Adding texture to drawings.

In recent drawing exercises, I wanted to add some dimension and texture to portraits. This is mostly done using a variety of line shape, line size including length and thickness. We can also use line in shadowing areas or changing the direction of the shading.

My husband recently gave me a book for reference so I could improve my sketching and drawing skills. The book by Paul Calle, “The Pencil” copyrighted in 1974 by North Light Publishers, is a true inspiration. The book showcases a variety of his drawings and illustrations which he uses to demonstrate a variety of skills. Paul says “his study of wood engraving had the most influence on the technical direction that my drawings have eventually reached.” One technique he uses is using patterns of strokes that lead the eye and give volume to the body or object. Paul includes a chapter on values and textures with illustrations of various lines and patterns to practice. He talks about paper texture, and suggests using a variety of pencils.

I am not reproducing any of the samples in the book, though, I am suggesting that you find a copy for yourself. (If you can find a copy).

Instead, I am including a couple of my drawings where I tried out some of the techniques.

These subjects were both elderly and had lots of wrinkles that added to the line and texture. The drawings were from photographs, I found in my stash of drawing subjects. On the female subject, I tried to capture the texture of the velvet collar and variety of line direction, light and dark to capture the plaid of her jacket. It was fun adding a variety of marks to render freckles, hair, eyebrows, and shadows. For the dark background I used a 6b black watercolor pencil and a water brush to form diagonal brushstrokes to direct the eye. I tried several tools to make the white fly away hairs, including pen, colored pencil, erasure, but the most success I had was acrylic white diluted with water and dabbed in places.

The patterns of shadows in the jacket and shadowing on the face and neck were rendered in a variety of graphite pencils in HB, 3B, and 6B. In some places I used a stump to blend. It was fun learning how to add the wrinkles with line and erasure. For the freckles and hair stubble I used pencil point and squiggly marks with HB and 3B. It was difficult capturing the eyes, because they were so squinty and the photograph didn’t show any iris. I mostly used line and shadow to depict the shapes. At the last minute, I decided to add a watercolor background. I added some purple to add contrast to the dark blacks.

I hope you can find this book. If not, see if you can find some of his artwork online. In 1962, Mr. Calle participated in the Air Force Historic Art Program and the Artists in the Park program initiated by Mr. James E. Webb administrator of the National Space and Aeronautics Administration. Calle was fortunate to be able to produce illustrations of some NASA rocket launches and the first astronauts into space. Some of these are reproduced in Calle’s book. Have fun with this.

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