Art Often Begins With a Pencil (

Pencils are the most basic art tool used by nearly every medium. For example:

  • Painters use pencils to draft quick thumbnail sketches in their journals, and many use pencils to outline the composition on their canvas.
  • Sculptors frequently brainstorm ideas in pencil, carefully considering each angle of the sculpture in their sketchbooks in order to work out potential problems before tackling actually the 3-D form.
  • Even digital artists typically sketch their designs first on paper using a good old-fashioned pencil. The pencil sketches are often scanned into the computer and digitized, forming the first layer of what is often a complex, multi-layered work of digital art.

We are so used to working in pencil that we often don’t stop to think about how wonderful and versatile a tool it really is. Pencil marks are easily erasable, which gives us the freedom to make mistakes over and over and correct them as many times as we need. Pencils can be sharpened to a fine point – great for detail – and they can also go blunt, which is ideal for shading.

Pencil “lead” is composed of graphite, which is a form of carbon, which is mixed with a clay binder. The grey-black marks made by pencils can be beautiful in and of themselves; some artists use pencils as their main medium, producing sensitive and delicate artworks that are inspiring because they are made with one of the most basic art tools: a pencil.

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2 thoughts on “Art Often Begins With a Pencil (

  1. spinoza1111

    Hey Mark (is that correct?) thanks for Liking my drawing Harlequin Lola.

    I regard a painting as a three dimensional object following the lead of the Old Masters, who as you know used layers of grisaille and transparent or translucent colors to create a “special glow”. In teaching, I have children color grisaille reproductions to see how color can emerge from form.

    How can computer graphics ever match the experience of an Old Master, where what you see is actually a sequence of layers?

    Well, you can scan and print to add layers. Many examples of this are seen on my blog: click Original Art in the tag cloud to see examples.

    I will research your work at greater length.

  2. Pingback: My first experience creating digital art-My entry for Twisted Brush Digital Art Show | Left Handed-Right Brained Art of Sherry Key

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