Sketching in pencil is very popular amongst artists. Why? There are several reasons.
First, this seems to be partly because of the materials’ low cost and the fact that they are easy to carry from place to place.
Next, most of us know how to handle a pencil. We use it from a very early age and learn to write with it… and sometimes… even to draw with it. We are familiar with it.
But the most significant feature that pencils have to offer to the budding artist is the fact that it is suitable for many types of drawing.
You can draw rough outline sketches, or you can do a complete rendering of a subject.
You can draw fine lines (when the tip is sharp), or you can use it almost like a brush when the tip is blunt (or sharpened like a chisel).
You can draw light strokes and bold strokes. You can grade your shading from very light to very dark.
It gives you great freedom to correct or erase at any time during your work in progress.
It allows rapid manipulation when you need to work quickly (Like when you do a portrait on the go). And you can use it to sketch studies for painting with other media.
And that’s only about black pencils. The range of possibilities is larger when you consider using colour pencils. Nowadays there is a wide variety of color pencils, ranging from watercolor pencils, to metalic colors.
And if combine that with the vast range of paper textures available in art supplies shop, your mind will be blown away with the type of things you can do with this excellent drawing tool.
I apologize for getting so excited about pencils! They’re just so… versatile and convenient drawing tools, and I believe they deserve an honourable place in an artist’s box.
Pencils are great drawing training tools. Think about it: if you draw with a fine line, you’re practically training to draw with pen and ink; and if you draw with broad line shading, you’re getting skills you can use with charcoal, crayons or brushes. And if you force yourself to observe whatever you are about to draw, you will develop a sense of shapes, proportions and lighting, as well as the power to visualize.
Many art students try to learn to paint with water colours, oils, acrylics and other media, but pass learning how to draw with pencil. They do this to their detriment. I reckon they miss out on a wide range of drawing and painting skills.
So, next time you have a free moment, try sketching with a pencil. Sketch pictures, objects, people, or whatever you see through the window.