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Ryn Shell: Internationally acclaimed artist, formerly of Buninyong Gallery. Author of historical fiction mysteries set in Australia.
Will you start a sketch or visual diary with me?
Would it sound crazy claim that drawing was never one of my great skills, while sharing this image? The thing is, I allowed two weeks to complete a work such as this. I'm a painter rather than a sketcher. I'm not a quick sketch artist.
So returning to using a visual diary feels foreign. But, I'm going to do that—starting now. Will you join me?
A visual diary.
Keeping a visual diary helps you resolve and develop your ideas and can act as a memory bridge. Drawing is both visual and idea orientated. You need both. I've always thought ideas out best with a pencil and paper in my hand. I explain things best with diagrams and words.
Artist’s pencils are made from an inner core of graphite (not lead) and they are of a superior quality to the average pencil used for schools, offices and home use. Expect to pay around $4. to $10. for a single high-quality artist’s pencil, (2019 Australian prices), if you wish to work with the best tools.
The inner graphite core usually referred to as the ‘lead’, comes in various degrees of hardness, from the extremely hard, 9H (more often used by draftspersons than artists), through to a very soft , dark and easily smudged, 6B, more suited to a painterly blended style of drawing by fine artists. See my portrait of Leanne above and this portrait of Sean and son David, below.
Both these works relied on the use of a 2B easy to erase pencil for the initial construction lines, a 2H to clearly mark the drawing once I was certain of the positioning of features then the shading was produced using a full range of the softest and most easily blended of the pencil grades. I consider this a painting once I move into the soft graphite pencil stage and away from the hard pencil line drawing, hard graphite pencil sketch stage.
Sketches in Watercolour pencil by Ryn Shell of an an old homestead an the base of the Warrumbungle Mountains.
The hard graphite makes a paler grey mark and the softer the graphite is the darker it is and usually the thicker the inner core, as thin soft cores break easily.
The extremes of 9H and 6B require the most skill to use so the average art student will find the grades of 3H, B and 3B the ideal to learn with and these are the grades most often used by the artist when sketching.
In the home, school and office the HB pencil, the one centered between the degrees of hardness and softness, is considered the most versatile. Interestingly artists rarely work with the common HB pencil. You may enjoy experimenting with the grades on either side of the standard, HB and you will love the feel of a quality artist’s pencil in your hands. I use Bruynzeel, deign pencils as my preferred choice.
"Ryn Shell is an author and internationally successful award-winning fine artist. Her stories are timeless, her paintings are elegant and beyond fashion"