Quite often, I am asked questions in regards to how my work is created. Therefore, I thought I would present some of the more frequently asked questions to help provide insight into my artwork.
- What is graphite? Is it the same as charcoal? Drafting pencils are made of graphite, and offer a wide variety of flexibility, as they come in a number of grades. The grades are configured in a range of hard to soft. Generally, hard pencils draw lighter lines, while soft pencils draw darker, wider lines. The grades range between 9H (hardest grade) to 6B (softest grade). Charcoal, on the other hand is created from burned wood, and formulated with binding agents into several different forms. The difference is simple. Charcoal is usually always one shade, and quite messy. Graphite offers several shades of grey and is quite clean in comparison.
- Why graphite? I choose to create my artwork with graphite pencils because monochrome work has always encouraged me to engage my imagination. Just like the old “Life” photos, I want my artwork to capture the viewer’s attention, imagination and emotion.
- How many hours does it take to complete a drawing? Every drawing is different, but they all start out the same… Before I actually start a drawing, I usually envision what I want the completed artwork to look like. Sometimes, it will take me several weeks before I feel ready to begin a drawing, and sometimes I feel ready immediately after I think about it. Therefore, once I begin, if I have thought it out thoroughly, it spills out on the paper quite quickly. The challenge for me is getting the drawing out on the paper exactly as I have envisioned it. If it starts to take shape perfectly, it usually gets done quickly. “Quickly” is relative. Quickly is usually within 20 hours. When things don’t take shape as effortlessly as I would like, it may take quite some time. Usually when this happens, I pull it off my drafting board and put it away. The longest drawing has taken me over 70+ hours.
- Where do you get your ideas? I am lucky enough to live in an area surrounded by horse and cattle ranches. And, I have a vivid imagination. Sometimes if we are visiting an area, I might see something that I think would look fantastic used in a picture with this or that, and so I will take the picture and save it for later uses.
- Do you do more than one drawing at a time? Currently my studio is limited on space, so I usually only have 1 “active” drawing at a time. However, if I feel stuck on a drawing, or lose interest in my progress, I usually pull it off of my drafting table, and come back to it at a later date.
- What tools do you use? My tools are fairly minimal. If you were to take a walk through my studio, you would find a drafting table, a roll of masking tape, a kneaded eraser, a sturdy white Magic Rub eraser, a few rulers and triangles, a pencil sharpener and sandpaper board (for sharpening just the tip of the pencil), a fine brush (for dusting off the eraser residue) a T square, and a variety of drafting pencils (ranging from 8H to 6B). Fairly minimal, I think.
- Are you able to create a drawing from a picture? Do you do commissions? Yes, I do commissions, and I can work from a picture. However, it is sometimes helpful to have more than 1 point of reference. For example, I was once asked to draw someone’s grandchild. The picture that was given to me had the boy smiling much different than he did in real life. More importantly, the boy used to grind his teeth, so his smile with his pointy teeth made him much cuter than the picture that was provided to me. When I completed the drawing, the Grandfather was so pleased to see that his smile included his pointy teeth. I’m not sure that I would have succeeded as well without meeting the boy in person.
- Do you do payment plans? Yes, I am more than willing to work with anyone who is in love with one of my drawings.
- How do you lay out your drawing? For some, it is difficult to understand that using a graphite pencil to create the entire drawing has challenges. One of those challenges is white. To draw white on a graphite drawing, you must plan ahead and leave white. To view a drawing in progress, check out my link, which shows the progress of a dog and butterfly drawing, titled “Captivated.”
- What is a quick draw? Have you ever done one? A quick draw is a timed event, where artists race against the clock to complete works of fine art. The auctioneer introduces each of the artists, while each artist starts from scratch to create a painting or drawing. Using a model, photo, or just their imagination as a guide, the artists have exactly 45 minutes to work while bystanders watch. When time is up, they have 15 minutes to frame their paintings. Then the real fun begins as the auctioneer begins the auction chant, and allows the audience the opportunity to grab up the newly completed drawing. I just recently completed my first quick draw event this year, 2009, at the Death Valley Invitational Art Show. It was incredibly scary and a hoot at the same time. I can’t wait to try it again!!!