Beorn in carbonite graphite

topdogPet Portraits, Pets 4 Comments

I've been spending a lot of time working on my graphite drawing skills. I'm still not quite where I want to be, but each drawing makes me just a little better… and a little wiser.

Beorn graphite drawing 2 of 5

I'm trying to be more bold with my edges. The drawings I see from other artists who give tonal shapes sharper edges always look so much better than murky fades.

Graphite drawing of Beorn in progress - 3 of 5

Attempting sharp edges doesn't always work for me in the shadow areas. It's a problem I need to solve – how to make shadow areas crisp and interesting but still look integrated with the whole shadow regions. It's hard with Beorn here because his dark areas are so dominant.

In progress graphite drawing of Beorn, 4 of 5

The other thing I've been trying to figure out is an answer to the question "How can I make graphite appear almost black?".

I think I've discovered the answer to that question. If I take a small bit of graphite powder and mix it with a drop or two of water, I can use a paint brush and paint in a very dark tone of graphite. I used that method here on Beorn's eyes as one of the last steps in the final image below.

Graphite drawing of Beorn, final.

Just a little touch of black in the eyes helps define them as the center of interest.

I'm still working on my technique, and trying to be patient with the progress of each drawing. Also, It's hard to maintain good concentration and make good decisions for more than an hour or two at a time, so each session only lasts two hours, then I do something else.

If I were to rate my ability from 1-10 (1 being poor and 10 being where I want to be someday) I'd say this is a solid 6. I have a lot to learn.

This is the fourth drawing I've done of Beorn. The others are okay, but don't really show him as he looks in our memories. This one captures his look very well I think. And The Missus agrees.

We miss Beorn a lot, and this portrait will hang in a place of honor, keeping his memory alive.

Eventually, I may offer graphite portrait commissions like I do digital paintings. But I need to get much more confident before I put my skills up for sale. In the meantime, my digital portraits (printed on stretched canvas and delivered ready-to-hang) are hot sellers and look great.

Love Your Pet Forever

I create custom portraits from your photographs, so you can love your pet forever. I paint all portraits digitally by hand (not photo-filtered) to create beautiful and lasting portraits printed on artist canvas and delivered to your door ready-to-hang.

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