Perfecting the pencil strokes

Practicing the Strokes

Well you can, but if you wish to make great artworks a primary prerequisite is a clean sketch. Whichever media is your choice: a sketch, water color, pastel oil paint you can not oversee the importance of a clean line drawing or under drawing. There are painters and professionals, you can argue who do not use any under drawing for their compositions, obviously I am not talking about those specific cases. Vast majority of professional painters do use a clean  under drawing as base for their compositions.And it’s crucial for cleaner drawing to be able to make steady strokes.

What kind of pencil strokes should I practice ?

Ideally you should be able to draw the clean straight and curved lines without waves and numerous tiny lines. To achieve the same you need to hold the pencil in the correct manner and place your hand on the surface in a proper way to get enough support, yet allow your hand freely to maintain a clean stroke.

Where Should I hold the Pencil?

For a greater control and support and ability to draw a clean underdrawing we should adopt a specific way of holding and supporting the pencil. following pictures will explain how to have a optimum combination. These are just some general guidance but it might differ from person to person based on their preference.

Do not hold the pencil near the tip
Do not hold the pencil too near to the end of the pencil
Measure your pencil and mar the points approximately as shown above
Hold the pencil like this for smaller strokes
Hold the pencil at the higher point marked earlier for longer strokes
Use the small finger to support

First thing First

Before we start playing with colors and shadows and highlights its important to get our lines straight or may be curved to the perfection so the drawing is solid. Which is foundational for a great painting. So let’s see what kind of pencil should we be using and how to do draw before we paint.

The Lead:

It’s important to pick the right lead pencils for a drawing and its obvious that each type of pencil is suited for a specific need.

Leads I use frequently

I usually use four different types of lead pencils. HB, 2B, 4B and 8B. Each of this lead pencils are very useful for a nice painting but might not be always needed bases on the final media you are planning to use.

I believe it’s very important to have a very clean drawing before you starting painting colors.

HB Pencil for drawing

Start with HB pencil for a soft and crisp drawing. Make sure not apply too much pressure so you don’t create a hard impress of the pencil on the paper/ canvas.

Drawing with deep strokes also makes it very difficult to retouch if needed.

Does Brand Matter?

Well ideally brand does not matter. One should look for softer leads for drawing so it flows easily on any kind of paper or canvas, does not leave hard impression on paper.

I have used some pencils HB pencils available in target and they work just good. However if you are looking for great quality pencils an essentially interested in pencil sketch composition you might have to look for better quality pencils for better control on the darks and lights and strokes. I personally use “Derwent”, which I got from Amazon.

Derwent Lead pencils for pencil sketch and shading

Also do not forget to collect couple of 8B, 4B, 2B for better dark wash and depth control in your composition.

Do let me know your feedback and comments