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Learn to draw

Pencil, crayon and charcoal ideal for painting

Pencil, crayon and charcoal are easy to work with because of the multitude of colours and tones available. They also have a great variety of strength.

Pencils have a range from delicacy of F (a draughtsman's pencil) to the heaviness of all or even E. Charcoal and carbon come in great big thick pieces of fine sticks.

Crayon can be hard, soft or waxy and some are even water soluble. The fluidity and the best results of your drawing will depend on the paper you use.

A fine hard pencil will ripple and jump over a heavily textured surface, but will produce a fine line on a smooth paper. You have to choose both pencil and paper according to the final painting you want to create.

Shape

When you have decided on the pencil you want, try to get the right shape. Experiment by holding the pencil on its point or side or at a slant. Each position creates a different mark. To emphasise thin lines use the point but to get a broader stroke, you can use an eraser or a putty rubber.

There are various drawing paper to give different effects and techniques in pencil drawing as well as crayon. By working on cartridge drawing paper the flow of the pencil and the broadness will show the effects of shading without much effort. Any drawing done on sketchbook paper using a 2B pencil gives a pattern and a texture of the whole drawing. To strengthen the strokes perhaps it would be necessary to use a 4B or a 6B pencil.

The drawing shown here of a seaside scene on crayon shows light and colour. Crayons have a lot to offer in terms of freshness of colour and immediacy and work well even with other material. There is a marvellous variety of crayons available, which includes soft, hard and 'scenic' crayons. They all have their own qualities.Crayons can be applied to a variety of paper, including cardboard and toned papers which can glow through and enhance crayon colours. Soft crayons can be broken with your fingers and ground or smudged on to the surface of a paper to create the effect of a wash crayon work well, too over watercolour or etching.

The painting done here is based on applying several colours. Observe the painting, the eye is always drawn to the human figure. On the right the eye travels to the foreground objects which are the huts and to coconut trees and into the main part of the painting travels around from object to object.

The centre of interest is the fishing boat. To make the picture more live, I have introduced two figures in dark tones chatting in the boat. The smoothness of the sky has been achieved by rubbing the chalk with the thumb.

You can also do this with a putty rubber. Manipulating light and understanding colour are important. The strength of colour gives the painting a secret quality. The values in a picture actually affects our eyes like musical notes affect our ears.

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