Tag Archives: Pencil

Drawing tool, and process of rendering


Cherry-sketch_web  Graphite on bristol paper 8″x8″

One very hard thing for any artist to do is to justify or explain drawing a finished something for no reason, for no outcome, or even for no income.  Especially when there are so many other works we intend or need to do, want to do, and have set ourselves to do.  It is a great challenge to pick up a pencil, have the muse come and make you want to do a drawing that you just can’t say why you should, or what it means or even that it means anything at all.  Like doing a cherry (when I know I should be doing the other thing I also wanted to get done).  I do many drawings like that; actually, most of my work starts like that.  This “cherry” is one of them.  I have done enough like this that they may actually become a series.

On the other hand (or mind), we get swept up in just doing a “cherry” drawing for no purpose.  Then, at some point that sketch becomes a drawing and begins to demand some serious time in order to make it “good enough” to lift it up from a sketch, not discardable and not make you wish the time had been better spent.  That is when that drawing becomes a rendering. One could write a whole book on that moment. Then several years or so after you have spent that time, stuffed it into a forgotten place, re-stumbled across it, you then decide to post it on the internet of all places.  This “cherry” image has been stuffed in the bottom of a drawer beneath “good drawings” until rediscovering it yesterday, and I said, “There is my next post, I actually like this drawing.” I hope you do, too.

So I have this stack of “time spent drawings” tucked away, and only a few of these will see the light of day.  There are “better” sketches wishing to become renderings; they have their own sketchy personality and will probably forever remain as they are, too.  Time spent will most likely be on new responses to the muse.  Most often a sketch begins with a #2 “yellow” pencil.  Using graphite allows a drawing to progress beyond a sketch, it can go the distance and hold up over time.  So nowadays, as soon as I think a drawing can go the distance, I switch to a graphite or more expensive pencil tool, get on bristol board or illustration paper and continue.  I have learned this; keep good paper and drawing tools nearby.



Blue Walking Bridge

walk-bridge-fish_webBlue Walking Bridge located in Canal Park in Duluth, MN and spanning the Minnesota Slip. 8″x9″ graphite on illustration board with “Iron Fish” insert 5″x5,” also graphite on illustration board. I have sketched and illustrated several versions of this bridge and its “fish.” The Iron Fish sculptures are a pale green, mounted on concrete pedestals. The walkway is made of heavy timbers.

This bridge is known locally as the Blue Bridge in Canal Park because, well, it’s blue. Local folks and tourists love it and the local government wants it replaced (to say they dislike it is understating it). It is aging and becoming unreliable and costly to maintain. I am enchanted with it on several levels. First, it has artistic charm, and then it has artistic un-necessary embellishments (the iron fish). It is cool to watch it open and close by going up in two halves. The bridge connects two sections of Canal Park that both have visit worthiness. It is functional and adds greatly to the ambiance of the area in which it “resides.”  At night, which few stay around to see, it is a grand view of reflections of both light and buildings. Sometimes glassy reflections of returning small sailboats and fishing boats. This is where the harbor tours dock and depart, creating tens of thousands of bridge users to come and enjoy.



Chili Peppers in Rococo Sauce

Chili Peppers in Rococo Sauce (8.5″x14″).

This was originally a pencil B/W doodle scanned into photoshop and colored. It was a half sketch (that is, only half of the design was drawn, copied and flipped, then stitched together to make a “whole”).


This is the B/W original drawing- half sketch pencil work. The grey tones were added with felt tip markers, and black areas and outlines done with Papermate felt tip pen.


I use it in my screen saver slide show!