Having recently bought new Derwent sketching pencils… well I just had to play with them!
Within the set of four pictures, you can see a comparison between a drawing of a deer done in charcoal… top left along with one done using the sketching pencils which is bottom left.
As you can see the reference image was not the best but by using the charcoal I could sketch and erase until I produced a result that I was happy with.
Using charcoal to create an initial sketch helps to generate a familiarity with the subject that can then be used to create a better drawing.
To create that “better” drawing I decided to use these Derwent sketching pencils. They do allow you to add water to create a “wash” which if the water is carefully controlled allows you to create a good foundation on which you can then add detail to.
To apply the water I decided not to use a paint brush but instead use a make-up sponge applicator. I think these tools are wonderful for blending and smudging particularly in small areas.
Up until now I have used them dry. But… in this project I decided to use them damp and by not making them too wet, I was able to control the flow of pigment. It worked well and is worthy of more experimentation!
After the initial wet layer was allowed to dry an additional layer was then applied using the same sketching pencils. For blending a dry make-up applicator was then used and for the finer detail, I continued to experiment… but this time with a dark onyx pencil and a black polychromous Faber Castell pencil.
Where I needed to both blend and lighten in a small area, I used a white Faber Castell pencil. In small areas that worked quite well.
To lighten larger areas a kneadable eraser (sometimes called a putty rubber) was used while a tombo eraser was used to completely erase lines in areas where I was over enthusiastic!
The reason I went down this path is that I do like drawing in grey scale. However, using graphite alone in my opinion does not always offer enough contrast. In other words the blacks are not black enough and there can be an unwanted shine. In some circumstances that shine can be beneficial but not always.
In conclusion both the charcoal and the drawing pencils are good for sketching.
There is no denying that charcoal is messy!
The sketching pencils do offer a cleaner alternative but I won’t give up using charcoal as I just like it’s properties and I see no reason why I could not use both in the same project!