Category: Art

Using Black Pencils

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I’ve been using the Conte Pierre Noire pencils for multiple sketches as I keep filling pages as part of #sketchendeavour on Instagram.

I bought the Conte Sketching Kit, which has several dark pencils as well as a few graphite and pastels.

After sketching this one of my horse, Pete, I used his same pose in a barn painting. I used pastels and dark drawing pencils on Pastelmat.

I needed to start new new sketchbook as my small 6″x8″ Stillman & Birn is full. I decided to use a bigger size, so I’m now working on 9″x12″ paper. I think it’s a great size for landscapes.

Sketches and a Curious Pencil

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Over the past week or so, I’ve sketched a variety of critters and landscapes, one sprayed with fixative and painted with an orange wash over it to see what would happen:

I’ve been sketching (almost) daily for over three weeks, so of course, with my quest to discover and buy as many art supplies as possible, it was time to see what other type of sketching mediums are out there. I’ve discovered there’s more than graphite when it comes to sketching pencils. There are these curious pencils, hovering between a colored pencil and charcoal, used to get deepest darks.

I spotted a Conte Pierre Noire at an art store and bought a 2B and an HB, and they were so different from graphite that it’s hard to compare them. They’re inky black, they feel kind of resistant or chalky while using, and they smudge and blend nicely but don’t erase to the white of the paper. I’m guessing there’s charcoal in them but also maybe some wax or oil.

What I do know is that I truly love how they feel and how the end product looks. They create a nice, black, matte color. Using this pencil seemed strangely similar to painting for me. I’m not quite certain why, but I’ll mull it over for awhile.

This cute finch looked too severe until I used a kneaded eraser and pulled off some of the dark around its eye.

For this butterfly picture, I decided to use a smudging stick and blended the background flowers. I was pleased with how the directional marks resembled a marker.

This duck was my first attempt using the Conte Pierre Noire. The paper was textured, and I loved how the pencil worked on the surface. The color goes down effortlessly, and it’s easy to vary the value even with one pencil.

More Sketches

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I’m still sketching along with the #sketchendeavour group on Instagram, although I’ll keep sketching even if the group quiets down. I spend between 15 minutes to a few hours a day sketching, depending upon how much free time I have.

I didn’t realize how much I have to practice to gain confidence with accuracy, detail, value, etc.

Yesterday, I suddenly wanted to switch from animals to landscapes. This is an entirely different type of drawing process, so off I go, learning something new. Again. With a goal of combining the two someday.