I’ve gone and done it. I bought a new sketching kit for graphite drawing.
Actually, it’s the first sketching kit I’ve ever purchased.
Since I began artistic life as an oil painter and have been using colored pencils exclusively for the last several years, you might be wondering why I’ve decided to do graphite drawing. The reason is simple.
My experience with the sketching challenge I did in 2020 and 2021 was geared primarily to colored pencils, but I also did a few graphite sketches when I didn’t have colored pencils nearby.
Then in October 2022, I went to Michigan for a couple of weeks. I took colored pencils and a project with me, but quickly learned that they weren’t at all useful for sketching while in flight. So I pulled out one of the pencils I keep in my purse and was happily occupied for most of that flight.
One of the things I really enjoyed was the ease with which I could create a wide range of values. Being able to so easily erase also made adding highlights very simple. I decided then and there (before the plane landed) to get a graphite kit of some kind for traveling.
But there is another reason for my purchase; an oil painter from New Zealand, Andrew Tischler. He paints the most breath-taking landscapes I’ve ever seen. But he also has a series of videos called Sketch Endeavor, which I’ve been watching for some time. His drawings have made me want to learn to do the same thing.
So when I ordered good drawing paper for sketching, I also came across a really handy-looking sketching kit. I remembered my in-flight sketches from last year, and decided, “why not?”
My New Sketching Kit
The order arrived last week and it’s better than I expected.
It contains two graphite pencils–one HB and one 2B–six blending stumps (also known as tortillions), a kneaded eraser, and a two-hole sharpener. It also has a sanding paddle (that’s the large shape on the right.) There are also extra pockets for pencils, so I can add other pencils if I like.
It’s all contained in a very nice zippered canvas pouch, so it’s perfect for field work and travel, as well as in-studio work.
I bought it through Dick Blick for only $15.71, if you’re interested.
I haven’t had much time to use it yet. This is the week for finishing up the next issue of CP Magic! magazine, so that’s the priority.
But I did make one sketch last week and have since done another.
Here are the first two. They’re 4 x 6 inches on an 8-1/2 x 11 inch piece of white Canson Mi-Teintes. I bought the paper in a pack of 25-sheets just for the purpose of sketching like this.
Long-term Sketching Goals
My long-term sketching goals are not very well-developed as I write these words, but I know one thing. I would like to begin sketching landscapes in graphite as often as possible. I haven’t done much landscape painting with colored pencils the last several months, and part of me hopes that sketching compositions might get me started on that again.
Even if it doesn’t, there’s the hope that graphite sketching might at least help me draw more regularly. It will most certainly improve my drawing skills, and that will help me with colored pencil portraits.
And who knows? Maybe graphite portrait work is a possibility down the road.
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