Saturday, November 16, 2013

Drawing on Toned Paper

A while ago I discovered that Dick Blick is associated with a Utrecht art store not too far away from me. I visited and bought a few things as pictured.

I was most eager to try the toned paper. I need to practice my drafting skills, namely free hand drawings using the old fashioned methods of observation, plumb lines, clock angles, comparing proportions, etc. I started going through my family photos for good subjects. This is what I've done so far. I started with graphite and then switched to black and white charcoal pencils for the first drawing.

Marty is going to be a recurring subject since I have lots of photos of him. I did the initial drawing carefully but it felt off. I finally scanned it and overlaid it on the photo reference to check my proportions. I was pleased to see that most of it was very accurate. The eyes, nose, head size and shape were almost spot on. The only thing that was wrong was the jawline. It was too long and that threw off the neck line too. Once I corrected that the resemblance really came through. Not bad for a first try.

I did the next drawing with pastel pencils, sanguine red and white. I had more trouble with this one.

My initial line drawing had more stuff wrong. I did a comparison again and found that the eyes were too close together, the nose was too short and the chin also too short. Worse, her whole head circumference was too small compared to the size of her features. Again I was able to correct the shortcomings once I knew exactly what they were. Click to see larger.

Hopefully at some point, the errors will become less and less. So I'll continue to practice, practice and practice some more.

The whole idea is to get better at drawing accurate sketches as the basis for pastel portraits. I'll never get a good likeness if I don't have a accurate drawing.


  1. Great work on these toned drawings! I love the style and I do a lot of drawings on toned paper as well.

    1. Thanks so much! It means a lot coming from you. I just visited your site and your work is awesome!