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Alene's avatar

Pencil Portraiture- Materials

I've been asked so many questions about the materials I use that I thought I'd put this together, and try and answer as many questions as I can within it.
And anyway, I haven't seen many tutorials dealing with materials around, so perhaps it will come in useful for someone. I hope so!
It deals with very basic things, but these are things I had to find out for myself. I figure I should pass them on, and save someone else the trouble.

All in all it took me about 2.5 hours, and was put together in Photoshop CS. I did all the drawing, and took all the photographs myself.
I'm sorry it's so big. There was a lot to put in, and I didn't want to make it too cramped.

Inspired by 's wonderful tutorials, which deal with all sorts of things, rather than just being walkthoughs.

Enjoy =D
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© 2007 - 2021 Alene
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ashigaru's avatar
This is a wonderful tutorial as well as giving great information on the tools you use! Why I hadn't already had this in my tutorials collection is beyond me, but it's there now! Thanks so much for sharing this information! :D
Alene's avatar
Thank you! I found I was often being asked about what tools I used (even by people who could see me drawing live =P) so I thought it would be a good subject to tackle. I'm glad you like it, thanks for the :+fav: too! =)
ashigaru's avatar
I like how you incorporate your techniques in this as well; it's more about how you get the subtle details in your work than the tools, and you give a glimpse into your processes. Very inspiring!
Alene's avatar
Thank you! I think it's good to provide a bit of information on what tools do, otherwise you're still a bit in the dark as to how to use them and what to use them for. =)
wwhimsical's avatar
This is lovely! Definately an amazing find. ;p
This is incredibly useful. I had no idea you could use a paintbrush to dust. That would really help me. :XD: Yes, your anecdotes are b-e-a-utiful.
And alos the comments above, especially the one about the use of cotton balls, have been useful. Thanks guys.
THANK YOU for doing this. I :heart: it.
But now I want a kneadable eraser. :lol:
Alene's avatar
Oh, what a lovely comment! So sweet of you. =) I'm glad this is useful for you! (And thanks for the :+fav:!)
You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a kneadable eraser. Art stores stock them, and I also often find them in newsagents or office supply stores. And they're nice and cheap, too! =D
wwhimsical's avatar
:XD: Ah, you are welcome!
I'll locate one this weekend, I think I'm going in that general direction. Oo
But I have a niggling feeling that I'll just play with it all the time. :lol:
But yeah! Cheap definately is a bonus. :love: :heart:
Alene's avatar
They are indeed good to play with! One of my arty friends would mould them into all sorts of tiny sculptures when she was bored. =)
wwhimsical's avatar
:O That is so awesome.
I really really want one now. :XD:
RoccoBertucci's avatar
Very cool! I use some of these but will have to look into the rest! Thanks!
Alene's avatar
My pleasure! =)
sashas's avatar
Excellent work.
Alene's avatar
Sting2's avatar
Alene's avatar
Majnouna's avatar
That's really clear and detailed, pretty much everything a beginner needs to understand the function, pros and cons of the tools! I hope it's the start of a series ;)
And thanks for the unexpected plug at the end!
Alene's avatar
I decided something like this would be more use than the sort of tutorial that just covers everything step-by-step. I've a few of the more expensive art books that cover this sort of thing, but I hadn't seen any on DA. ;)
I'd like to do more, but I have to work out *how* first - and exactly what to cover in them. I am, though, currently saving screenshots of my latest digital painting, so I can make up a simple walkthrough. I'm using Painter, and I've found the lack of Painter tutorials and walkthoughs out there highly frustrating, so I thought I'd put something together. =D
masteroffortune's avatar
I have been needing a tutoral like this. I am in need of a good eraser...I use a mechanical pencil, with the eraser attached...or I get a simple eraser from a simple store. I'm trying to be good at drawing, and someday be very good with art, and this tutoral will help me alot. Thanks!!
Alene's avatar
That's good! I was hoping it would be useful. =) Thanks for the :+fav:!
masteroffortune's avatar
your welcome! yes, it is very helpful. This is the stuff I need to know about.
lizarts's avatar
Thank you very much. Excellent tutorial. Every bit of advice is appreciated!
Alene's avatar
My pleasure! I hope it would come in useful! =D
SixStringer's avatar
For blending, I've found cotton balls indispensable: they possess the softness of Q-tips (aka cotton buds, cotton swabs), but they cover a greater area and can be used with more force if needed (whereas a Q-tip stick will bend). An especially useful technique is to save the used cotton balls as they become coated with graphite and then use them as a sort of brush for applying graphite directly to the paper. This works well with either charcoal or graphite application, but of course never mix the two or allow both onto the same cotton ball. I always keep all charcoal and graphite supplies segregated.

Speaking of charcoal, it seems to be missing from your list!
Alene's avatar
There's no charcoal here because I can't stand it! =P I've never got on well with charcoal, and so I do all my portraits with only graphite, and as this is a list of the things I use myself, I left it out.

In regards to your cotton balls, I do roughly the same thing with tissues and cotton buds. I've never tried using cotton balls, but then again, I do have long fingernails, and would probably gouge the paper if I wasn't careful while using them. I find a tissue will give me pretty much the same effect, especially if I use a circular motion when blending. =D

Thanks for the advice!
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