Artsy Fartsy Friday: Graphite Self Portrait

Steve MerrymanArtsy Fartsy Friday4 Comments

Graphite Self Portrait

A graphite self-portrait entitled, “When I Had Hair But Only One Shoe”.

Graphite Self Portrait
Now I have many shoes, and no hair. I ask you, is that progress?

In 1989, I had just moved to Spokane from the Seattle area, having been hired as a staff designer at a small liberal arts college that shall remain nameless, although it rhymes with “Bitworth”.

I knew no one in Spokane at the time, so I spent a LOT of time drawing to amuse myself. Also, I spent a fair amount of time drinking alone in various bars around town.

Perhaps that’s where I left my shoe.

Graphite drawing was always my favorite. I did it a lot in high school and college and became quite good.

A delicate hand is required for the type of graphite drawing I enjoy. It took a while for me to learn not to press too hard, but to lightly work the graphite into the texture of the paper. Darker tones are achieved with softer pencils and gently pushed deeper with harder pencils.

The great thing about graphite drawing is it’s so simple. I really only need two things: paper and pencil.

For a pencil, I began using a special drafting tool in college, one with replaceable leads (called “lead holders”, not mechanical pencils, which are different). Various versions have been in my arsenal ever since. Currently I’m using an Alvin “TECH DA” lead holder. It’s got nice balance and weight.

As for paper, I often switch between watercolor paper (when I want a rougher surface) and Bristol board (for a smooth surface), depending on the project.

After an extended break from drawing, I have recently picked up my graphite pencils and am once again drawing for fun. I still love it. Makes me wonder why I ever set them aside.

Previous Artsy Fartsy Friday Art:

Boris at Six Months | Fortress Rock | Deep Water | Writer Falls | | Spring Flowers | Sleeping Dragon | Grim Bloomsday Runner | Blind Dog Video | Joining the Marines | Remembrance

4 Comments on “Artsy Fartsy Friday: Graphite Self Portrait”

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