For Christmas, I subscribed to art lessons at The Virtual Instructor for a year and have completed my first course, The Secrets to Drawing, and also followed along with a live, weekly lesson. So far, I, truly enjoy the classes. I’m gaining skills and filling in missing pieces of my understanding of art.
I bought four Stillman and Birn sketchbooks for my notes and projects while I follow along to the videos. The recent live lesson series focused on graphite and white charcoal on gray paper. I used my new Tombow graphite pencils, a Conte white pastels, and my Nova S&B sketchbook with gray paper to draw this rhinoceros.
This lesson was important because it taught me how to layer different grades of graphite, and using white for highlights was also interesting. (Graphite can go over charcoal, but charcoal cannot go over graphite.) I decided to use this process on a sketch of my own, so I used a photo of my horse and his friend playing in their pasture. I tried out a new paper, Stonehenge, which I love. The texture is like vellum, but it’s somehow crisper, if that makes any sense. This sheet was tinted a warm gray color, not as dark as Nova. I used my Tombow pencils and the Conte pastel. This was a super fun drawing, and I especially enjoyed drawing the texture and patterns of the horse blankets.
I followed the same process as my other Claybords by using an acrylic background, colored pencils for all the drawing, and scratchboard techniques for highlights and details for these two 6″x6″ pieces.
I’ve become fascinated with sketching birds, so I’m making an effort to learn more about them. Artist and naturalist John Muir Laws has numerous lectures on nature journaling, and I’d recommend them to anyone who wants to improve drawing animals, trees, insects, etc.
Some very, very fast equines (and goats).
And I used one sketch of Pete as the basis of a painting with water soluble graphite and graphite pencils: