via Wikimedia Commons

Pencil drawing is a basic art leading an artist to the world of painting.

This article is not designed to teach the reader how to be an artist; nor is it a bunch of instructions telling you how to draw on paper or canvas. 

This article is a humble endeavour is declaring that the pencil is the first tool an artist should befriend with; was he or she really interested in going ahead in the art of painting.

Drawing From Life: While executing a pencil drawing of a model, the artists use line and tone in ways that will give their drawings movement and life. The act of an artist done with a pencil would give a spatial definition to an object. The falling of light on specific areas are shown brighter, and the other parts of the objects remain in darker shades. This would examine how artists can treat them. The cast shadows would define how the object being drawn is related to the other objects on one hand, and on another, it would tell us about the time of the day. If these factors are considered well, it would help an artist to perform better.

Creative Pencil: Inspired pencil drawing, added with creativity, is an aspect of practice and perfection. To start with the pencil drawing you can consider drawing the things lying in your surrounding. Objects hardly matter; it can be your table; it can be your table clock; it can be your wet towel or your hanging pyjama. Anything you like, anything you feel inspired from will do. Just make sure about the size of the object and how far it is lying from you, near to you or at a distance. 

Art is to come from inside of you; art is a flow of the water that springs from inside of an artist. So let your intuition become your best guide. The most important advantage of pencil drawing is its versatility. You can have more and more freedom while you use a pencil. It is also called the art to be learnt from the starting point.

Look at the two drawings of one place.  The drawings are done at an interval of almost one century(93 years). The Tannheimer Hütte (Tyrol/Austria) from Southeast, in the background (centre) the mountain Gimpel 2173m. other Mountains: left Hochwiesler and Hochwiesler Ostsporn, right Gimpel Vorbau.


Tannheimer Hutte 1893 Scan from a historic book 1894: SchlesingerCC BY-SA 4.0via Wikimedia Commons

Tannheimer Hutte 1966  Foto: Sammlung Risch-Lau, Vorarlberger LandesbibliothekCC BY 4.0via Wikimedia Commons

The tiny tip of a pencil is so resourceful that you feel like a wealthy person while using a pencil, coloured pencil or black, the uses are unlimited. When you enter the field of art, the first thing you would be encountering is the advice; the army of advice. 

Tannheimer Hutte mit Gimpel Svickova
Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Recent Photograph of the above pencil drawings. The photo is believed to be taken in the year 2008.  Here we can see that in the above two drawings, the artists have shown their artistic prowess. They have succeeded in recreating the beauty of a wonderful mountain scene, a tourist spot.

All the “How-to" lessons and the self-assumed teachers of art would make a shouting crowd around you. They would like to guide you every moment, at every marking on the paper.  But do not care much about those who have nothing to do with the art, or who have no interest in any creative activity. Let them live their life. You live yours.  These groups of advisors would shake you; they would warn you; they would try pleasing you; they would caution you; they would try kidnapping you from other camps to their camp. But remember one thing: one can learn the technique; no one can learn the art. 

Techniques: Yes, there are techniques to learn. But you can learn it by practise only, and not by hearing or seeing the lectures on the subject. By travelling on the road of the process of constant practice, you would learn many things like, how to sharpen the pencil, how to get the sharp edge or thick edge of the pencil, where to put pressure in drawing and where to keep the pressure low, whether to use white or blank paper, whether to use graphite pencil, charcoal stick or coloured pencils.

Get, Set, and Go: Life drawing is a passionate work of art. The wide range of styles from photographic to abstract figures inspires an artist to grab pencils and start drawing. Along with doing preparatory work for watercolour painting or an oil painting, the pencil drawing is an enjoyable exercise. In doing life drawing with a pencil, the artist has to keep certain technicalities in mind, the proportion of the various parts of the object to be drawn or painted.

You should have an image of the object in your mind. Then start giving shape to that mental image of yours. Let that image being animated on paper; let it gets enliven through the tip of your pencil. That is creative drawing. Your artwork, the pencil drawing would not resemble the real object in all respect. In the beginning that would happen. But enjoy whatever is coming out of your heart.

The line drawing, the placement of objects, the use of pressure while drawing: these will be the aspects, which would be getting defined through the process. Controlling the pencil, allotting proper areas to the different limbs of the object to be drawn, where to put the light and shade: these would be the factors, which would become clearer and clearer in your mind through constant practice.

Value Drawing in Portrait Making: In pencil drawing, shading is an aspect that exploits an artist’s best skills. The creative shading of the pencil can create a picture as beautiful as in any other medium like watercolour and oil colour. Shading in pencil drawing is just like putting different tonal values of colours. The total value of the shaded area could refer to the respective colour of the real object.

In painting, by selecting a proper colour and applying that colour in different tonal values, a painter animates his or her mental images on paper and canvases. But the artists using the only pencil has to recreate the effects of falling light by doing different shading only. To try showing the three-dimensional look by shading is called the value drawing. It is the opposite of the line drawing. here there would be no lines, the different areas and planes of the drawing would be marked by the changing value of the shades only. The above portrait is one of the nicest examples of such value drawing. 

The Rose Leaf 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti

WONDERFUL PENCIL DRAWINGS:  Jane Morris, Pre-Raphaelite Muse " Dante Gabriel Rossetti is the artist who had drawn the above pencil drawing. He was an English poet and a painter of the mid and late 19th century. The lady who had sat as a model for many of Rossetti’s paintings is Jane Morris. In the pre-Raphael period, the painter chose their near relatives as models for their painters, especially the female models.

In pencil drawing, shading is an aspect that exploits an artist’s best skills. The creative shading of a pencil can create a picture as beautiful as in any other medium like watercolour and oil colour. Shading in pencil drawing is just like putting different tonal values of colours. By selecting a proper colour and applying that colour in different tonal values, a painter animates his or her mental images on paper and canvases.

FROM PENCIL DRAWING TO CANVASEvery painting has its cradle where it takes its birth. The stage of pencil drawing or any other drawing can be called the cradle of a painting. When an artist put a first stroke or a line on canvas or a drawing paper, the final artwork is said to be conceived. All the great artists have used the wonders the stick of pencil can do. Peter Paul Rubens was the one who used the art of drawing to its fullest extent.

Pencil Portrait of Isabella 

When a painter like Rubens makes a portrait of a woman, first of all, he would think about injecting the grace and the charm the woman is possessing. But a master artist would love to give more to the eyes of the viewers. The pencil portrait given here is one of the greatest drawings in the history of the art of drawing and painting. It is done by Rubens. The lady portrayed was his wife, Isabella Brandt. 

When we look at the portrait in oil colours, based on the above pencil drawing,. We can see the glowing charm and the grace on the face of the woman. But if we look at it with more interest, and with an artistic eye, we can feel that the artist was not only painting a face; he was recreating the wider meaning of the model and its beauty. [All the images are in Public Domain, taken from Wikimedia Commons]


Let me talk about some lines about me. When at the age of 40, an artist in me had started waving his sides, from left to right and vice versa. I took a pencil in my hand, even if I had wowed not to do that at any point in time in my life. Yes, I had decided not to look at the world of art. The only compulsion for doing so was this: I was married and my better half had shown her disintegration with the art of painting. But after two decades of my struggle-full and blissful married life, I had to find out some element of courage within me. Thus start doing paintings was the show of my first rebel against the domestic freedom-less-ness I was suffering from. This is enough about me. Now let us start the real talks.


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