Tag: silverpoint

Sketchbook Sketches

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Toned paper is more fun than I had imagined. I love practicing animal sketches from the old Walter T. Foster art books. They’re geared more toward oil and acrylic but I make do.

I keep practicing textures from the book 101 Textures for Colored Pencil:

Here’s the start of two metal point sketches, a little bunny and a mossy tree. I bit off more than I can chew with the tree, however. The detail is overwhelming. The bunny is on mineral paper, and the tree is on watercolor paper with the traditional silverpoint ground that came with my kit. I’ve found it’s very hard to photograph metalpoint because it’s shiny and reflects light.

Silverpoint Sketch

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Metalpoint is an interesting medium. The stylus is silver (or gold, copper, brass, etc.) instead of graphite. This method dates long before graphite was discovered and used. I bought a set of two silverpoint pens, one with a thin stylus and one thick. I’m sketching on mineral paper. Plain paper won’t catch the metal, and so the surface needs to be prepared with gesso or something along those lines. Mineral paper, however, is a fine metalpoint surface on its own.

It’s a slower process than using a pencil, but the effect is light, airy, and shimmery. It doesn’t smudge and lasts for a very long time. Some metals tarnish, and this silver sketch of my horse will probably turn sepia as time goes by.