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Graphite for Scientific Illustrations

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Graphite Workshop guidebook - A thoroughly explained and didactically illustrated guide to graphite technique, specifically focused on its possibilities for scientific illustrations.

The guidebook is intended to support the practices of students before and during my workshops, but is surely very useful for anyone interested in the technique. The video lesson available on Yotube (links within file) also provides complementary demonstrations and further information (inclusion of English subtitles to the video is still in progress).

Publicada em: Arte e fotografia
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Graphite for Scientific Illustrations

  1. 1. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 1 GRAPHITE AND ITS POSSIBILITIES APPLIED TO SCIENTIFIC ILLUSTRATION WORKSHOP GUIDEBOOK – FREE DISTRIBUTION – SALE PROHIBITED (COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Despite being available for free distribution, all rights are reserved. Neither the whole nor separate portion of images or text can by any means be published, edited or included in other texts without consent of the author) Written and illustrated by Biologist and Biological Illustrator Rogério Lupo Technical and linguistic review on English version kindly done by Botanical Illustrator Bobbi Angell Course content: - Methods for accurate oobbsseerrvvaattiioonn ooff lliigghhtt aanndd sshhaaddooww aanndd aallll tthheeiirr ssuubbttllee nnuuaanncceess - Methods of sharpening, handliinngg aanndd mmoovviinngg tthhee ppeenncciill ffoorr aann iimmpprroovveedd aapppplliiccaattiioonn aanndd ffiilllliinngg wwiitthh ggrraapphite - Use of delicacy in drawing ffoorr eeffffiicciieenntt uussee ooff ttiimmee,, ggoooodd ffiinniisshhiinngg aanndd pprreesseerrvvaattiioonn ooff tthhee iinntteeggrriittyy of the paper - Methods for total filling with sshhaaddee iinn aa ggrraadduuaall mmooddee ffrroomm lliigghhtt ttoo ddaarrkk ttoonneess - Practical rendering of textures aanndd ddiiffffeerreenntt ccoolloorrss ooff oobbjjeeccttss rreepprreesseenntteedd aass sshhaaddeess ooff ggrraayy;; rreeccooggnniizziinngg lluuminosities, reflections and contrasts; practiiccaall aanndd ffaasstt ffoorrmmss ffoorr tthhee rreennddeerriinngg ooff hhaaiirrss aanndd tthhoorrnnss.. - Prevention of errors, paper deffoorrmmiittiieess aanndd iirrrreeppaarraabbllee ddaammaaggeess Prerequisite to workshop: Some good understanding of observational drawing is desirable Advice: This guidebook, informative and fairly complete on its own, is complemented by a video lesson (in Portuguese; English translation in progress) which clarifies several aspects through practical demonstrations. Additionally, the video discusses subjects not covered below and provides demonstrations of procedures that would be too complex to be explained in words. Although not yet translated or subtitled, it is worth watching the demonstration parts for they surely will be of some help visually. Should you not understand Portuguese I encourage you to skip my speeches towards scenes of practical demonstrations (at least until subtitles are added). Whenever relevant, you will find links within the text to specific moments of pertinent demonstrations in the video lesson. Find the entire video in this link (remember to subscribe to the channel to get updates): https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU If you like this work, follow my page on Facebook and Instagram to get updates about new guidebooks and artworks and to purchase originals, prints or make a donation. This is greatly appreciated and will also help the continuity of this sharing of knowledge. Feel free to request friendship on my personal profile on Facebook too. Also my blog, although in Portuguese, may be somehow useful. Blog: www.rogeriolupo.blogspot.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/RogerioLupoArteCiencia Instagram: @rogeriolupo_bioarte Original version in Portuguese of this guidebook can be found here: https://pt.slideshare.net/bioartes/apostila-grafite
  2. 2. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 2 Table of contents Section Page Practical aspects………………………….………………………………………………….….. 2 1. Pre-course exercises…………………………….…………………………………………. 2 1.1. Soft-edged smudges……………………….…………………………………….…….. 2 1.2. Defined forms………………………………….………………………………………...... 2 1.3. Gradient……………………………………………………………………………………..... 3 2. Technical details…………………………………………………………………..…..…….. 4 2.1. Types of graphite and grades of pencils……..…………………………..….... 5 2.2. Pencil sharpening……………………………………………………………………….... 5 2.3. Pencil position and graphite grades versus shading texture………... 6 Section Page 2.4. The influence of paper…………………………………………………………………… 8 2.5. Pencil movement…………………………………………………………………………… 9 2.6. Applying graphite: a method………………………………………………..………. 11 2.6.1. Important remarks..………………………………………………………………….... 14 2.6.2. Dark, matte, less reflective objects…………………………………….………. 15 2.6.3. Graphic representation of different colors in grayscale tones…..... 16 2.7. Change of graphite grade…………..………………………………….…………….. 17 3. Materials…………………………………………………………………………………………. 19 About the author…………………………………………………………………….………….. 20 Practical aspects The suggestion is to begin the study of this booklet by following the initial series of exercises of section 1, aiming to diagnose eventual difficulties and challenges in achieving what is proposed. But be it emphasized: blending “stumps” will never be recommended. If difficulties arise there is a series of specific sections further to address practical details of the technique, all intended to guide the search for solutions. Read it carefully (always having pencil and paper ready to apply what is said, which helps understanding), practice with dedication and always aim to reread as the practice develops and deepens. The practice of these proposed exercises is indispensable and will allow the course to be more efficient and focused on addressing questions that go beyond practical issues and skills that require time to be developed. 1. Pre-course exercises IMPORTANT: For those who lack any experience whatsoever with graphite it is suggested, before starting the exercises, the reading of sections 2.1, 2.2 and 2.5, as well as the first two paragraphs of section 2.3. 1.1. Soft-edged smudges: fill in evenly with graphite some small, random, undefined areas of paper, aiming to refine finishing to the maximum so that strokes are diluted and merged, seeking the disappearing of single strokes in a smooth and homogeneous texture. The suggestion is to begin with close parallel strokes (hatching), aiming to merge strokes as you refine the practice. The use of crosshatching (not perpendicular, but at slight angular differences) improves the uniformity of the filling provided that one is able to avoid leaving coarse traces of pencil strokes. Until one becomes proficient, it is preferable to avoid crossing strokes, doing it only when one manages to obtain good uniformity of filling. Be willing to work without excessive commitment, with freedom to err and no specific intent other than filling small portions of paper with graphite. On each smudge choose a different direction of strokes and keep that direction − vertical, horizontal, diagonal to left, to right −, always without moving the paper in order to practice different hand movements. The idea is to create graphite stains that are regular, smooth and homogeneous, and that the application of graphite in these stains has an evenness of tone, without either coarse traces of strokes or unplanned textures. 1.2. Defined forms: after accomplishing the first stage described above, define some areas such as angular figures (triangle, square, rectangle) or circular and elliptical ones, and try filling in their interiors in a completely uniform way
  3. 3. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 3 with strokes in the same direction, avoiding marks, gaps, rifts or stains at the edges or the interior of the figures (this challenge requires searching for personal solutions, but reading section 2.5 can help a lot here). Do not consider that the square is sufficient and the triangle would be dispensable; rather notice the difference in the difficulties of keeping uniformity of shade when the angles to be filled are more acute, as is the case of triangles. This practice provides much improvement in technique; however do not be overly demanding to yourself. Observe the somewhat rough examples below so that you do not overdo the search for perfection nor be too critical in your self-assessments. * Link to the precise moments in the video pertinent to the exercises: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=1564 1.3. Gradient: once a good and even texture is obtained in the exercises, fill in more areas the same way, but now try to create gradients of light and shade. These gradients can and should be of various types from long to short, that is, either there may be continuous and slight variation of tones (the shade becomes just either brighter or darker as you advance) or abrupt but always with gradual micro-variations (the shade brightens, then darkens, brightens again, but never without gradient in the transition). The textures of each area, light or dark, should always have the uniformity obtained in the exercise without gradient, but now seek uniformity in the gradient zone as well. What varies is the shade, but the uniformity of filling has to be present, avoiding marks, gaps and rifts. Reading sections 2.1 and 2.6 will be of immense help in achieving the effect demonstrated by the example below. The figure above shows the SEVERAL STAGES of ONE AND THE SAME rectangle that has been filled with successive overlaps of graphite. This practice is quite often misunderstood and most students present all these rectangles drawn “verbatim” as we see here. Remember you just need to do ONE rectangle that OVER TIME will pass through all these stages. You do not need to preserve the first stage and start again to do the second one, as you would not ever draw a new tree every time you had to darken its shade, just to preserve all stages of your drawing (unless you were producing a workshop booklet…); rather you would just shade over it again and again and the same goes for this rectangle exercise. For a better understanding watch the video lesson suggested (link to the precise moment in the video pertinent to this exercise: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=1943), for the demonstrations will visually clarify several points. Notice in the figure above that in the first phase (the lightest one, to the left) the object was entirely filled with a quite mild layer of shade (pencil H) which is regular and uniform in practically the whole area, but shortly and gradually it fades just near the top of the rectangle. The second layer was applied over the first one in exactly the same even way (still with pencil H but not exerting much pressure), but it gradually fades towards the top just below the gradient left by the previous layer. Note also the constant diagonal direction of strokes. Choose to your practice the direction you prefer and maintain it (direction of strokes may be not visible in printed version, but you can zoom to see it in your screen in the PDF version).
  4. 4. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 4 The third phase was done with HB pencil, slightly and in the same exact way, but the gradient zone retracts a little further. So one applies layer upon layer (changing pencils according to the guidelines of section 2.7), always smoothly fading just before the region of the gradient of the previous layer. The last layer (extreme right figure) was restricted to the lowest portion of the rectangle, applied with a 6B pencil, fading out early just as it began to come up. So the darkest shade of the whole rectangle is confined to its lowest zone, made by a layer of 6B over all the layers applied before. Should you find some difficulties in creating the gradients of the exercise above, observe the example below. On the figure to the left, as if it were a representation of an object with distinct edges, there is no concern about softening the end of each shade. Thus all shades end up abruptly little before the previous one. Here I used the same method of gradual filling in described above, layer upon layer, but with discontinuous tone at the edge of each layer. Note however the subtle differences among the three rectangles above. They are similar figures, but in the central rectangle the transitions between the shades were slightly softened and a micro gradient was added in each transition. Even so notice the evident difference in the final outcome between the central and the left rectangle. In the one to the right the smoothing of the transition has been stretched even more, almost to the point of disappearing; however there remains a certain "hint" of the existence of a transition. All these situations, added to the previous and next demonstrations (of a soft and long gradient, or a short and abrupt) are present in nature in multiple variations. The figure below suggests an exercise for after you have succeeded in obtaining a good smooth gradient: aim to make more abrupt transitions alternating short and sudden gradients in order to obtain proficiency in the representation of broader ranges of subtle and short gradients of shades. My suggestion is to fill at least two to three A4-sized sheets with all these exercises above, not all at once in one day but over several days, so that there will be time for the body to assimilate and improve subtle movements and tactile sensations. The sheets should be saved so the students can evaluate their own development and take them to the course to exchange experiences and resolve doubts. 2. Technical Details Before we enter technical details, consider this fundamental observation: there is no such thing as a “right” (or an ultimate, absolute) way of sharpening, holding and moving the pencil, applying graphite on paper etc. No rules whatsoever, because the diverse techniques and methods arise exactly out of the freedom of artists to discover and experiment. There are only experiences, knowledge and perceptions of the result as well as the essential focus on the relation between use and result (i.e.: what you achieve according to how you handle and cope with the material). What really matters is to have the maximum knowledge of possibilities and results and to take the most appropriate action in each case. The suggestions below reflect my own personal experiences, but they can and should be subverted, expanded and developed by each person’s experiences or even be totally eliminated if they seem not to suit the personal intentions of the student, especially if they do not feel comfortable when applied.
  5. 5. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 5 2.1. Types of graphite and grades of pencils To understand details about the numbered and lettered grades of pencils, H, HB, 2B etc., which ones and how to use them, read the articles below: https://www.thoughtco.com/h-and-b-pencil-numbers-meaning-1123175 https://cwpencils.com/blogs/news/131980803-beginners-guide-to-pencil-shopping-a-guide-to-grades Briefly explained, ‘H’ stands for "hard" whereas ‘B’ stands for "black". An H grade is harder, therefore lighter, leaving less graphite on the paper and making finer lines, whereas a B grade is softer and leaves more graphite, making bolder and darker strokes with less force applied. Numerals indicate that the pencil is getting harder as numbers get higher in H range or softer as numbers get higher in B range. Thus 2H, 3H etc. are increasingly harder graphite providing lighter lines, whereas HB is a middle ground, and 2B, 3B etc. are pencils getting softer and providing increasingly darker lines. The denomination “F” is said to be suited to fine lines and contours, but its graphite has the degree of hardness similar to an H, HB or B, depending on its manufacturer so I have never felt the need of using an F pencil. There is no universally fixed standard and each manufacturer presents a different degree of hardness in a 2B for example, and even different product lines made by the same company can present huge variations within the same denomination of grade. 2.2. Pencil sharpening When the pencil‘s tip is too acutely sharpened it becomes hard to control and blend the marks of strokes, and when it is too worn, thickened and rounded, it becomes impossible to avoid the paper texture dominating the results. The suggestion is to sharpen it carefully but without getting an exceedingly sharp tip. The bare graphite should be increasingly thinner towards the tip to a large extent (about 8 mm), but at its extreme point the suggestion is that one always aims for a sort of roundness (kind of micro roundness). I usually employ the sharpener only in cases the graphite has been broken, aiming to remove the wood and getting to a new portion of bare graphite. Otherwise I just improve the worn pencil with a sharp stylus by removing some splinters of wood and then chipping the graphite to work on the tip, thus arriving at the result as illustrated below: long, increasingly thinner graphite towards the end with its ultimate tip somewhat rounded. The video lesson cited in the introductory page provides a demonstration of the sharpening that can be useful even without the understanding of language – here is the link to the precise moment when sharpening is demonstrated: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=1276 This way of sharpening usually helps keep the tip somewhat unchanged while working for a long time before it needs to be sharpened again, except in case of softer pencils from 4B onwards which demand more sharpening. Furthermore, this micro roundness on the extreme tip provides uniformity of filling even after the pencil is a bit worn. This is desirable because the optimal even result in graphite shading is not provided by an acutely sharp tip, rather by a tip that has been used a little bit. This proposed sharpening is about having the tip always as though a little worn regardless of having just been sharpened. Likewise, it is also about having the tip always as though just sharpened regardless of being a bit worn. This is obtained by constantly rotating the pencil and feeling it to search for micro portions of the tip that provide the kind of strokes we want to obtain or maintain, either a bit thinner or a bit thicker. Nevertheless, one of the most necessary behaviors is to pay constant attention to the condition of the tip, taming any lazy tendencies, sharpening whenever it is needed and thus maintaining the pencil always in somewhat the Keeping the ultimate tip always micro-rounded tends to avoid differences in the quality of strokes which occur when the pencil is sharply pointed, for as sharp tips wear out, the traits of strokes change
  6. 6. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 6 same condition. When the tip becomes too rounded (hence thick) the precision and evenness of filling are always jeopardized. By holding the pencil in the recommended position (sections below) the tip tends to redo itself during use, always remaining a little sharp though rounded solely at the ultimate extremity. Hence these manners of sharpening and holding the pencil are themselves a form of taming the sloth. 2.3. Pencil position and graphite grades versus shading texture The way of holding the pencil can make a huge difference in achieving better control of weight of the hand, therefore having control of the delicacy of shade as well as of the softness and gradualness of darkening. The suggestion is that the pencil should be held not near its tip, rather the fingertips should hold the pencil in its central portion (assuming it is a new pencil), and then the hand may slide forward or backward according to what one feels necessary while seeking lightness or precision of strokes. Thus it is not so much the hand that exerts force on the paper, but rather it is the soft weight of the pencil itself exerting the force. When the pencil is held farther from the tip, the inevitable small variations of hand strength are diluted by a lever effect, improving the chances of keeping uniformity. When the pencil gets too short from sharpening, a pencil extender can be used to permit keeping this manner of holding and balancing strength. The angle at which the pencil is positioned on the paper undeniably determines outcomes. Holding the pencil in an overly slanted mode during drawing or shading (about a 10 o angle) makes it harder to control the texture, whose quality becomes determined by the very texture of the paper’s surface. This happens because what touches the paper is not the tip of the graphite but only part of its side portion that cannot penetrate the tiny grooves of texture in the paper. Holding the pencil slightly more erect (that is, less slanted, about 30 to 45 o ), so that the tip of graphite is what touches the paper (even though still in a slanted manner), one is able to obtain more smooth, homogeneous and controlled textures. The texture derived by holding the pencil at 10 o , however, depends on paper traits and can be useful in several cases, but what really matters is having experiences with how to obtain the desired texture and mastering it, thus being apt to decide which angle to use during the filling. The aspect of control and determination of texture can be better understood if we analyze how the technique works within the scope of micro-scale: we must imagine even the "smooth" paper as being microscopically a surface full of irregularities, elevations and depressions. An analogy is the Earth, which seen from afar, seems to be entirely smooth despite its mountains and valleys. When the sharp pencil passes over the "paper-Earth" depositing graphite, its tip will surely be able to penetrate "cracks-valleys" of paper and deposit it there as well. Yet if the graphite tip is too round and hence broader, or if the pencil is too slanted, the graphite will at best settle only on the "hilltops" of paper, leaving the "valleys" blank without graphite. This is what causes the differences in the texture of shading which we see while comparing use of worn graphite (or overly slanted pencil) with the use of sharp graphite (or a more erect pencil). On the same line of reasoning, the harder graphites like H, 2H etc., tend to better penetrate the grooves or even to cause a certain micro-flattening of the "hills" of the paper, and this generates a thoroughly filled texture by widely depositing the graphite. Softer graphites like 4B, 6B etc., tend not to be strong enough to penetrate the grooves or flatten the tiny but prominent “hills”, thus the graphite is deposited only on the "hilltops" of the paper. There still can be an even texture, but there will be more blank spaces within the filling, creating a different quality than perhaps expected. This explains the difference in texture between the use of, for instance, a 2H and a 6B and explains the glow that often arises out of the shading, which will be further addressed in detail forward. Neither one texture nor the other is deemed as “right” or “wrong”; the point is to know what is possible and how to get it. The technique described in section 2.6 below (application of graphite) provides homogeneous filling and mastering of texture control by using harder pencils to fill the entire shade area in the first layers. This works because, before using softer pencils that do not penetrate grooves of the paper, the harder pencils will have such grooves already darkened. A pencil like 2B is included in this category since it provides already a fairly dark level of shade while simultaneously having enough hardness to penetrate grooves. This is the difference in initially filling the areas that are supposed to be dark with lighter pencils, and then gradually changing pencils and overlapping layers, when compared with using just a 6B and getting it straightly done.
  7. 7. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 7 Taking advantage of this same aspect of graphite deposition versus grooves in paper, I usually employ a practical technique when I need to fill a large area with graphite while preserving small structures such as hairs, thorns or even thin, delicate veins (generally just those present in large quantity). Making use of an acute dry polished metal tip, an artistic ball burnisher or even a dry ball point pen, I make furrows on the paper before applying the graphite, thus ensuring that these furrows, which will represent the hairs or thorns that I intend to keep lighter, will not be reached by the pencil tip when I shade. It is also possible that hairs are not exactly white or else have variations of tones given by light and shadow, there being white hairs in the light area and not so white within the shadow. In these cases I usually shade appropriate areas before grooving the paper and only then I will groove it (thus initially representing the light and shade of hairs); or else within the shadow area I cause the furrows directly with a hard sharp pencil, thus already reaching the tone the hair has within the shadow; and then within the light area I cause furrows with a dry point over blank paper which will preserve those hairs as white. Subsequently I apply more intense graphite which highlights the difference between the now dark gray background and the white or light gray hairs of the foreground formed by the paper grooves. This method represents the light and shade not only of the surface of the object, but also the differences shown by hairs according to their position within the light or the shadow. Obviously the shade applied to represent the surface has to be darker than what is eventually found in the hairs, there is no other way to make hairs appear lighter, but of course this rule and the whole method does not fit if the hairs or thorns are darker than the surfaccee oof the object. Another example of hairs made with grooves previously done on paper. This process works only in areas to be filled with graphite. Where the paper has to be left blank, hairs are made with simple thin pencil strokes. This inversion imitates what actually happens visually on the leaves (zoom it in PDF file). Bee hairs made with grooves on paper. In light areas, hairs remain blank by grooves being done before the application of graphite; in slightly or strongly shadowed areas hairs are darker, hence before grooving some shade must be done accompanying the form (zoom in PDF file).
  8. 8. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 8 2.4. The influence of paper There are many papers that may be suitable for graphite drawings and of course the texture of each paper will largely influence the result, sometimes leading to the impossibility of mastering the texture or creating a greater softness than what is allowed by the very surface of the paper. In this regard one needs to research and swatch a lot. Some slightly textured papers may be perfect for certain works and approaches, some others may present sunken and abundant furrows that can hinder texture control. I like the middle ground by the following reasons: graphite needs some texture so that the work becomes more efficient. Overly smooth papers require a much longer time of application of graphite until the tone reaches the desired intensity. Moreover such papers tend to saturate and begin to present small blots, dark spots or "wounds" of the surface, all detrimental to good outcomes and evenness. The somewhat textured papers may advantageously require relatively little time of application before the graphite reaches the desired tone, and the texture also helps to avoid saturation and pleasantly grasps the graphite. Thus the ideal paper seems to be one that does have texture, but a quite even micro-texture. This allows the graphite to be efficiently "plucked" out of the pencil, but also maintains (under our eyes) a certain smooth surface where graphite was applied. In this sense, one of the best papers that I have experimented with so far is the Strathmore Bristol ‘vellum surface’ (although I have not tested, ‘plate surface’ is smoother and appropriate for Pen and Ink, but can provide good results for graphite, it is worth a swatch). When it comes to other brands of Bristol board such as Canson or Winsor & Newton, those suited for Pen and Ink are too smooth and tend to saturate easily. Moreover Canson Bristol for Pen and Ink has an excessively bluish hue that I particularly do not like, for I prefer warmer whites. Acervo Debret, available in Brazil, is excellent, and some papers made by Canson such as C à grain and Fine Face are good, although their texture is more pronounced but still quite adequate (regarding both types by Canson, Fine Face is smoother). It is quite common that papers have different textures when front and back surfaces are compared. They are usually smoother on the backside as is the case with C à grain, Fine Face and Debret (front in single sheets is the surface where the watermark is correctly read; in blocks the obvious front is according to the cover pack). Each country has its own set of papers available, so it is up to the artists to research their own preferences. Besides the already mentioned aspects to be taken in account when doing swatches, one must seek information about the conditions each paper presents with ageing. This is something that only experience over time can provide, but the experiences of others can be very helpful too. It is not uncommon that good papers start showing yellow spots, changing its hue of white and entirely yellowing, or becoming warped as they get old. It is always preferable to choose acid-free papers that tend to prevent yellowing, but this does not grant immunity to a paper, since the environmental conditions of its storage exert the major influence over ageing. Some artists like to use hot pressed watercolor papers for graphite drawings. Some of these can work fairly well, but they eventually may be too smooth and tend to saturate. Cold pressed grain fin watercolor papers would solve that issue since they have more pronounced textures (noting again the differences in texture on both sides and according to the brand). One has also to take in account the sizing of watercolor papers that can exert some influence over the final results, as well as the ageing aspects already cited. Sometimes solely the frontal surface of watercolor papers has been treated with an anti-fungal agent, therefore the backside can be more vulnerable to ageing and contaminations. In this regard, some of the papers that present the best result over time with minimal ageing issues are those intended for pen and ink drawings such as Fabriano 4 or the out-of-production Canson Lavis Technique. Nevertheless, these are smooth, tending to saturate easily. What makes them so resistant over time is precisely a thin layer of gesso that permits removal and corrections of dry Ink. This gesso is a powerful defense against contaminations and ageing, but it can cause some troubles in graphite drawings, for the micro particles of carbon penetrate its tiny pores and eventually some dark shades cannot be fully removed by erasing, hence the paper becomes stained. Not a big deal, but the purest white can become hard to be regained.
  9. 9. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 9 The list of materials at the end of the text offers further suggestions for brands of pencil, erasers, papers etc. with more comments about quality and utility. 2.5. Pencil movement There are of course innumerable methods of moving the pencil when one is applying graphite for shading. For didactic purposes I will synthesize the process down to two basic movements commonly used, which are restricted to the use of straight lines during the filling. There would be other methods such as the movement of making very small circular entangled lines forming something like a tangled thread, keeping light hand until all blank spaces in that certain area are filled. As this filling takes much longer (despite having an exquisite final effect) I will not approach it here. Note that I do not recommend the use of blending stumps (“smudge stumps”) nor manual smearing (in other words "rubbing the finger" over the shading) because personally I do not appreciate the final result of these practices. It is important to avoid skin contact with the paper because it grinds skin oils in with graphite which may stain the paper and will yellow over time. When it then comes down to straight lines in the application of shading, the two movements I will mention are what I call the zigzag and the elliptical. In the zigzag movement the pencil remains always touching the paper and being scrubbed with no interruption, scribing strokes in two opposed directions. In the elliptical movement the pencil tip describes small ellipses IN THE AIR and scribes strokes rhythmically only when it lands over the paper, making a movement that I call "entering paper flying and leaving it flying". That is to say that when starting each stroke the pencil gently lands on the paper in order to soothe the beginning of the line. Then it takes off flying, diluting the end of the stroke at the output equally gently. One can then consistently describe these ellipses in the air, looping and returning to the same movement, landing in and taking off from the paper to perform a movement similar to the one used to whisk eggs with a fork while making an omelet. The figures below illustrate both types of movement: * Since this is one of the points of this booklet that creates the most misunderstandings (for it is hard to be explained in words), I strongly suggest watching the visual demonstration in the video. The precise pertinent moment of the video can be found here: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=204. I prefer the elliptical movement, for it allows better evenness and control in the application of shade and the splicing of adjacent shaded areas becomes easier and softer. Zigzag movement raises the unwanted effect of spots caused by the changing of direction of strokes. There is always graphite accumulation at the angles of the "Z" made by the pencil during the movements. Furthermore the margins of the filling become abrupt and truncated, whereas the elliptical movement naturally forms gradients at margins. When one tries to even up the result of zigzag by applying more graphite there is an over friction on the same areas of paper, what brings up a few more undesirable small spots, as well as propensity to overshoot and darken too much during the process of alleviating spots. Once spots arise, the only way to avoid this darkening and excessive In the elliptical movement the pencil touches the paper only at intervals; in zigzag the tip remains touching and scrubbing the paper all the time* Compare differences between filling by use of the elliptical movement (left) and zigzag (right). Notice the differences in the splice between the areas filled separately.
  10. 10. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 10 friction is by working in a handcrafted way, correcting the stain by darkening a little further from the exact point where it ends toward where it is lighter. In order to avoid all this need for minuteness I prefer to start doing right, that is without staining. Despite my preference for the elliptical movement, zigzag works in some cases. As is true for all techniques, what seems eventually wrong or inadequate may be the most correct and appropriate in many cases. In the examples above, for instance, we would already have a good solution for when we need to represent textures such as that found in the square to the far right, which can certainly occur in nature. Concerning the direction of the strokes, there is no wrong or right pattern. We each need to determine the way it feels most comfortable, be the stroke done from left to right or vice versa, from the bottom up, from the inside out, or whether the pencil takes off and comes back to where it took off from − moving alternately one side to another like a pendulum... this is all about personal choices. Usually I tend to do strokes in the same direction in each layer, but due to a lot of practice I am able to cross strokes in the overlapping layers, working gently though, thus improving uniformity to achieve a homogeneous filling without marks. When I draw leaves, I choose the direction that is consistent with patterns that I see in the leaf itself. Thus in the first layers, which determine general light and shade, I may choose strokes parallel to the central vein, and as I get to finishing I may change direction according to secondary veins and then even change again according to the tertiary ones. But occasionally I can choose from the beginning to accompany the direction of secondary veins and maintain the same direction in all layers, that is, each little portion of the drawing has its own direction. These choices depend on visual evaluations of the strength of patterns found in the organism and on my intuition of the best direction. The same goes for animals, shells, furs, feathers etc. Once developed, this skill of crossing directions of overlapping layers dilutes the strokes in one another, a method that ends up dissipating the vestiges of strokes and leaving the impression of a single even and unmarked mass of graphite. Many artists cross strokes in several nearly organized directions and keep all of them relatively apparent, generating a balanced and beautiful result. This, I repeat, is mostly about individual choice and involves personal aesthetic sense too. One should also consider the interests of the commissioner or researcher and even the publisher, so that the final result is coherent with the needs of faithfully representing the scientific aspects of the object or organism. The elliptical method is very helpful when you have to create, for example, a gradient around a shaded area so that it becomes only a kind of smudge, smoothing and lightening up towards any direction (as proposed in the exercise examples of section 1.1). Yet when it is necessary to apply shade within a defined area with no gradients around it I usually start at one edge towards the middle of this area, taking the pencil off when I reach the center. Then I start again working from the opposed edge towards the middle again, merging all strokes in the center as shown in the example below: Many people have a hard time in this exercise trying to precisely start each stroke of shade at the edge of a contour line, hence the shade near the line may present irregularities and rifts formed by the set of strokes that started irregularly there (see example below). This can only be solved with much practice, after which the strokes end up more First layer of graphite applied within defined shapes. Two examples to the left were done with elliptical movement, the others with zigzag. All the strokes here started at the edges toward the middle, where the pencil takes off mildly when the stroke is about to meet the opposite one. This is how the splice is soothed to an even filling in.
  11. 11. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 11 evenly done, starting precisely at the contour line. After some good practice it is also possible to fill the irregular area near the contour with strokes done crosswise to the first shading, which can now be parallel to the very contour line (link to the pertinent moment of this demonstration in the video: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=1664). I consider it important in my own shading procedure to maintain a more or less constant rhythm and speed during the elliptical movements and the filling in with strokes. For instance, when I need to fill a certain area, initially I am not so much preoccupied with fully filling all blank spaces. Instead I just try to set a constant speed with which the hand rhythmically moves and scribes, then I have strokes applied at the same interval so that they end up being parallel and equidistant by the effect of the standardized pace. The next overlap of shade may have the same traits as the first layer, however the strokes would not be precisely in the same direction but rather very slightly shifted, which results in a final uniformity of filling after successive layers. 2.6. Applying graphite: a method When it comes to applying graphite on the paper there may once again be many ways of doing it, but I will stick to my own method because I believe it leads to faithfulness of representation, yielding a better final result and prevention of major errors. The method is about overlapping layers of graphite, beginning with lighter (harder) pencils and gradually changing to darker (softer) ones. The suggestion is to begin observing and precisely identifying the area (or areas) of full light - whatever be the object - or the area(s) whose tone has the most luminous value (not necessarily bright or white, but the lighter or the least dark tone). If it is very bright an area (in relative terms, that is it can be considered as the white of the paper), it will be preserved without any application of graphite. This will be called zero tone, i.e. without graphite. It is important to note that the area of full light can either be quite defined and precisely located (as is the case of reflective and glossy objects) or very broad, diffuse and not precisely defined (as is the case in matte objects). Once the lightest areas are recognized, one must apply uniform shade with a hard pencil (H or even 2H) to the entire object, except in the area of full light (zero tone). At this stage, the proposal is that all the nuances of lighter of darker shades be absolutely ignored. All shades must be filled with the same uniform shade that is slightly darker than First strokes of an initial layer of graphite starting irregularly out of the contour line, forming a pattern of blank voids that by effect of contrast tend to intensify where they are not filled along the overlapping of new layers. Correction of irregularities made only in the left lower half of the figure by strokes parallel to the contour line, crossing those of the previous layer. After some layers are applied the traces of strokes tend to dissolve within each other. First layer applied with rhythm keeps equidistance between strokes. A second layer was applied only to the upper left part of the figure having slightly shifted strokes in relation to the first layer. Notice that this procedure forms a regular pattern. This tends to lead to a fully uniform filling after several layers of strokes in similar directions. The lines of the basic drawing of the object are made with light pencil, and subtle lines indicate the areas of reference for the application of shade and preservation of areas of light.
  12. 12. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 12 the zero tone. Concerns about grayscale variations are ignored, and all that is important for now is to preserve the area of full light and apply a uniform pale shade on the rest. Thus in this first phase only two areas are defined in the drawing: the full light area (or areas) and the rest entirely filled with the same pale tone; hence is a bitonal drawing with zero tone and a quite pale tone 1. One must notice and have very clearly in mind that the actual brighter area or areas of any reflective object is usually a small portion of the object, being widely expanded only in matte objects. It is worth remembering that the eventual gradient in the meeting of tones (zero and 1) must be accurately represented. Whether it is a gradual or sudden gradient, it should already appear on the drawing. This being done we now aim to recognize in the object, and preserve in the drawing, TWO areas that will be respected from now on: the area of full light already preserved, called the zero tone area, and the pale shade area (tone 1). Therefore we need to seek in the object not only the area of light (zero tone) but also the area (or areas) where there is the tone value 1, preserving both in the drawing as we darken new portions of the object by overlapping further layers of graphite. Probably without changing pencils yet, we will then apply another layer of shade with the tone of value 2 overlapping the former layer, but now without invading either the zero tone area or the area (or areas) where the object presents the tone 1. These two tones, and only them, must be respected now. Once again, regardless of differences in tone, the new layer must be totally uniform. The differences will show up as we continue preserving tones and reducing the areas where we will overlap new layers. Remember, eventual gradients in meeting of tones must continue to be represented. It is important to understand at this point that the numbers here attributed to grayscale values have no relation whatsoever to the type of graphite used. Tones 1 to 2 can be made with HB pencils while the tones 4 and 5 can be made with a 2B pencil. There is no such thing as default or standardized tones, for the values I use are just a way of naming tones, invented here for mere didactic purposes. What is important is to know how to visually differentiate tones in the object, represent them in the drawing and respect their spaces. Once darker tones are applied one usually needs to return to areas of lighter tones in order to apply some touch-ups, for as we darken the drawing by applying stronger shades, the relationships between tones changes. One can expect to have thus far a three-tone drawing: the area of zero tone (full light), the tone of value 1 and the tone of value 2. It does not matter whether there are further shades darker than the value 2, they will be worked on later. It is a work made by stages. So far, any tone darker than the tone 2 should be ignored. The transition between the pale shade applied overall and the area of full light should be done with a delicate gradient similar to what is seen in the real object. There is no concern with differences within shades thus far; rather the sole focus is to differentiate what is full light and what is not. As we apply more graphite the light tones of the previous layers appear to get lighter and almost always need to be mildly retouched. In this second layer some portions of the veins were already left untouched, but as the general shades hereafter will darken, these veins will need more shade and touch-ups.
  13. 13. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 13 The next step is to repeat the same exact process: one must recognize the area or areas where the object presents the tone of value 2. The application of another overlapping layer of graphite will preserve also the tone 2 as it is found in the object. At this point it may be necessary to change pencils to use a softer, darker one, but that depends on the hand pressure we are exerting. We need to change when we are starting to put too much force over the pencil, therefore the time to change may even have come earlier. This is thoroughly detailed in the section: 2.7.: “Change of graphite grade”. Perhaps now with a pencil HB (or maybe 2B: one must evaluate it by experience and according to the type and brand of pencil used) we then begin to apply the layer of tone value 3, leaving untouched the other tones already observed: zero, 1 and 2. This work continues: recognizing tones in the object, representing and respecting them in the drawing, changing pencils when necessary. Throughout the filling, the applied tones interfere with each other. This means that when working in dark areas with 4B pencils, for example, the contrast may cause soft tones like 1 or 2, as initially applied, to change or even lose their shade qualities. Depending on the contrast it may even happen that the tone 1 visually equals the zero tone because of the interference of a dark shadow next to them. This is something the mind has difficulty to conceive but it is observable along the practice. In these cases the drawing requires touch-ups of the tone 1 so that it darkens a bit to enhance the zero tone and the difference between both. It may also happen that we have interpreted something as tone 2, for example a reflex within shadowed area, but if it is placed between very dark shades it will shine too brightly if remaining as tone 2 and should therefore be darkened. Then it was actually a tone 3, 4 or even darker. A good example of such a case in this leaf is where we have the thin veins placed between dark tones: at first sight they may appear to be tone 1 or even zero. But this is because they are surrounded by dark shadows. If they were left blank they would shine excessively, thus throughout the work I have applied several layers of tone correction over them. I insist in emphasizing this point, for it is the cause of lots of visual misinterpretations and confusing final results that I observe even among professional illustrators. The more we continue working toward darker tones the more restricted are the spots occupied by these tones, for we must preserve the areas of light and half-tones previously applied. The last layers, done with darker graphites, are restricted to small spaces for finishing. They usually "light up" other tones, especially those near them, which need to be retouched with more shade when they are not supposed to remain blank. This was the case here to the thin, clear veins.
  14. 14. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 14 2.6.1. Important Remarks It is necessary to have it quite well understood whether each preserved area (be it the full light or any shade) is or is not defined by gradients throughout its surroundings, and then we aim to apply the graphite in order to dissolve and brighten the tone as the shading approaches preserved areas. There may be a long gradient or a sudden short gradient, but in most cases there is always some gradient (eventually a micro-gradient) between one tonal area and another, as long as the object has no sharp edges (see section 1.3, 4 th paragraph). It is important also to remark that some objects can be very reflective, such as the body of certain insects that glow like metal or the surface of certain leaves that strongly reflect sunlight. What determines the intensity of reflectivity of objects, or in other words, that which conveys the impression that the object reflects light well, is exactly the proximity that darker tones can have of areas of light. When an object is reflective like metal, what characterizes this reflectivity is the fact that there are very restricted areas of full light and relatively strong contrast between the area of light and the neighbor areas, sometimes with a sudden gradient between dark and luminous areas. Furthermore, the object with metal-like reflective features presents, amidst the shadowed area, many luminous areas of indirect reflections of light coming from surrounding objects. But almost invariably these reflections are far from being as bright as the area that receives and reflects the primary source of light (unless there is another light source). This implies that even when the object has other evident lighter areas such as indirect reflections, these cannot have the same luminosity value as the brightest area (or areas – for the full light area might be split) of the object that is directly reflecting the source of light. The area (or areas) with the most intense incidence of light must be isolated at its full luminosity value (this is true for any object). In the two first filling layers represented below (two figures to the left), nothing was preserved except the zero- value tone, or the full light reflected. The darker tones were neither sketched nor even mentioned. The drawing remains bitonal. The white-toned fillet to the left of the head light reflection (see photo) is the reflection of a white object next to the metal, not visible in the photo. Even though this band of reflection is bright, it was filled with graphite up to the second layer because it could never be as luminous as the reflection of the primary light source (sunlight, in this case). Albeit simple, this is a huge key to shading. Only by the application of the third layer (third figure above) did I preserve this bright fillet caused by the reflected object. Notice in this third stage that such reflection was not achieved by erasing but only by darkening the surrounding area. I therefore respected, in the application of this layer, the zero tone (primary light source reflection) and the tone 2 (reflection of white object on the left side). The tone 1 was not useful and therefore was entirely overlapped by tone 2, for objects like metal have strong contrast and fewer amount of lighter shades. The rest of the object continued to be filled with shade until the 4-value tone (4 th figure above to the right). Even the relatively bright reflection to the right, which comes from the illuminated ground (see photo), was fully filled up until this very dark 4- value tone. Thus far this reflection remains as though ignored. During the application of the next layers, the darkest shades will preserve the area of light (zero tone) as well as the areas of tone of values up to 4 that are already distributed in the object. From now on the darkening will also preserve the indirect reflections (reflected objects) as is the case of that one to the right just mentioned, next to a reflected dark shadow which comes from a black object (not visible in the photo) to the right of the metal. But only in
  15. 15. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 15 this final phase will we be concerned with the darkest tones, always attentive to preserving the brighter indirect reflections of light placed amidst darker tones. On the figure to the left the darkening was global, but now it has preserved (besides the other shades from tones zero to 4 already mentioned) the reflection of the ground to the right of the object. This makes it clear that the "bright" tone of this reflection is determined only by the power of the dark tones near it. Again it was obtained not by erasing but only by darkening the surroundings. The subsequent processes are exactly the same but with increasingly darker tones, preserving ever more subtle either wide or narrow areas, always maintaining delicacy in tonal transitions. The need to preserve areas of half-tone and indirect reflections of light requires the darkest shades to be restricted to increasingly smaller spaces. However even if the different tone values appear to be well defined as streaks, there is a kind of micro-gradient in their meeting which we want to represent. It is important, curious and beautiful to notice that just as the strong dark shades enhance, bring out and/or highlight indirect reflections, they also do the same to the area of direct incidence of the light source, which seems to light up and glow brighter as the object in general gets darkened. This demonstrates that an object looks ever more reflective and glossy the greater the contrast it presents and the more indirect reflections it brings within its shadows. 2.6.2. Dark, matte, less reflective objects: If I consider the lightest area of the object as being too dark to remain as the paper’s white (generally so with matte surfaced dark objects), then this dark-lighter area will simply be transferred in its concept: instead of being considered a zero tone area (without graphite) it will be an area of tone 1, maybe 3 or even more. It means that even the lighter area of the object will be already dark in the drawing, and there will not be any blank paper within the drawn object. Thus at the very beginning of the drawing either the area of light and the others will be filled with graphite altogether, up to the point that it reaches a tone with no distinctions that is similar to the tone seen in the lighter area of the object. This implies that some matte leaves, which have an area of light already darker than a tone 2 for instance, will be entirely filled with a uniform gray of graphite promptly in the first layer. Thenceforth I follow all the procedures detailed above with the sole difference that the area that would be zero tone becomes here an area of tone 1 or 2, but it will still be deemed an area of light, since it is the lightest one in the object and so will be respected and preserved as we overlap darker layers. Its light, however, will only begin to show up as darker layers are applied, and by effect of contrast even a “bright” area that is filled with tones 3 or 4 conveys an impression of being illuminated when it is near very dark tones, as we saw with the indirect reflections in the former section 2.6.1. These somewhat velvety leaves present almost no area of fully reflected light. All lighter areas are darker than the blank paper except on rare small portions. Thus, before any differences in tones were made, the entire leaves were filled by a uniform first layer of a bland dark tone which would later on become the tone of lighter areas.
  16. 16. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 16 Some objects, it is important to note, may be neither matte nor less reflective, but when they are placed within shadowed or dark areas, they will visually present the same traits described above for matte objects. This implies that within shadows the lightest area of bright objects may become too dark to be preserved in the drawing as the white of the paper. This is another simple but huge key to achieving an accurate and realistic drawing with spatial depth. 2.6.3. Graphic representation of different colors in grayscale tones Before deciding to represent colors using grayscales one needs to recognize something quite subtle in an object: the difference of tones between colors regarding their luminosity values. It takes an accurate observation to realize that even two colors as different as red and green, or violet and orange, can present the same luminous quality, that is, the same tonality. This means that although they look quite different when juxtaposed, a black-and-white photo would make the difference unnoticeable. It would be two kinds of gray with same luminosity, same tone. In such case the rendering of colors as grayscales may exist, but it will be more of a symbolic one, a kind of “illustrative lie” and thus different colors will be represented by slightly different shades of gray. When the colors have an obvious difference of tone between each other, their representation as shades of gray becomes a bit easier just by recognizing the darker and the lighter color. Whatever the case, either when the colors already have differences of tone or when we will contrive these differences on behalf of the visual representation, the procedure is the same; that is, we use differences of tone values to differentiate them. Therefore the lighter color may have its own brighter area represented, for instance, as zero tone value (blank paper) and its more intense shade darkened to tone 4. The darker color may then have its brighter area represented as tone 2 or 3 and its darker shade is led to tone 7 or 8. It is then determined in the drawing what I call the lighter/darker within the light and the lighter/darker within the shadow. This difference renders the colors of the object as consisting of shades of gray. Not only colors but also high relief was represented in this ivory and umber seed The leaves to the right have wide longitudinal lighter bands crossed by darker thin ribs where the leaf veins are passing. There are few places where paper is left blank in the drawing, for even the whitest areas of leaves have tones of light and shade. Tone differences within green go along with differences within white, but green has always a darker tone value, either within light or shade. The flower to the left has purplish petals with white in the center. Even so just a few small areas of this white portion were preserved as blank paper. There are tones of violet and white within the light, but different tones of both violet and white within the shadow. Even though the shaded white has a dark tone 4, the contrast of a “violet” shade near it having a much darker tone 8 conveys the impression of the existence of a brighter color therein.
  17. 17. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 17 2.7. Change of graphite grade A fundamental question regarding working on tones is to know how to perceive when it is time to change pencils and use a softer (darker) graphite. At the very beginning of shading it is necessary to temper the strength of our hand quite well and, if at first we want to make a very light tone but the pencil is already getting too dark, we need to review pencils and start with a harder (lighter) graphite. Personally I aim to work with a relatively constant hand pressure no matter which graphite I am using. Hand pressure varies little during my work (but of course I eventually force a little bit more, always very carefully), for I prefer to get the desired tones by changing pencils, choosing among harder or softer graphites. Thus I usually start shading by applying a mild layer of a light gray tone using pencil 2H or H until I completely fill in what I need. If in these first stages it is necessary to darken a bit more I apply the same pressure using the same pencil on a new layer overlapping the previous one. The flower to the right has reddish-orange petals turning to yellow towards center. It is important to note that both the lighter and darker color have within themselves the nuances of light and shade that give form and movement to the petals. Here we have represented the highlights and shadows of both the yellow (paler color) and the red (darker color) of the petals. The flower to the left has tones of yellow and amber-brown in its tepals and the light that reflects all along the tepal brightens both colors, but each one has a different response to the light, for the lightest tone within yellow is brighter than the lightest tone within amber-brown. Although being nearly totally filled with gray shade (except by a few areas of full light), the gnarled structure to the right (a fruit) conveys the impression of having a bright color. This is provided by the contrast of the darker foliar structures (bracts) subtending it. The incident light on the fruit to the left is placed over its darker color while the lighter color is placed within shaded area. Even so it is possible to transmit the correct notion of form by representing the different tonal values within each color and respecting their nuances of light and shade, which vary within each color always according to the global form of the fruit. The bland darker markings on the frog to the left may lead to a confusing rendering of the 3-dimensional form if one forgets to establish light and shade – according to the global form - also within these darker markings, which is quite a common error. As explained though, both light and shade within these areas must have tone values darker than the brighter color.
  18. 18. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 18 When using the same pencil for the application of layers on top of each other, the intensity of the hand pressure is light and varies little – I emphasize this. It becomes evident when the pencil reaches its limit under that same light pressure, for the graphite begins to be practically ineffective over the previous shades. That would be the ideal time to even out the filling (if that is the case) by keeping the same hand pressure and same pencil and then removing any blemishes, rifts, gaps or lighter spots. But one needs always to take care not to apply any further pressure, thus also avoiding overworking which risks clawing the paper’s surface. Once the filled area is uniform, and once – held with a light hand – our pencil is no longer effective and seemingly useless, it is time to change pencils and pick up the next softer one. If we are using H we now turn to HB. If we are on HB we move on to 2B and so forth. It is important to emphasize as many times as needed: by the change of pencils it is necessary to maintain the same mild hand pressure or possibly get even lighter, for the newly selected softer graphite can cause a sudden change of tone that may be undesirably too strong. But is this attention to hand pressure all that necessary for a good workmanship and why? My explanation: anyone who works on or appreciates graphite art may be eventually bothered by the famous brilliance it may exhibit in certain areas which are overly saturated with shading. Once again let us turn to technical ‘micro aspects’ to understand why this happens and comprehend the solution I propose (which works for me). Recognition of these micro aspects is always essential for self-taught artists, because it facilitates the work of intuitions about what should be done in the quest for improvements during the development of any technique. Artists are often self-taught to a great extent, for even having learned fundamentals from some teacher we will later on need to search for our own manners and idiosyncrasies in each technique, thus commonly ending up with methods and subtleties quite different from those we have been taught. Back to the point, when we keep a mild hand pressure we avoid in the first place an effect of flattening the texture of the paper. In doing so we are preserving the microscopic elevations, depressions and furrows of the paper, its "mountains" and "valleys", thus in the first place preventing the paper to become locally prone to saturation. Therefore this is already helping to maintain a uniform harmonic paper texture in all areas of the drawing – either filled with graphite or not – what is quite pleasant to be appreciated in an original artwork. Secondly and equally important, keeping light hand pressure prevents the graphite particles from aligning in a flat and polished deposition which is exactly what causes the mirroring effect, hence the undesired bright areas. Aside from the displeasing result on the original artwork, this mirroring effect causes troubles even during scanning, what is discussed ahead. For a better understanding of this process we will resort to an analogy: suppose we have a few billion tons of little carbon stones available to be evenly dumped over a region of hills and valleys so as to completely cover a large area of land. Such stones are totally irregular and each one presents several plane faces like those on raw crystals, but each small face of each stone, although dark, is the face of a carbon crystal and has the potential to reflect quite well the light of the sun, according to its angle in relation to the source of light. If the stones are randomly dumped (in the analogy they are our graphite powder lightly deposited), without being condensed together, flattened or ordered, what happens is that each one among the zillions of stones will be in a completely casual position, all of them reflecting the light of the sun in infinitely different directions, conveying the sensation of a rough, textured and matte surface. However, if we have a colossal object made out of the same material as the stones, but immense enough to reach and intervene on several mountains simultaneously, and if we begin to scrub that object strongly over our stones, in time there will be a compression and an organization of the dumped material going on. Just by sliding back and forth our gigantic object will cause erosion, polishing and planing of the aggregate of dumped stones and all of them will begin to get more ordered, with sleek faces turned upwards so that the whole mass of stones will end up flat, maybe like the surface of a frozen lake. Moreover, the huge carbon object (our pencil in the analogy) will also suffer erosion and drop down many more stones over those already deposited, and these will fill exactly the free spaces between the former ones, also ending up with their surfaces aligned with all the others. The stronger the pressure exerted, the more perfect will be the smoothness of the surface. More compacted, polished and
  19. 19. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 19 reflective, and even the hills and valleys will also be flattened by the insistent pressure of the immense object. From now on, instead of reflecting sunlight in multiple directions, all the organized and polished stones as well as the hills and valleys now flattened will reflect and mirror the light in a more orderly and bright mode. Therefore, on a microscopic scale this is the result of an excessive hand pressure in the application of graphite. Thus, the milder we keep the strength of hand the less likely the particles of graphite will be polished and organized on a perfectly flat and sanded-like surface. The keeping of mild hand and the preserving of both paper’s and graphite’s texture leads to the achievement of a harmonic original artwork, with evenness of texture and of reflectivity traits among areas of light, dark and halftones. Finally it is important to notice that this brilliance also causes serious and irresolvable interferences when an original graphite drawing is scanned, for areas of strong value of dark tones will be digitally read as lighter tones, glowing amidst the dark. This happens because the scanner’s light is reflected back by these areas instead of being absorbed and read as dark areas. 3. Materials We have plenty of stores selling good material, via internet or locally, and many artists share their experiences in websites and videos. Be careful though, because the experience of an artist with any given material can be thoroughly different from yours. Use their tips and hints, but trust only your own tests (that is, question my own hints too). I have seen many artists definitely disappointed with excellent materials, myself included. Sometimes they have tested defective stuff or it is just that they do not find affinity with the results that some specific material provides. Different artists may either worship or curse the same exact material, thus do not be afraid of experimenting. Below you find a list of some useful materials to have during your practice as well as suggestions of brands of the essential stuff, all based on my own experiences; so keep yourself open to subverting the list. 3.1. Use a piece of parchment paper or paper towel under your hand to protect your drawing from your skin oils and humidity that can cockle the paper. And avoid talking over your paper before, during and after drawing, for saliva sprouts can cause yellow spots of contamination in the long run. 3.2. Pencils: (2H if possible) H, HB, 2B, 3B, 4B and 6B (7B if possible). Remember different brands can have different standards, therefore be attentive not to purchase, without swatching, an HB and a 2B from different companies (or from different product lines of the same company) that can possibly present the same grade of shade. Good brands in order of my personal preference are Staedtler, Lyra, Mitsubishi, Bruynzeel, Faber Castell, Caran D’Ache, Cretacolor, Koh-I-Noor. Derwent is a good and soft pencil, but the ones I have tested crumble too much and leave small pieces of graphite on the paper. I remark that rare has been the pencil, even among the better brands, which does not eventually present crystals that grit the paper while stopping to scribe. Some brands get better, some worse, and even the most expensive pencils can disappoint us. Again, we must swatch constantly, rarely breaking relationships definitely with any brand. A mechanical pencil 0,3 mm with a B graphite, for contours and details, is not indispensable but is welcome. 3.3. Soft white eraser: Sakura high quality FOAM or Pentel hi-polymer SOFT. Avoid Staedtler Mars plastic, for it causes excessive friction, harms the paper and usually crumbles off in pieces. 3.4. Kneaded eraser: Milan, Design, Cretacolor, in order of my personal preference among the ones I know. Even if the kneaded eraser is actually made of rubber, do not ever ‘rub' it over your paper or drawing because it leaves tiny invisible residues that damage future shading. This is such a pernickety material (or maybe I am), for it needs to be gummy enough to remove the graphite shading just by the applying of gentle hits over it. But very often even the best companies do not get good qualities to it, and then they may be sometimes too greasy and totally useless in removing graphite. Again one needs to swatch, but always preferring gummy over greasy qualities. If not enough yet, to further complicate this issue, the best Kneaded Erasers I have ever found are those which, although gummy, when
  20. 20. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 20 we slice them they are dry in the portion sliced. They become gummy there again after we begin to mold and knead them for use. The video lesson can be useful in the demonstration of use of kneaded eraser. At first you will see the disciplined and clean use, with molded portions of the eraser removing individual strokes and spots. Later you will see the undisciplined use with the entire mass of the eraser being bluntly plunged or rubbed on the paper (which I do not recommend). The precise moment of the video is on the link: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=2544 3.5. Paper: section 2.4 has already offered some quite detailed discussion addressing various aspects to be taken in account for decisions. There are many different companies offering several types of paper and each one has its own traits, advantages and disadvantages. Personally I prefer the middle ground between textured and smooth papers. Good possibilities are the Strathmore Bristol, Canson (C à grain, Dessin or Fine Face), Acervo Debret, Hahnemühle Dessin Lana. But again, it is worth researching what else you have available in your country, swatch them, and hear other artists’ experiences. Remember to test both sides of each paper for they often present different surfaces. Again, though not translated the free video lesson can help, for at least you will be able to see how I proceed during swatching. Notice in the scenes that some textured papers make spontaneous dark spots arise and this can eventually become inevitable. The outcome can therefore be out of control. The test on the front side of each paper is always followed in the video by the test on its back side. Personally I consider better papers are those which provide a relatively even texture (without unexpected stains) when we apply graphite in a constant and uniform manner as I do in the video. The precise moment of these tests is in the link: https://youtu.be/HP4lCHkDixU?t=2606 Some more useful information perhaps can be found here: https://www.strathmoreartist.com/blog-reader/shading-techniques-selecting-paper-for-graphite.html Thanks for honoring this work and reading. I wish you all the best as you dive into the world of graphite and all its possibilities. Swatch and enjoy! About the authors: Rogério Lupo - I was born in São Paulo - SP, Brazil, in 1970. I graduated with a bachelor degree in Biological Sciences at the University of São Paulo (USP) in 1997. During my college years I also studied classical drawing and art techniques at Escola Clássica de Arte (Classical School of Art), guided by Prof. Angel Martínez. Since 1998 I have been teaching Art and Scientific Illustration to the general public and making illustrations for academic research and scientific purposes. I am currently living in the countryside of Itatiba, a relatively small city in the state of São Paulo, not too far from its capital where I was born. I work in various media and feel not able to choose one as favorite. I am always interested in all drawing and pictorial techniques, and after starting to work on one, I aim to develop and refine it to reach an accurate performance. From this perspective, the majority of my work has been the fruits of self-taught endeavors. My original artworks are integrated into collections around the world and, among my prizes, worthy of note are the Margaret Flockton Award (Botanical Illustration – RBG Sydney, Australia) which I won in 2010 and 2013, and the Margaret Mee Contest of Botanical Illustration - black and white category (Margaret Mee Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), which I won in 2002 and 2003. Bobbi Angell - I have been drawing plants for scientific research since 1978, including many Brazilian species. I first saw Rogerio’s artwork in 2002 when I was asked to draw species related to ones he had illustrated and I have admired his incredible skills ever since. Rogério Lupo
  21. 21. ©Rogério Lupo 2018 – All rights reserved. Sale of this guidebook, either total or partial, is prohibited. Distribution is free. 21 Amazon Scene – Igarapé with “Buçu” Palm (Manicaria saccifera). Graphite, Polychromos colored pencil (Ivory) for highlights, on Backside of Canson Mi Teintes.