Hello my Artsy friends...hope this day finds you well and inspired.
Now no further delays...for my new...news, funny choice of words (chuckle to myself).

For the New Year I have decided I would like to share with you my process...how I begin, work through and finish a drawing.  I have been asked numerous times to do this but wasn't sure I could put it down in words but with photos I think it is possible.  

Every Thursday I will publish a new installment of 'Draw With Me' (I couldn't come up with a clever play of words for this weekly endeavor..darn) I will post the progression of a new drawing from choosing materials such as pencils, paper to photographing your subject and of course the weekly growth of the drawing.  I hope you will drop by to see how I'm getting along.

So to begin I usually gather all my materials in one place...my subject, paper, pencils, tools and figure out what I'm going to need for this particular drawing like in the photo above.  I usually have an idea in my mind of how I want a drawing to look but often it will take on a life of it's own as it develops...I love that.  The drawing I will be starting is a Heirloom drawing...baby shoes.  You can see what this is at the top of my page, centre under the title.

If you like please join in and start a new drawing yourself, let me know how it's going...I would love to hear.

If you have any questions about my drawing or materials please ask...I will do my best to answer if I can.

I'm so excited to get started...I'll see you next week and we'll talk about choosing paper.


Draw With Me - Week 2

Hello my Artsy friends...so glad you had a moment and stopped by.

So here we are...week 2...are you ready to choose some paper?  Just to let you know I am a paper fanatic...but that's another story. (sigh)  I will digress at another time.

From my experience I have narrowed down the paper pool quite a bit just out of personal preference and that is what you should do as well.  Try a bunch of different papers...colours, weights, finishes and you will quickly discover which papers will bring out the best of your work and which ones you really enjoy working on. This I think is key...drawing is an experience, something so joyful you must make it the very best you can...it will reflect in the finished work...it will shine.

I tend to go through phases...by this I mean extended periods in which I will use only one type of paper, pencil etc. until I feel I have exhausted all I can from the experience.  This doesn't mean I won't revisit this whole scenario at a later date but if it's working who am I to tamper with it?

This also works if you are creating a series...you want to keep the same feel, the same energy (there is my word for this year) to keep the emotion flowing...to bring it full circle.

So enough about that...on to choosing paper.  The best that I have found that work for my style of drawing is Bristol...smooth Bristol to be more precise...though Bristol vellum works very nicely as well.  My pencil work involves a great deal of detail and using a smooth surface allows me to get into the tiniest of crevasses to create shadow or line.  The papers that I use the most are Strathmore 2-ply Bristol smooth (400 series), Strathmore 100lb. Bristol vellum (300 series) and Canson 100lb. Bristol vellum (Foundation series).  The vellum tends to have a bit more of a 'texture' to it's look though it remains very smooth.

For this new drawing I will be using the Canson 100lb. Bristol vellum...I'll try to show you the texture thing though you may have to head to your favourite art store (oh darn, such a hardship) to check them out for yourselves. (as she skips happily to her car)

Any questions please leave a comment or e-mail me directly

Happy choosing. :)


Post Script:  I have done many a drawing on watercolour paper just to have the texture thing happening and it works fabulously, though a note of caution...it's a little rougher on your pencils and you may end up covered in a dusting of graphite and it gets everywhere...but that's entirely up to you.


Draw With Me - Week 3

Hello my Artsy friends...lovely of you to pop by.  

So it is week 3 and as I promised in my last installment we are going to talk pencils.  You can draw with just about anything...as long as it makes a mark on a surface you're good to go but wait...is it that simple?  Well yes I think it is and I have tried many a drawing utensil...that's where the fun is.

When you enjoy drawing, anything will work but (and there is always a but) not all pencils are created equal.  Your every day pencil is usually a HB and sometimes a 2B.  Pencils are graded on their hardness or blackness.  Some think that the B stands for softness but in truth it's how black the pencil is and for a pencil to achieve it's degree of black it becomes softer so that is the connection.  You can achieve a fabulous black with an 8B.  For me this is huge as I love the contrast between the darks and light...now we're talking.

You also have H for yes hard pencils and F for fine point (more for drafting).  You can buy pencils in sets or as singles.

For years I used Faber Castell pencils just because that is what my teachers suggested when I attended Art School...so...they should know right?  Yes, they are very nice pencils...I still use them though I do use Derwent pencils now as well...I have obtained a nice drawing set, Graphic Soft 12 tin, so for this project I will be using them exclusively to see if I find any differences in how they perform.  I like a new smooth, creamy pencil...I absolutely cringe at a dry graphite or a pencil that has foreign particles (big shiver)

So now we have chosen paper and pencils...next week I'll discuss erasers, stubs and other tools we made need.

Have a great week...dig out those pencils and dust off the old drawing board we'll be starting soon.


PS  There are many many more makes of pencils and if you get the chance give them a try and let me know what you think...I'm always up for new experiences.


Draw With Me - Week 4

Hi there my Artsy friends...so glad you stopped by.

I'm sitting in my favourite chair with my quilt covering my legs in the early morning hours of a Saturday.  The house is so very quiet and still...the time of day I love the most...it's when I do my best thinking (then and in the middle of the night...sigh).

As I said last week we'll be talking about erasers, stubs, brushes (yes brushes) and what ever else we may need to help us with our drawing endeavor.

As with pencils there are many types of erasers which have attributes geared towards different uses.  I'll tell you the type of erasers I use and why.  

The main type I use is the white drafting eraser in a flat rectangle and a pen type.  Both of these are excellent for smooth white paper to lift most graphite completely off (unless you have been adding layers of 8B to achieve a deep shadow) the flat for large areas, the pen type for tighter areas.  Electric or battery erasers use the white as well...these are very handy again for tight areas.

The next is a knead-able...definitely a must.  You know those grey ones that are like Play-doh.  You can shape this to fit in any form and lift out unwanted graphite or lighten an area to add texture or pattern.  There are many more but these are the erasers I use.

Stubs are a must for blending and softening edges (I use to use my finger) and you can get these in different sizes...I prefer the small ones again they lend themselves well for detail.

I know I mentioned brushes and yes I use a goat hair brush...Why you ask?  They are fabulous for brushing away those little bits or eraser, pencil dust etc.  Any brush will do but the goat hair is so soft and gentle...never a problem for you drawing.  I have one for graphite and a couple for coloured pencil.  You can wash them up when they get too soiled to start a new drawing.

Another useful item is the pencil extender.  When your pencils get a little short and hard to handle you don't have to throw them away you pop them into an extender and you 'extend' (ha ha) the life of said pencil. . . I like that. 

Now I don't think I left anything out but I will mention things as our drawing goes along.  

If you have any 'equipment' you use leave me a comment and I will pass it along.

Happy gathering...Sheila


Draw With Me - Week 5

Hello Art friends . . . are you ready to talk about choosing the size of your drawing?

I guess the first thing we need to talk about is what will you be doing with your drawing.  This always is a big question for me.  If it is a commissioned drawing my client determines the size. . . if it is a drawing I'm doing for myself I have to decide on whether I will want to make prints and cards to share.  You can choose whatever size you like. . . a square is always nice though a little harder to find mats and frames.

Many of my drawings I keep to 9.5 x 7.5 size.  This is the size that works well with my scanner which is a standard scanner though I am thinking of upgrading to a larger format just to have more options.

Just a note.  When I was in Art School we were taught that you always give your width measurement first that's why you see that I put longer number at the beginning.

For larger drawings you do have the option of using a company that can scan and print reproductions.  I use this option as well though it requires you to make a bit of an investment, it all depends on the vision you have for your drawing.

So let's get started.  You have your paper chosen and now lets lightly draw our 9.5 x 7.5 box.  You can trim your paper to 11 x 8.5 to fit your scanner or leave as is. . . I will leave mine for now (I can always trim it later)  You can either find the centre of you paper and measure out from there or measure in from the sides.  So from the sides I measure in 1.25 inches from each side and .75 of an inch from the top and bottom.

And now we have our dimensions measured ready for next week when we will discuss photographing our subject.

If you have any questions I'll be more than happy to help.


Draw With Me - Week 6

Hello my drawing buddies. . . are you ready for this weeks topic?  Photographing our subject.

I prefer to work from photographs.  This allows me the freedom to take my drawing with me and work where ever I please.  I'm not stuck to a still life set up.  

I like to use my camera to help with the composition of my drawing.  I can take from different angles as well as using different lighting sources to see which provides me with the best detail and contrast. . . detail is what I love the best.

I have a fluorescent overhead and two adjustable stand lights that seem to be just ideal for my props though you can use whatever you have available.  Sometimes a bright sunny window is the best lighting. . . you need to experiment, different rooms, different times of day. . . find what works with your vision for your drawing.

I like to keep the background light so I often use watercolour paper as my base layer.  I then begin to add subjects to the setup.  You have your main focal point (main subject) and then you may have related or complimentary items.  For this drawing I am going to use the baby shoes and their box (this is the box they came in, isn't that cool)  You may find objects that are related or you can use a single item. . . both ways work, there is no wrong answer.

So here we go.  I'll take photos from all around the subject then load them onto my computer to have a better look.  Once I find the photo I like I can then crop, lighten or darken and clean up elements I don't require.  This may take a while and sometimes I leave it and come back the next day when my head is clearer to take a second look and make sure that's the drawing I've envisioned.

So what do you think?  Not so hard.  Any questions?

Next week we will grid off our drawing.

Happy photographing.



Draw With Me - Week 7

Hello my Art buddies. . . hope your week is progressing nicely.

So last week I chose the photo for my drawing, did a bit of cropping in PSE (that's PhotoShop Elements but you can use what ever program you have to do your editing)  At this point I also convert the photo to black and white if my drawing is a graphite rendering. . . it brings out the depth of tone better I find and makes it easier to determine my grey scale.

If my drawing is 9.5 x 7.5 I will print out my photo the same size (makes for less work when transferring my line drawing.  If there is a lot of detail I will make the grid smaller so I can focus in on the detail.  I find when I don't look at the drawing as a whole and concentrate on one section at a time the shapes reveal themselves better.

So lets draw our grid.  I usually try to use an even number for my grid so being that I am an old school kind of gal I use inches. . . it's just how my brain was programmed (hard to teach an old dog new tricks and all that).  I will leave a quarter of an inch at either side and top and bottom then start my grid from there.  I'm using a one inch grid.

Next week we will begin to transfer our drawing. . . make our line drawing.

So here's a little treat for you.  The Derwent Pencil company sent me a box of goodies to give away so each week I will be drawing a name to win a blister pack of drawing pencils (this week 4 Graphic Soft pencils). . . isn't that awesome?  Leave a comment here on my blog and get an entry.  Join my blog ...get an entry.  Follow me on Twitter and get another entry.  'Like' my FaceBook page and get another.  Easy peasy.  You have until Tuesday at 7pm then I will pick a winner.  Good luck.

Have a good one. . . Sheila


Draw With Me - Week 8

Hello drawing friends. . . hope you are well.  So glad you could drop by.

So this week we will be transferring our drawing using our photograph as a guide.  We have our grid laid out on our paper or in my case, Bristol smooth and on our photo.  I start with the most obvious shapes. . . easiest to block in and then I work my way to the more difficult where the detail is.  I use a rough reference (measurement around square) to position my lines which helps with placement.

Using my Derwent HB pencil I begin in the top left corner (because I'm a righty) and work my way to the right using a piece of scrap paper under my hand to prevent oils from getting on my surface.  Notice that my drawing is light. . . just enough to see, don't be too heavy with your pencil.

It takes some time to do this but I have learned over the years that if you have a good under drawing then the rest is a walk in the park.  Take your time with this process. . . erase and replace if you must until you are satisfied. . . this is an important step in the development of your drawing.  It's also a nice way to ease yourself into it if you've been away from drawing for a while.

Be patient with yourself. . . it's the process that is the most appealing not the finished product.  If you enjoy the process it will most definitely show in the end result.

Have fun with your drawing. . . next week you will see how much I have got done.


PS  Congratulations to Danielle Bernier, the winner of the Derwent drawing pencils from last week's post.  Not to worry I am having another.  This week I am giving away a blister pack of 6 Graphitint pencils from Derwent.  Same as last week, leave a comment, share my post, join my blog, join my FaceBook page, follow me on Twitter etc. you get the picture (no pun intended).  I will make the draw next Tuesday at 7pm.  Good luck.


Draw With Me - Week 9

Hello fellow Artsies. . . are you ready to get at our drawing?

So as I mentioned last week I begin working my drawing from the top left corner as I'm a righty. . . if you are a lefty you work from the opposite side. . . makes sense right?

I start to block in the most obvious shades which gives me a base to gauge my shades.  I like to use my HB pencil (the one I used to lay down my base line drawing) it's fine enough to fill in the grain of the paper albeit smooth. . . the darker and softer the pencil the more it tends to sit on top of the paper.  I find it better to create layers of pencil and gradually build to the dark.  If you try to use your dark pencils too early they are very hard to lift off if you need to. . . the layers will give your drawing more depth.  At the beginning I like to use HB, 2B, 4B. . . save the 6B and 8B (or darker) until the end.

Also, the dark pencils will smear very easily. . . makes a mess of your drawing and nobody wants that.

Keep working on your drawing and I will do the same and we will see how far we get next week.

Happy Drawing

Any questions?  Please don't hesitate to ask. . . I'll see what I can do to help.


PS  The winner of the Derwent Graphitint blister pack for last weeks draw is Heather Williamson of Kanata, congratulations!  This giveaway thing is so much fun let's have another!  I will be giving away another blister pack of Derwent drawing pencils.  Follow my blog, like my FaceBook page, follow me on Twitter, leave a comment or share a post and I will enter you into the draw. . . simple.


Draw With Me - Week 10

Well hello my drawing buddies. . . how goes the creating?

Have you had much time to work on your pencil drawing?  I've been managing to fit in a little here and there though we have had a little sickness running through the house so I must say I haven't accomplished as much as I would like.  

I do have to remind myself and I will tell you too that it is the process of creating which is the most rewarding for me, not the finished product . . an important step in your journey.  Drawing for me is meditation. . . I can escape all the laundry, cooking, cleaning etc. when I sit down to draw and clear my mind even if it's just for a brief period and I think we all really need that in our day.

I am still working my drawing from the top left and fanning out wards.  I will often go back into a section and rework as the mood strikes me if I see something that needs to be tweaked.  Something else that helps me to progress in a drawing is to periodically  'clean up' my white areas to keep them white.  these are areas you have left for highlights. . . they can become smudged when moving back and forth over the area.  Take your knead-able eraser and form into a point or flat (what ever shape you need) and lift out graphite.  Using your small white drafting eraser is also helpful.

So continue working your drawing and let me know how you are getting along.  I'm here if you need me.


Happy Drawing

PS  The winner of the Derwent drawing pencils blister pack for last weeks draw is Susan Hemann of Ohio, congratulations!  This giveaway thing is so much fun I'm going to do another!  I will be giving away another blister pack of Derwent Graphitints.  Follow my blog, like my FaceBook page, follow me on Twitter, retweet a Tweet, leave a comment or share a post and I will enter you into the draw.


Draw With Me - Week 11

Hello my Artsy friends. . . how are you faring this week?  Spring has sprung around my neck of the woods. . . it is lovely to see the birds return and to see the snow disappear.

So we are continuing with our drawing. . . just working away at each section, reworking and adding more depth with our 6B-9B pencils.  It's the contrast between light and dark that gives you the depth in your drawing. . . it is where the interesting stuff is, what draws the eye.

As I work my way around my drawing I begin to erase my grid lines so they don't interfere with what I'm doing.  Really the grid was there just for placement, for my basic drawing, as I add my detail the grid is no longer needed.

I am using more of my darker pencils now, concentrating on leaving the highlights white and keeping those areas clean (a little bit of a challenge but if you keep aware of it right from the beginning, covering areas with a scrap piece of paper as you work will help).
I hope you are enjoying my drawing lessons as much as I'm enjoying sharing my process with you.  If you have any questions please ask away.

Keep on drawing. . . you're doing a great job.


PS Yes, I'll be doing another draw for a blister pack of Derwent drawing pencils this week but first the winner for my last post is . . . Patti Agapi of Orillia, Ontario. Congrats!  If you would like to be in on this week's draw leave a comment, follow me on Facebook or Twitter, re-post this post or follow this blog then I will have a name to put in the hat.


Draw With Me - Week 12

Hello and welcome my Artsy friends. . . Spring has sprung, how is it looking in your neighbourhood?  We are having a summer heat wave, it has been just glorious with 27C temps.  It's like having a holiday without having to go anywhere.

I have been progressing with my drawing nicely, maybe not spending as much time as I should but I just had to get outside and enjoy the fabulous weather we have been blessed with.  I have completed the toe of the second shoe, scuffs and all, along with the scalloped detail and now I will head into the lace detail. . . there's not much left to do now.  I worked the box as I have come along to limit my hand drag over the shoes themselves.

When working the shadows I like to set my drawing away from myself so I can look at the darks as shapes, I get a better idea of where they lie.  I continue to erase my grid as I work and I will go back into an area to add more depth with my 6B. . . it's all about the details now. . . I love this part.

We are almost finished. . . keep working. . . you're doing a great job!

Any questions?  Ask away. . . I'm here to help.


PS  The winner of last week's draw is Rosa Yorke of Orleans. . . congrats!  I will be having one more drawing for this post.  Leave me a comment here or become a member, follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page, leave a comment there and your name will be entered in the draw.  Good luck!

I will leave the background white, I want to focus on the shoes. . . draw attention to them only.


Draw With Me - Week 13

Hello and welcome my Artsy friends, hope you are having a productive week.  Our weather turned cold again so I am back in winter mode though our snow is all but gone so that is nice.

So lets jump right into my drawing.  I must apologize for not accomplishing as much as I had promised last week. . . this gum surgery has slowed me down a bit.

I did managed to finish the shoe box and completed a good portion of the laces which takes longer as that is where the detail sits. . . I want to get them just right, it is the focal point for me.  I also have erased most of the grid lines now as I only need a few on the shoe itself.

I do tend to got back into an area if it catches my eye to add a little more shadow or depth but you have to know when to stop to. . . you don't want to over work it.  

It is good to take a break from you drawing for a period, this will give you some perspective.  Sometimes when you stare at something too long you loose sight. . . you need to look at the big picture.  This also helps when there is an area that may be giving you trouble. . . step away for a while, it will be clearer (honest) when you come back.

Keep working, you're doing great.


PS  The winner of last weeks Derwent Graphitint Pencil blister pack is. . . drum roll please. . . Wendy of @littlenevabakes in Virginia, USA.  Congrats Wendy!  Since I didn't complete my drawing this week I think I will give away another Derwent Pencil blister pack.  Leave me a comment, follow me on Twitter, like my Facebook page, join my blog page here and I will enter you in the draw.  Good luck.


Draw With Me - Completed

Hello and welcome my Artsies. . . can you believe I have completed my Baby Shoe drawing?

Well there you have it, you saw it at it's birth, through it's adolescence and finally here at it's completion. . . I am happy with the end product though I am never totally satisfied. . . there always seems to be just that little 'je ne c'est quoi' that is elusive but I imagine every artist feels that.

Once I felt I was finished I did go all over my drawing and erase down all the white spaces to clean it up. . . that's a fun step. . . it's like sweeping the kitchen floor after the dishes are done and the table is cleared. 

I will continue to tweak a little more here and there. . . adding a few more darks to my shadows and erasing my whites but I am very close.

You can use a fixative spray to help seal up the graphite though I don't always do this, I don't find it necessary. . . it is entirely up to you, I do recommend that you do a little research first.

I hope you have enjoyed my little step-by-step as much as I have enjoyed sharing with you.  I think I will begin another drawing very soon so stay tuned.


PS  The winner from last week's Derwent pencil draw is Laura Daub. . . congrats Laura.  Thanks to all of you who took the time to stop by and share my little classroom. . . I loved corresponding with you all.  I see more giveaways in the future so make sure you stop by.

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