Earlier today I needed to illustrate something to someone who I was teaching.
It required me to pick up a white Conte pencil to make a small mark on a piece of black paper.
The mark was effortless.
But lead to me quickly covering the paper with small marks, since it was easier still to illustrate the main points in the female figure that was being drawn.
Then it was the pupils turn.
And as I stood behind her, I could see how she was struggling, how the lines weren’t quite right. How they were straight where they should have been slightly curved, or wiggled a bit where they should have flowed, where they were too pronounced when they should have been subtle.
It is my job to teach her, to help, to advise, to explain.
But, for me, it was a good illustration of how I draw compared to a novice.
It isn’t just using a pencil in the way you write with a pen.
The pencil becomes part of me.
Its how I hold my hand, how tight I hold my pencil, the angle I hold it, whether the marks are soft or hard, and the pencil isn’t held rigid in my hand, its held firmly but can arc in all directions because I am not drawing with my fingers, but with my fingers, and wrist, and elbow, and shoulder, and back, and whole body. That’s how an artist draws.
And at the moment I have a hankering, to do some of the white on black drawings I love so much, of trees………………………….