kinds of pencil work. Some swear by hot press watercolor paper, but I haven’t had as much success there.

Colored pencil likes some tooth – not necessarily “texture” (like a cold press watercolor paper or something). I have a picture in my mind of a microscopic look at the paper’s surface scraping pigment off the pencil, and whether or not that’ss the way it works, it’s what makes me like a paper with a little grippiness to it for colored pencil.

Cost

Graphite pencils are typically less expensive than Colored Pencil, but a lot of that depends on brands as well as whether you buy a set or not; sets bring down the price. 

Got questions?

Let me know if anything’s unclear – or if you disagree! I know plenty of artists who like different papers, pencil brands, techniques….that’s what makes the art world go round!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Making Perspective Drawing Easier

Making Perspective Drawing Easier

I’ve had a lot of students go through my drawing classes; some fly through the perspective lessons, and some get stuck. I’m always trying to figure out how to make it simpler for everyone…..and today is another attempt at that! Grab yourself a block (or a square or rectangular object) that you can look at in front of you while I talk.

 

Tutorial: Making Perspective Drawing Easier

We all learn differently; some DO like drawing all the perspective lines, and that’s awesome! But if you’re like me, there’s little patience for rulers. So I’ve learned to get the perspective lines to point to the same place, and not stress out over whether it hits the horizon line, etc….making it look right to my gut is close enough for me. But it requires being HONEST – not just shrugging because I’m tired of working on the perspective. LOL.

Watch the video below and scroll to the end to leave comments or questions — or click HERE to watch it on YouTube and leave comments over there. I read both dutifully!

Start simple

Don’t start with crazy perspective projects – begin with a simple object. Face the front toward you first so you see JUST the front with the horizontals horizontal and the verticals vertical. Then tilt it just a little so you see a little of the top and a little of the side. Below are two ways to create incorrect perspective and one that works…read on!

First, I find that trying to use a single line leads me to create incorrect perspective every time. Try softer, sketchier lines.

Second I tried my high school art teacher’s “trick” which never really worked too well; I always had the feeling something was “off” and it took me a while to realize that if I didn’t draw each box PERFECTLY then the angled lines would be off. And even IF drawn exactly, this method makes all the angled lines exactly the same, which doesn’t create realistic perspective.

Now I have a different approach – and it involves no rulers!

  1. Draw the front panel nice and square. Horizontals horizontal, verticals vertical.
  2. Choose one angled corner and look at the angle in the real-life object or photo. Make that line long, pointing off the page to an invisible point. It’s not vital to know where that spot is.
  3. On a second corner point, look at its angle, too — draw a long light line that points to the same place off in the distance…don’t get in the habit of trusting yourself to just make up where the line goes until you get very practiced. Use your eyes, but also make sure that line will point in the correct direction.
  4. The third point will be easier; look at the real object, and also double check that its line will point the right way. 
  5. Draw the actual box lines darker, and join the vertical edge and horizontal edge of the back of the block. Erase the long lines if needed.

 

Two point perspective

 

Two points of perspective is something we are quite accustomed to seeing. When the block is turned so there is no front panel with horizontal and verticals that remain straight, you end up with some perspective points going off to the left and some off to the right. (If you drew the simple box above, you DID create two point perspective; just one of the two is horizontal.)

It can look confusing to have all those lines – but it’s the very same process. Choose one corner and assess the angle, and draw the line, then check the 2nd angle, make it point the right direction, and then the third. Same on the other side.

The second sketch here has a LOW HORIZON. I included this so you know that not all perspective lines will point “upward.” If you stand on a city corner and look left and right, you’ll notice the street and bottom edges of buildings point upward a little or a lot, and the tops of buildings point downward. This doesn’t mean its incorrect – it’s just a different horizon line. Don’t stress out over finding perspectives that don’t fit the model of the first example; nature/science/math is correct, and it just means you have a lot more to discover about perspective.

 

Carry through perspective across the drawing

 

When you start adding elements to your drawing, they all need to start working with each other in perspective. In the Mojo Cart painting, I had to work out the initial cabinet perspective for the big rectangle, then match up the signage and drawers. 

While a very loose sketch, you can see how the open drawer needs to follow perspective like the big block itself. As do the other drawers and signs….

Three point perspective drawing

Then comes the crazy overhead fruit cart! I’m including an extra sketch here for you that shows more simply the relationship between the cabinet of the cart and other elements.

Then the charcoal drawing – I had to initially work out the underpinning perspective. It’s a view from above the cart, and that means the verticals are not vertical – they point to a vanishing point way down below the drawing. But the others are left and right as we’ve already talked about.

To make the wheel, I drew a rectangle in perspective – as if it were a posterboard leaned against the cart – then drew an oval in the orientation of that rectangle.

Which brings us to the final sketch! Lots of deep shadows and bright highlights – I can’t wait to get painting this weekend!

Edited to add…the watercolor!

See the three passes in this video.

Got questions about perspective?

I’d love to do more perspective lessons on specific challenges – if you’ve got a suggestion, let me know!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

5 shark sketches, 5 mediums, 5 styles – in 1 stone paper sketchbook

5 shark sketches, 5 mediums, 5 styles – in 1 stone paper sketchbook

It’s Shark Week, which I weirdly look forward to every summer; I would be too terrified to swim with them so that’s not my fascination. I think it’s the fact that they’re such ancient creatures and are still roaming the seas!

In today’s video testing, I decided to create different types of sharks in different styles – and I’ll be making more sharks all week on social media so be sure to come join me! 

Fundraiser!

I’m raising money this week for Sea Shepherd to save sharks and other marine wildlife – with a Great White Shark Pair printable! 100% of the proceeds will go to the charity this week!

Thanks to Etched for offering me a free sketchbook to test – and for providing a discount for YOU, too! I’m going to go buy more because this paper was a lot of fun. 

Get 10% off your purchases at Etched with coupon code SANDY10

Tutorial/Testing: Etched Stone Paper Sketchbook

I’m grateful to Etched for sending me this sketchbook to test out, I love having new toys to play with! It’s going to be fun to continue the experiments in coming weeks, mostly on instagram. Stay tuned for more!

Watch the video below or click HERE to see it on YouTube and leave comments over there.

Test results

Graphite

Big win. I loved the smooth feel of the paper, ease of blending, and the richness that the paper pulls out from my 9B! And subtle tone changes are very possible too…..and it erases back to white just perfectly! It made my Great White Shark come out super.

Colored Pencil

…meh? I started with the blending solution (gamsol) and thought I’d create a bit of water around the shark but….that just looks dirty now. The eraser does work on things like the teeth – but not as well as with graphite. Maybe I overworked the heck out of it, I’m not really sure. But…that led to making this Mako Shark into Grandpa Mako! He just needed glasses to finish him off. 

Copic Marker

Alcohol marker was pretty much a fail. I suspected that, and was proven right; alcohol markers blend within the fibers of paper, and this stone paper keeps all the medium up on the surface. If you’re one who’s bothered by your markers bleeding through your paper, that’s what makes them blend well! I’ve used some very thick papers in hopes of finding something that wouldn’t bleed, but that causes layers to start building up and getting sticky on the surface….so use papers that let the ink bleed. And not this stone paper. lol.

Alcohol Inks

Alcohol inks, however, LOVE papers like this! And unlike the Yupo I often use, I didn’t have to worry about the ink staining the paper in that first drop…it instantly moved the color without leaving a stain behind! I decided to combine the inks with fountain pen just to see what the pen feels like on this paper and dang.. ..so smooth! Just be careful since the ink stays wet a little longer than on absorbent papers. But you’ll get no feathering – which is fabby.

Watercolor

The final fail….eeep! One facet of this stone paper is that it repels water. So, uh, yeah, no dice! I did see another artist use gesso then acrylic, so figured I’d test out using Watercolor Grounds first, but….still not much of a success. But this test taught me a few things:

  1. Light heat gun can work, but keep it away from the surface. It’ll melt!
  2. I really want to paint this on paper.

What else should I test in this sketchbook? Let me know your ideas!

From Value Study to finished drawing

From Value Study to finished drawing

A bit ago I said I was going to do more studies before finished works….this time I did it! Do I get applause? hahaha! Sometimes we just need to take a bow in our own studio so I’m doin’ it!

The study here was done on toned paper – sometimes it’s easier to add highlights and shadows rather than trying to create so many midtones! Conté crayons are messy but they make me work quick and easy rather than laboring. I didnt even stress much about any blending, just blocking in shapes and tones. Once I finished this I had a much better idea where this piece was headed.

Video

Can you guess from this picture what my favorite little vignette part of the drawing is? Scroll down to look at the finished art before you click to watch and see if you found my little treasure. Watch the video below or click here to see it on YouTube.

The finished piece was a lot of fun! About three days taking up space in the studio – but worth it, methinks. My favorite spot is that window peeking through the archway. I was surprised I actually pulled that off.

That taxi gave me fits. It’s a little rounded and pudgy now, but at least it seems like it might be a car. Ha!

Original drawing for sale

That’s right here if you need it hanging on your wall.

ICYMI

In case you missed this week’s social media tips with silhouettes….Click on the linked text in the captions. The bunny stamp is here, and Lamp black and Lunar black are compared in the telephone pole video.

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art

Copic Cherry Blossom Branch (part 2)

Copic Cherry Blossom Branch (part 2)

We’re at the end of cherry blossom week – and during this speed Copic drawing I’ll talk through some of the things I learned about color, about masking, about my less-than-perfect airbrushing…..and much more!

NOTE: the date got moved for cherry blossom week so I know the original art won’t make it in time for Mother’s Day *unless* you’re local – in which case I’ll drive it over! 🙂

Video

Watch below or click here to see it on YouTube.

As you see by the ginormous pile of markers I used almost all the pinks and purples! It was sure one way to learn the colors more and see which ones shifted the color to the warmer or cooler temperature.

Hopefully the rest of our neighborhood cherry trees will stay vertical for years to come – that street cornr is one we walk along regularly, and each time I see the hole in the ground I feel bad for that poor tree!

Classes on sale

The classes on sale for the month of May are all the florals, check them out here!

ICYMI

Below are all the cherry blossom posts you may have missed this week on social media!

Supplies

Some product may be provided by manufacturers for review and use. Compensated affiliate links are here at no cost to you. If you choose to shop using my EH (Ellen Hutson) links, please accept cookies on that site in order to retain the link to my blog, or that compensation does not happen for me. I appreciate your support of my work with your purchases! Full affiliate and product disclosure | My trusted partners in art