Two of the most popular black and white drawing media are graphite and charcoal. Both come in different sizes that can offer you the means to create incredibly detailed drawings. Black and white drawings have been used for courtroom sketches, fashion design, comic-book illustrations and technical plans.
Graphite: Black and White Basic Drawing
Graphite typically comes in two forms. You can find it in the form of pencils or chunks. The latter is usually used for covering large portions of a canvas in less time.
There are three types of graphite pencils commonly used in artistic and technical drawing.
- B Pencils. These are soft graphite pencils that leave significantly darker marks on paper. They range from B to 9B which is the softest category.
- HB Pencils. These pencils are considered to be more general purpose. They’re not too soft or too hard. They are commonly used in any technical basic drawing.
- H Pencils. The H pencils have a long-lasting sharp tip. They are made of hard graphite and they are measured similarly to B pencils, from H to 9H. The higher the number, the harder the graphite and the lighter the mark it leaves.
Similar to graphite, charcoal also comes in two forms. It can be found as pencils, sticks or chunks. The different sizes contribute in their own way towards drawing lines or creating shadows. Charcoal is one of the best tools to use when you want to draw in rich, black color.
Technical drawing is sometimes easier to learn than artistic drawing. It is an acquired skill that begins with helping you understand technical specifications. It then teaches you how to represent on a canvas, usually paper, either specific parts or buildings.
Depending on your field of expertise, your technical drawing can also reflect the functions of machinery. Such drawings are also used by electricians and plumbers and can depict the electrical grid or water supply network of an entire city.
Although many of these large drawings are made on computers these days, technical drawing by hand is still taught in prestigious universities. Knowledge of basic drawing and technical specs also helps people understand large blueprints made on computers. Construction sites, for instance, are not known as places where you can carry a large screen with you to constantly check and modify the plans.
There is a clear distinction between creative drawing and technical drawing. One allows you to use your own creativity, while the other dictates your every line by a specific set of rules. There’s no debate as to which one is more fun.
It’s no mystery that some people have an easier time representing on paper what they see in their head. While it comes easier for some, it doesn’t mean you need to be born with a pencil in your hand to achieve the same result.
As any other skill, artistic drawing is teachable to everyone. And, like any other skill, some will pick it up faster than others. It’s all about how much you care to invest in sharpening the skill.
Basic Drawing Techniques
There are a few basic drawing techniques that you need to learn in the beginning.
It’s important to familiarize yourself with what types of paper serve best for a specific medium. For instance, thin paper works great for graphite pencils but is not absorbent enough for charcoal.
The way you hold your pencil or piece of charcoal matters. The accuracy and speed of your drawing is influenced by how firmly you hold you pencil and how it is positioned in reference to the canvas.
There are different shadowing techniques for portraits and landscapes. There are also different techniques depending on what medium you use. Employing the right one is essential if you want to draw an accurate representation of a person or a location.
Line weight is particularly important to understand if you want to convey a 3D effect in your drawings. Shadows alone are not enough to trick the eye into believing your canvas is alive.
A Good Starting Point
The Secrets to Drawing is one of the most successful online drawing courses. The course offers HD video lessons and e-books that illustrate basic drawing techniques and advanced techniques. It focuses more on artistic drawing than anything else.
It’s a good place to start learning and also a good place to continue practicing even at an intermediate level. The lessons offer a good amount of insight for total beginners and in-depth guides that can sharpen the skills of talented self-taught artists.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that an artistic basic drawing course will only benefit you on the cotton canvas. It’s true that technical drawings require less freehand, but you still need some lessons in spatial representation to fully understand technical drawings.
Sometimes it takes a creative mind to do a proper detailed 3D representation of an engine. So, if you plan on being an engineer or an architect, you might still benefit from basic drawing lessons as those offered by “The Secrets to Drawing”.