The Lost Art of Pencil Drawing

For many artists, pencil sketching or drawing is often thought of more as an exercise or perhaps the prelude to a painting. This is very much the approach encouraged by art schools and colleges. Consequently this area of expertise is often overlooked as a serious art form.

It is almost a natural progression to move on from pencil drawing to discover your own particular niche, whether it is painting, sculpture or any one of a variety of pursuits. I am as guilty as anyone of overlooking the potential of working in pencil but I have recently been encouraged to return to it. Many artists struggle to find the time to keep up-to-date with their work and drawing is certainly a good discipline to get you back into regular work. More than that, the results can sometimes be surprisingly rewarding.

Desert Orchid

I have been commissioned in the past to do paintings and drawings of some of the world’s top racehorses and my pencil drawings sometimes have more life and energy than my finished paintings! I began doing them as preliminary drawings to make sure that the customer was happy with the composition of the painting before I started, but several have been so pleased with the drawing that it has been framed. I am looking forward to working outside of my commissioned artwork and creating some drawings, working directly from the subject. Whether this will be landscapes, portraits or more animal studies I have not yet decided.

In my role as blog writer for Bigvyor.com, I was delighted to see a separate section for drawing and sketching on the site. You can take a look around the category here. As you will see, there is a fine variety of styles already on show. There is a very energetic sketch titled “Take My Heart Away” by the artist Saurabh Sharma that perfectly illustrates my point about the life and energy that can be depicted in this medium. Compare that with the highly detailed study “Reflection” by Gunjan Tuteja where the artist has clearly worked painstakingly to capture the reflections in the water and successfully give the image a 3-dimensional effect.

As with working with any other medium, it is best to approach it with an open mind and not be frightened to experiment with style and application. There is much more to pencil drawing than slavishly trying to reproduce a near-photographic effect. If you find pencils too restrictive, you can broaden your range by using charcoal or chalks and smudging the surface. You will soon learn what works best for you. Of course, not all of your drawings will go the way you want them to but there is no shame in having to confine a few to the dustbin!

I hope that I can encourage some of you to come and join me at Bigvyor and submit your work to the site. It is free to join and you can set up your own gallery to be shared with other artists and prospective customers. I am looking forward to kick-starting my artwork for 2013 with some drawings that I will share with you.

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