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Illustration: Stephen Cefalo


30 Beauty Underfoot
The colored pencil drawings of David Morrison reveal the complexity
of natural objects.

38 How Different Materials Affect the Drawing Process

An instructor explains the advantages and limitations of drawing media

54 54
and other tools.

Printmaking Today
Ellen Heck, Frederick Mershimer, Hiroki Morinoue and Andrew Raftery
are united by a passion for printmaking.

70 Intaglio Explained
We learn the basics of five intaglio printmaking processes.

76 Searching for the Self

The figure drawings of Samantha Wall explore identity, race and interior life.

2 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM


20 Material World 20 HowtoMakeaMonotype
Painterly Prints:
Monotype and Monoprint 26 Transparent vs. Opaque:
Key Differences
26 First Marks
Opaque, Transparent or 30 Capturing Nature With
Translucent? Colored Pencil

88 New & Notable 38 Drawing Materials: Pros and Cons

Sean Caulfield
54 Printmaking Today: Engraving,
Woodcut, Drypoint, Mezzotint

DEPARTMENTS 70 Intaglio Techniques Explained

76 Mixed Media Figures: Charcoal,
6 Editors Note Graphite, Ink and More

7 Contributors
10 Frontispiece

Amelia IV (detail)
by Samantha Wall, 2015, gravure with chine
coll, 30 x 22. Courtesy the artist and Russo
12 Sketchbook Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon.

Copyright 2017 by F+W Media, Inc., all rights reserved. The contents of this publication may not be reproduced in whole
or in part without the consent of the copyright owner, F+W Media, Inc. Drawing (ISSN 2161-5373 (print), ISSN 2330-0949
(online) USPS 001-780 Issue #52) is published quarterly by F+W Media, Inc. $9.99 a copy U.S.A. and $11.99 a copy Canada.
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changes to: Drawing, P.O. Box 433289, Palm Coast, FL 32143. Subscriber Services: U.S. and Canada (866) 917-3888, Interna-
tional (386) 246-0105, E-mail

4 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM


Brian F. Riley
Austin R. Williams
Michael Woodson

The Fine Print

Anita Cook

Courtney Jordan
rintmaking may not be a form of drawing per se, but the
two are kindred practices, with enough overlap that we Jamie Markle
consider printmaking an important part of the broader field
of drawing. Accordingly, we ring in 2017 by surveying a variety ADVERTISING SALES TEAM LEADER
of printmaking methods. Ellen Heck, Frederick Mershimer, FINE ART DIVISION

Hiroki Morinoue and Andrew Raftery discuss their recent work Mary McLane (970) 290-6065
and their chosen processes (page 54). Richard Pantell explains the
differences between engraving, etching, drypoint, aquatint and
Carol Lake (385) 414-1439
mezzotintfive techniques that make up the intaglio family (page
70). We also learn the basics of monotype and monoprint, which
can be undertaken with the simplest of tools (page 20). Barb Prill (800) 726-9966 ext. 13435
More traditional drawing materials are also on our minds. Dan
Gheno explains the advantages of different drawing media,
noting that you can never force a material to go against its inherent
nature (page 38). David Morrison works in colored pencil, which
he painstakingly layers and blends in order to depict little bits of
the natural world in glorious detail (page 30). Samantha Wall, in F+W, A Content + eCommerce Company
contrast, works in black-and-white and often embraces a degree of
chance in the creation of her figure drawings, letting pools of ink
swirl and settle in rhythmic patterns (page 76). CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER Joe Seibert
Whatever media you prefer, I hope you have a productive artistic CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER Joe Romello
start to 2017 and use this year to push your work to new heights. CHIEF CONTENT STRATEGIST Steve Madden


Scott T. Hill
Senior Editor
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Instagram your drawings and tag us 1140 Broadway, 14th Floor, New York, NY 10001.

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us there as well!) VISIT US ON THE WEB O

6 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

SHERRY C A MH Y (Material World) is a faculty member of the R ICH A R D PA N T EL L (Intaglio Explained) is a painter and
Art Students League of New York, the School of Visual Arts and printmaker whose artwork is found in the collections of the
New York Universitys Tisch School of the Arts. She is the author Butler Institute of American Art; the Wichita Art Museum; the
of Art of the Pencil: A Revolutionary Look at Drawing, Painting and Museum of the City of New York; the British Museum; and the
the Pencil. For more information, visit Jewish Museum, in Stockholm; among others. For 20 years he
has been an instructor at the Art Students League of New York.
M A RG A R E T D AV ID S ON (First Marks) is an artist, illustrator For more information, visit
and former teacher at the Gage Academy of Art, in Seattle.
She is the author of Contemporary Drawing: Key Concepts and JOHN A . PA R KS (Searching for the Self) is an artist
Techniques. For more information, visit represented by 532 Gallery Thomas Jaeckel. He is also a teacher
at the School of Visual Arts, in New York City, and a frequent
DA N GHENO (How Different Materials Affect the Drawing contributor to Drawing, as well as the author of Universal
Process) is a New York artist whose work can be found in Principles of Art. View his work at
collections including the Museum of the City of New York and
the New Britain Museum of American Art, in Connecticut. He
A U S T IN R . W IL L I A M S (Sketchbook, Beauty Underfoot and
teaches drawing and painting at the Art Students League of
Printmaking Today) is the senior editor of Drawing.
New York and the National Academy School of Fine Arts. His
book, Figure Drawing Master Class, is available for purchase at
MICH A EL W OODS ON (Sketchbook and New & Notable) is
the associate editor of Drawing.

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an imprint of F+W Media, Inc.
Christ Carrying
the Cross
by Martin
ca. 14751480, engraving on laid
paper, 11 3/8 x 17 5/16 . Courtesy
National Gallery of Art,
Washington, DC.

Martin Schongauer (ca. 1450

1491) is widely considered to
have been the nest German
engraver of his time, celebrated
for the tremendous variety
of tones he achieved with his
engraved line. In the large print
Christ Carrying the Crossa
religious subject, like most of
Schongauers worktextures
range from Christs weathered
robes to the organic woodgrain
of the cross; from the fur of
various dogs and horses to
the dark, dramatic sky over
Calvary. Almost every gure in
the densely packed composition
conveys a distinct personality,
and despite the multitude of
detail the processions slow,
grim movement is clearly

10 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 11
Hokusais Puzzling Picture Book
by Sarah E. Thompson
MFA Publications and
Artbook | D.A.P.
248 pages

Today the word manga refers to Japa-

nese narrative comics and cartoons,
but the tradition of Japanese com-
ics dates back only to the late 19th
century. When discussing earlier
periods, manga refers instead to
another type of artwork published in
book form: collections of informal
drawings by master artists intended
as copy books. During their peak of
popularity in the late 18th and early
19th centuries, manga of this sort
were reliable business for publish-
ers. Students purchased them for
practice, and collectors bought them
simply for the accomplished and
lively artwork.
All artwork this article collection Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Boston, Massachusetts.
All photographs Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Drawings for a Three-Volume Picture Book (pages 120121)

ca. 18231833, ink, 5 716 x 8 116.
The wave at right seems to prefigure the famous print known as The Great Wave, published circa 1830 as part of Hokusais series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.

12 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Drawings for a Three-Volume
Picture Book (page 178)
ca. 18231833, ink, 5716 x 8 116 .
This drawing, the final page of the
picture book, shows a fisherman
dangling a line and a woman swim-
ming, perhaps diving for abalone.

for a Three-Volume Picturebook, the album is

now a part of the collection at the Museum of
Fine Arts, Boston (MFA). It comprises roughly
180 pages, in which the artist illustrates sub-
jects spanning astrology, mythology, plant and
animal life, landscapes, scenes of labor, scenes
of domestic life and more.
The story behind the books composition
is unknown, but it is suspected to be an
Among the most important manga authors was Katsushika Hokusai intended manga that was never published.
(17601849), the great painter, draftsman and printmaker of the ukiyo-e Hokusais Lost Manga, a new book by Sarah
school. Beginning in 1814 Hokusai published 15 manga volumes, E. Thompson, a curator of Japanese art at
which sold well and were reprinted multiple times. Sometime between the MFA, reproduces the album in fulland
1822 and 1833 Hokusai also produced a curious object: a small, un- offers a possible explanation for its mysteri-
signed, three-volume album of ink drawings. Referred to as Drawings ous origin.
he new theory rests on an advertisement: Researchers
recently noticed that another book, published by Hokusai
in 1823, features an ad promoting a forthcoming book ti-
tled Master Iitsus Chicken-Rib Picture Book. Iitsu is one of
the many names Hokusai adopted over the years, writes
Thompson, while chicken rib is a classical Chinese liter-
ary expression for something that is trivial but nevertheless
worthwhile, like the small but tasty bit of meat on a chick-
en rib. Translated more freely, the title would be something
like Hokusais Tasty Morsels. As far as we know, the Chicken-
Rib Picture Book never appeared in print. The Boston album
may be the manuscript for this lost Manga sequel.
The question of whether the MFAs album is in fact the
elusive Chicken-Rib book is interesting but ultimately a
secondary concern compared to the sheer enjoyment to be
had from the drawings themselves, and most of Hokusais
Lost Manga is given to reproducing the full picture book at
life size. The images are of a variety known as hanshita-e,
drawings intended to be transferred to woodblocks and pub-
lished in large editions. Hanshita-e were often prepared by
a masters students, and Hokusai sometimes enlisted pupils
in preparing the drawings for his manga. But in this case,
Thompson writes, the superlative brush technique of the
drawings indicates that they are indeed by Hokusai himself.
Some pages include several small drawings; others
present more unified compositions. As we flip through
the album we often jump abruptly from one subject to
another. Some pages form coherent groups or chapters,
such as a 13-page sequence of fish and other marine life,
but others seem unconnected to the pages surrounding
them. The drawings are reminiscent of other volumes of
Hokusais manga, although the ink medium gives them
a somewhat more spontaneous feel. A few drawings
point toward later, more famous works by Hokusai. For
instance page 120, showing a wave dwarfing a distant

14 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

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Drawings for a Three-Volume Picture Book (pages 146147)
ca. 18231833, ink, 5716 x 8 116 .
At left Hokusai shows two men washing a horse. At right we see two rooms in
a comfortable home or inn.

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island, anticipates his most famous print, Under the Wave Jersey City, NJ Redwood City, CA MADE IN EU Gen
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created in the early 1830s.
In addition to the album itself and Thompsons intro-
ductory essay, Hokusais Lost Manga includes 20 pages of
annotations, with a short note explaining each drawing
and situating it in the context of early-19th-century Japanese
art. From these we discover a wealth of obscure trivia, for
instance that Hokusai preferred Buddhist names for stars
rather than the more standard Chinese names. We also
learn the workings of devices such as grain-winnowing ma-
chines and undershot waterwheels, and were told the size
of the largest giant octopus on record in Hokusais time (30
feet, but the artist liked to draw them even larger).

n a way its a stroke of luck that the book was never pro-
duced, for if it had been, Hokusais original drawings
would have been destroyed. They would have been
pasted facedown to panels of cherry woodthe ink lines
clearly visible through the thin paper when dampand
carved through by a professional blockcutter to create a
printing block, Thompson writes. After the blocks were
carved, a professional printer would have inked the blocks,
placed the paper facedown on them, and rubbed with a
pad to make the finished impressions. Those impressions
would then be bound and sold to students and collectors.
But their loss is our gain, as were able to appreciate this
bounty of drawings straight from the masters brush.


DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 15

The Weird and Wonderful
Cartoons of Jim Woodring
Frye Art Museum
Seattle, Washington
(206) 622-9250 As an art form, the graphic novel balances artistic expression with traditional
storytelling, incorporating images that elevate the narrative beyond that of a pic-
ture book. As with many forms of art, the way in which the images are produced
can tell as compelling a story as the finished piece itself. This is certainly the
case in a new exhibition of work by the Seattle-based artist and cartoonist Jim
Woodring (1952), whose genre-transcending artwork incorporates elements of
the graphic novel and fine art, mixing reality and fantasy in the process.
Woodrings new series The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and
Wept was commissioned by the Frye Art Museum, in Seattle, where it is now on
display. The drawings were created with an oversized dip pen designed and crafted
by the artist. The drawings are similarly vast, at roughly six feet wide. The draw-
ings demonstrate the ways that unconventional tools can shape an artists practice,
generating new technical challenges that lead in turn to creative rewards.
One common thread that runs through all my work is an interest in and a
search for hidden forcesthe invisible world, Woodring says. There is very
much a questing, searching, seeking quality to everything I do. Each picture I
draw is an attempt to answer one question and ask another one at the same time.
According to the museum, The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and
Wept is a purposefully absurd yet evocative title that hints at the enigmatic events
depicted within the series. In each self-contained frame, Woodring renders swirl-
ing amalgamations of phantasmagorical creatures and organic matter, avoiding
recognizable characters and narratives. In doing so, the artist delves deeper into
the surreal and fantastical universe that is central to his greater project.

Woodring in his studio
with the oversized dip
pen he designed himself.
Photos this exhibition:
Mark Woods.

The Pig Went Down
to the Harbor at
Sunrise and Wept,
No. 3
by Jim Woodring, 2016,
acrylic ink on paper,
42 x 71. Courtesy the
artist and Frye Art
Museum, Seattle,

16 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

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Form in
Baltimore Museum of Art Untitled
Baltimore, Maryland by Eva Hesse, 1964, collage with black ink, opaque watercolor
(443) 573-1700 and graphite on toned paper, 18 16 x 25 916 . Collection Baltimore
Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. The Estate of Eva Hesse. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth.

On Paper: Finding Form, a new exhibition at sometimes associated with the Minimalist and Post-Minimalist
the Baltimore Museum of Art, celebrates con- schools, whose work takes a handmade, individualized, fluid approach
temporary drawings that portray pure, refined to abstraction. A number of Hesses contemporaries are also featured,
geometric form and use materials expressively. including Mel Bochner, Brice Marden, Dorothea Rockburne and
The exhibition centers around four draw- Robert Smithson. Contemporary artists with work on view include
ings by Eva Hesse (19361970), an artist Tomma Abts, Roni Horn and Meg Webster.

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MATERIAL WORLD Getting the most out of drawing media

Painterly Prints:
Monotype and Monoprint

rintmaking can be a complicated, Monotype and monoprint are perfect boundaries between them somewhat
time-consuming and expensive for someone trying printmaking for the blurred. Here well explore the differ-
venture, but this is not equally first time. ences between these two processes and
true for all of the many printmak- Most printmaking processes result learn how to make them at home.
ing processes. In this article well in an editionmultiple prints of the
look at monotypes and monoprints, two
related methods that are surprisingly ac-
same image. However, as you might
have guessed from the prefix mono, MONOT YPE
cessible. They can be executed without a which means single, monotype and In monotype, none of the image
large press. They dont require expensive monoprint are not produced in edi- derives from a registered, repeatable
copper plates, toxic acids or unpleasant tions. Rather they produce unique im- matrix. The print is produced by first
inks. With both methods you can create ages, and in this they are the exception making a design in ink, paint or other
traditional or cutting-edge prints using among printmaking processes. wet media on a platea hard, nonab-
materials that you probably already have, The terms monotype and mono- sorbent surface. Traditionally plates
supplemented with a few things you print have at times been interchange- are made of copper, but lots of other
can find in any hardware or art store. ably used and are often confused, the materials can be used. The plate is
then pressed against a sheet of paper,
either through the use of a printing
press or by hand. This transfers the
image to the paper, resulting in a
unique monotype print.
Monotype is first known to have
been used in the 17th century by
Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione
(16091664), a great innovator in
the field of printmaking. He used a
subtractive or dark field process, be-
ginning with a dark tone and making
marks to produce lightsan approach
still favored for many monotypes. Cas-
tiglione coated polished copper plates
with opaque oil color and used rags,
swabs, brushes and fingertips to wipe
away the lighter tones. He also used
tools including reeds and paintbrush-
es to scratch crisp lines and highlights
into the paint. He then transferred the
results to paper, creating prints such
as David With the Head of Goliath.

An assortment of printing inks and tools that can be

used to apply and subtract ink from a plate, includ-
ing plastic mesh, squeegee, spatula, foam brayer,
cooks brush, string and pizza cutter.

20 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

After a monotype has been printed, there is always David With the
Head of Goliath
some amount of ink or paint left on the matrix, and many by Giovanni
artists cannot resist the temptation of pressing another Benedetto
Castiglione, ca. 1655,
paper to the plate and creating an additional printcalled monotype in brown
a second pull, a cognate or a ghost. These additional impres- oil pigment on laid
paper, 131116 x 934 .
sions are usually less defined, but in some cases they Collection National
are even more appealing than the first impression. You Gallery of Art,
Washington, DC.
can debate whether such images can still be considered
monotypes, given that they are, in one sense, multiples,
but these impressions are usually different enough from
the originals as to constitute almost entirely new works.

A monoprint is similar to a monotype, but in a mono-
print part of the image is repeatable, derived from a fixed
matrixthat is, parts of the plate are marked in a per-
manent manner. The result is still unique but includes
elements that can be repeated in multiple prints.
The fixed matrix is often an intaglio plate, such as
etched or engraved copper. In these cases, the artist cre-
ates grooves in the plate, then inks the entire plate and

wipes it clean with an absorbent mate-

rial. This removes the pigment from
flat portions of the surface, but pigment
remains in the grooves. Damp paper is
then pressed against the plate, and the
pigment lying in those recessed areas
transfers to the paper and produces
a print. (To read about intaglio tech-
niques in more detail, see page 70.)
Intaglio processes are not the only
options for creating a fixed matrix
monoprints can also be created with
a serigraph, lithograph or collograph
matrix, for example. We unfortunately
dont have the space to detail all these
processes here, but you can find infor-
mation about them in many books and
on a number of websites.
After using one of these methods to
create permanent marks in the plate,
the artist then applies and manipulates
additional pigment on the plate, as
when creating a monotype. The plate is
then pressed to the paper, resulting in a
finished monoprint.

Seated Nude II
by Wendy Shalen, 2009, monoprint with hand coloring, 8 x 8.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 21


The Ballet Master (Le matre de ballet)

by Edgar Degas, ca. 1874, monotype heightened and corrected with white chalk or wash,
24716 x 33716 . Collection National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

The handling of a plate can produce dramatically different called traced monotypes. He rolled out printers ink on
effects from print to print. Manipulation of the ink, varied a sheet of paper, then placed a blank sheet of paper on top
printing pressure and the choice of printing paper all make of the inked one. He proceeded to draw on the top sheet,
important contributions to the results. Prints from the same and as he worked, the pressure from his pencil pressed the
plate are not intended to be part of a consistent edition top sheet into the inked sheet below, creating an ink image
each will inevitably evolve in its own directionbut rather a on the front, or recto, side of the paper, echoing the pencil
series of related but distinct works. drawing on the reverse, or verso, side. Gauguin referred to
these works as printed drawings.

MONOT YPE MASTERS Why would these artists spend time on a drawing or paint-
ing only to immediately destroy it by transferring it to another
Many great artists have found monotype and monoprint to surface? Because prints have an aesthetic quality all their own
be rewarding processes. Rembrandt (16061669), a highly and because there is something quite special that results from
skilled printmaker, would create monoprints by adding areas the process of printmaking itself. There is a balance between
of tone to his etchings. Using this process he could alter an control and accident that inspires new techniques, new visual
image considerably, for instance, changing a daytime scene ideas and the courage to pursue them. Printmaking is freeing.


into a nighttime one. Edgar Degas (18341917) considered
his prints to be works of art as important as his pastels and
paintings, and he experimented with various approaches to
You can make a monotype of virtually any image created in
monotype to create his highly painterly prints.
a wet medium on a nonabsorbent surface. All that you need
Endless variation is possible with monotypelike pro-
is pigment, a plate, paper and pressure. With these basic
cesses, and Paul Gauguin (18481903) invented a system
materials your options are unlimited.

22 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

The process starts with an idea for an
image. It can be a drawing or painting,
realistic or abstract, simple or complex,
monotone or color. You can even begin
with no preconceived plan. You then pre-
pare the plate, which can be any nonabsor-
bent surface, such as metal, glass, plastic,
Plexiglas, Yupo or paper that has been
sealed with varnish or acrylic spray. You
can also purchase lightweight, transparent
plastic plates intended for monotype. If
youd like to incise the plate (to produce a
monoprint, rather than a monotype) you
can use a sharp cutting tool such as an
etching needle or burin.
The next step is to choose and apply
wet media to the plate. Possibilities in-
Two Marquesans (verso) Two Marquesans (recto) clude oils, acrylics, watercolors, transpar-
by Paul Gauguin, ca. 1902, pencil and crayon, by Paul Gauguin, ca. 1902, traced monotype, ent liquid pigments and any manner of
18 116 x 13 916 . Collection National Gallery of Art, 18 116 x 13 916 . Collection National Gallery of Art, inks. You can apply your medium using
Washington, DC. Washington, DC.
anything from paintbrushes, rollers and
brayers to toothbrushes, feathers and
fingers. You might also try Bellows bottles,


Study according to your schedule

I am so excited to start this program. I have

been looking and looking for an online opportunity
to study art and am thrilled that it has happened
with Watts Atelier. You are not only a strong and gifted
coach but also an amazing artist. Thank you for
this program!
Images Watts Atelier
Discover the
Secrets to Drawing
from Top Masters
Step 1
Artist Gerald Ruggiero drew
his model Julian using oil
and a brush on a glass plate
backed with paper.

Jove Wang
Essential Drawing Skills

Step 2
Ruggiero pressed a sheet
of paper against the plate,
producing the print at left.

Zhaoming Wu
Step 3
The artist applied addition-
Drawing the Head
al oil to his plate, realigned
the paper with the image
and pressed it a second
time to produce the final

by Gerald Ruggiero, 2016, oil
monotype, 10 x 8.

24 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

compressible plastic bottles that can
have straight or tapered points.
While the image on your plate is
still wet, place a sheet of dry or slightly
damp paper, fabric or other absorbent
surface on top of the plate. Then apply
pressurethis can be accomplished
using a large printing or etching press,
but you can also use a rolling pin, a
spatula, a pile of heavy books, an old-
fashioned wringer washer or a baren,
a traditional Japanese tool. You might
even be able to get enough pressure
with just the palm of your hand.
After youve applied pressure, care-
fully peel off the paper and behold your
finished print. You can then clean the
plate and create an entirely new image;
press a second sheet to create a much
fainter ghost print; or apply pigment
for your next monotype right on top of
the pigment remaining on the plate.
Have lots of paper towels and an- printmaking is addictive. One idea Morning Paper
by Mary Beth McKenzie, 2010, monotype,
tibacterial wipes readythe process leads to another, and beautiful images 8 x 10. Collection Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York, New York.
can get messy. Youll also want lots result, always bearing a trace of the
of printing paper on hand, because unexpected. Y
FIRST MARKS Introductory lessons in drawing

Opaque, Transparent or
One of the basic visual properties of
any object is whether its opaque, trans-
parent or translucent. When you look
at an object, your eye can determine
this instantly. For example, consider
the three glasses in Illustration 1. You
can discern without difficulty which
contains milk (center, opaque), water
(at left, transparent) and apple juice (at
right, translucent).
Youre able to tell the difference so
quickly because your eye immediately
takes three factors into account: how
light behaves on the surface of the ob-
ject; whether you can see through the
object and if so, how clearly; and what
kind of shadow the object casts. When
drawing, you can depict whether
an object is opaque, transparent or
translucent by paying attention to
these factors. (See Illustration 2.) You
want to consider how you draw the
light shining on the object, how clearly
you draw whats showing through the
object from behind and how you treat
the shadow the object casts. Doing so
will reveal an objects transparency,
adding subtlety, complexity and ac-
curacy to your drawing.

An opaque object is one that cannot be
seen through, whether solid or liquid.
Its the easiest of the three categories
to draw. We draw opaque subjects all
the time: wooden furniture, pottery,
walls, floorsthe list goes on.
Illustration 1
Opaque objects can be shiny or Different liquids fill these clear glasses: water, milk
dull, and the most direct way to and apple juice. All three glasses are all transparent
and all three straws are opaque, so its only the
convey these properties is by how you liquids that cause variation in opacity.
draw the highlight on an object. The
highlights on shiny surfaces tend to be
distinct shapes with sharp edges. They
look like white shapes surrounded by

26 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

a much darker tone, with no gradation Transparent objects are usually Illustration 2
between the two. In Illustration 1, the shiny, so they often have sharp-edged Transparency, opacity and translucence can be seen
in objects of any size, even these tiny droplets of
straws and glass of milk are examples highlights. The shadows they cast are water, milk and apple juice sitting on graph paper.
of shiny opaque objects. slightly tricky to draw, but they are Note that the water and juice drops show a shadow
inside the drop just under the highlight; the interior
Dull things are the opposite, with one of the most telling and descriptive tone then lightens toward the outer edge furthest
highlights that are soft and blurry features for indicating transparency. from the highlight. The milk drop is utterly opaque.

around the edges. The highlight on a The cast shadow of a transparent

dull object is still brighter than the val- object is, in fact, full of light, because
ues surrounding it, but the highlight light passes through the object and
blends gradually into the surrounding right into the shadow. When you draw
Illustration 3
tones, without discernable edges. The that light-filled shadow, draw just what Dull, smooth and opaque, these unpolished
stones in Illustration 3 are examples of you see. Note that the light within stones have soft blurry highlights and plain,
dark cast shadows.
dull, opaque objects. the shadow is not quite as bright as a
Whether shiny or dull, all opaque
forms block light from traveling
through them. This results in solid
cast shadows that have no interior
light. I draw cast shadows soft around
the edges, but I make the interior of
the shadows plain and dark.

A transparent object is one that can
be seen through clearly. The most
obvious way to indicate transparency
is simply to draw something show-
ing through from behind the object.
For example, in the case of a lake, you
can show rocks under the surface. In
Illustration 1 we can see the striped
background through the transparent
glass of water, although theres distor-
tion caused by the curve of the glass.
We see another transparent object in
Illustration 4: a Japanese glass fishing-
net float. Here, too, the horizontal
background line is visible through
the glass object, although theres even
more distortion because the float is a
sphere, with more curvature than the
cylindrical water glass.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 27

FIRST MARKS Illustration 4
This Japanese glass fishing-net
float is transparent but has so
much swirly blown-glass curvature
that the horizontal line behind it is
distorted significantly. Light swirls
through its cast shadow as well.

is the most complicated of these

properties to draw. Translu-
cent forms have to be shown
as indistinct, with softly fading
edges and vague contours, and the
techniques for creating soft edges
simply take longer and require
more careful strokes.
Whether anything in the back-
ground shows through a trans-
highlight, so make the light within the shadow a little bit darker than, say, light lucent object varies according to
shining directly onto a tabletop or wall. That slight darkness is a way of indicat- how clear the translucent object
ing that the light did pass through something and was colored by the experience. is and to the distance between the
translucent object and whatever is
TRANSLUCENCE behind it. Apple juice, for instance,
is fairly dense, whereas lemonade
Translucent objects fall between opaque and transparent. Light passes through is less so. Both are translucent but
them, but we cant clearly see through them to the other side. Translucence to varying degrees.

Illustration 5
Dried beans show dimly
through the sides of this
translucent plastic kitchen-
storage container.

28 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Translucent things can have sharp-edged highlights,
as we see on the apple juice in the clear glass, or softer
highlights, as on the plastic container in Illustration 5. The
cast shadows of translucent objects have a tinge of light
within them but not as much as seen in the cast shadows
of transparent objects.
Translucence also is tricky because it changes de-
pending on whether the light is shining on a form from
the front or side or shining through it from behind: A
translucent object will often appear opaque when lit from
the front or side. This is demonstrated in the drawing of
grapes in Illustration 6. The light falls between the two

2016 Exceptional Merit Award

Dan Thompson, Ace, 23X29", Graphite on paper
Illustration 6
These grapes are in two clusters with the light shining between them. The
front cluster is lit from behind, and the back cluster is lit from the front. The Portrait Society of America
Because its lit from behind, the front cluster of grapes shows some trans-
lucence, allowing you to see the pulp within each grape. You even can see a
invites artists to enter the
bit of light seeping into each cast shadow. In contrast, the back cluster looks 19th annual International
opaque and is drawn accordingly.
Portrait Competition.

groups of grapes, so the front cluster is lit from behind, Mark your calendar for March 2, 2017,
while the back cluster is lit from the front. The back the online entry deadline.
grapes show highlights and shadows in the same inten- $45 Entry Fee
sity and positions as they would if they were opaque. The
Submit up to three images
front cluster, however, shows the translucence of each
grape, with the interior seed faintly visible and a small Over $102,500 in cash and prizes
amount of light leaking into the cast shadows. recognizing Painting, Drawing and Sculpture
Drawing these properties convincingly will give that Open to all artists and mediums
much more truth to your imagery. It is, however, a quiet On-line entry deadline: March 2, 2017
success. Like many good realism skills, when done well Exhibition dates: April 20-23, 2017
it becomes invisible, and everyone just believes the Atlanta, Georgia
drawing, happily moving into the world youve created
without a backward glanceand without noticing your To enter, register or for membership information:
careful attention. Y
Call toll-free 1-877-772-4321
i n f o @ p o r t r a i t s o c i e t y. o r g
w w w. p o r t r a i t s o c i e t y. o r g
DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 29
UNDERFOOT The colored pencil drawings of
David Morrison reveal the complexity
of seemingly humble natural objects.

In meticulously rendered colored pencil drawings, David Mor-

rison isolates small pieces of the natural world against fields
of pristine white space, confronting viewers with the stun-
ning intricacy and beauty of these objects. Morrisons subjects
include tree branches and bird nests, many of which he finds
near his home in Indiana. My intention is to show the beauty
of a simple flowering branch or fallen residues from trees for
the viewer to reexamine the realities of nature, he explains in
an artists statement.
Drawing recently spoke with the artist about selecting sub-
jects, incorporating photography into his process and working
in colored pencil.

DRAWING: Tell me about your subject matter. Have you

always been interested in drawing and painting nature?
Rusted Leaf
Series, No. 3 DAVID MORRISON: Ive always been interested in looking at
2006, colored
pencil, 19 x 15 14 . nature. A number of years ago, as Id go on walks with my wife
Garvey|Simon, I started noticing these compositions on the ground, which
New York, New York.
made beautiful shapes and patterns. We also have several syca-
B E LOW more trees on our property, and they constantly shed their bark.
Bird Nest Series,
No. 2 As I rode my lawn mower over the fallen debris, I kept stopping
2015, colored to look at how stunning the shapes and patterns wereeach
pencil, 35 x 16 12 . piece was a little landscape of the environment. They also
Private collection.
All images this article
remind me of Chinese calligraphic marks, which I love. I
courtesy the artist started to photograph them and make drawings from there.
and Garvey|Simon,
New York, New York.

30 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Magnolia Tree Trunk
Series, No. 3
2016, colored pencil,
37 x 23. Private collection.
My drawings are trying to capture drawings for a show titled Elements. DM: Most of the work Ive been doing
a moment of existence. I want to take Im fascinated by how the birds are is material from my yard. We have
a simple stick or piece of bark, which architects, taking elements of sticks and sycamores and a magnolia that I really
seems so ordinary, and show how yarn to create these weavings and struc- love. The magnolia has been hit by
captivating and complex it is. I like how lightning and has branches that have
tures. And these nests are strong where
when we look at nature, we can see how broken off, but it still has this incred-
they need to be. When I touch the nests
the environment has modified a plant ible growth to it. I admire the tenacity
they sometimes start to fall apart, but this tree has to hang onto life and
and learn about its life. These fallen
the center always holds together. persist throughout the years.
branches and things show a process of
degeneration and a kind of rebirth, of But Im also looking for subject
returning back into the ecosystem. DR: Do you usually find your nests matter wherever I go. For instance
I started drawing the bird nests and branches around your home, I did an artist residency at the Banff
when I was asked to do a series of or do you look farther afield? Centre, in Alberta. I would find these
beautiful sticks with algae and insect
tunnels, and I started to draw them.
People would visit my studio and ask
what I was working on. Id say, Im
drawing sticks! At the end of the
residency we had an open house and
everybody saw my rendering of these
common objects isolated on a pristine
background. I think there was a real
wow factor. And the next day there was
a pile of sticks in front of my studio;
everyone else had started going out
and discovering these magnificent
items from nature.

DR: Tell me about the negative

space in your drawings. What
do you like about setting your
subject against such a stark white
DM: Activating the negative space is very
important to me. I teach drawing and
printmaking, and Im always talking
with students about negative space. In
some of my earlier drawings I included
an autumn background, with leaves
and everything else, but I couldnt
see the shape of my main subject as
clearly as I wanted to. By sterilizing
the object, by removing everything else
around it, I could show the shape and
the complexity inside the form. I try
to describe every little detail. I want to
show the shape and how nature made
it grow the way it did. When I removed
the background detail I also was able to
have the shadows become an intrinsic
part of the drawings.

Magnolia Branches
Series, No. 2
2012, colored pencil,
34 14 x 20. Collection
Hunt Institute for Bo-
tanical Documentation,
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

32 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Bird Nest Series, No. 3
2015, colored pencil,
16 x 39. Private collection. in nature I wanted color, and I started one, drop it into Photoshop and print
using colored pencil. I just felt com- out three versions: a lighter value, a
fortable with the pencils and how I medium value and a darker value. I set
could blend the colors by layering one up my drawing table with those photos
DR: How did you come to settle on on top of another. and the object so that I can see them
colored pencil as your primary all right in front of me. As I draw, if
medium? DR: What do you use as reference
DM: When I was in third grade, a teacher
asked me what I wanted to do with my
during a drawing?
DM: I use both photos and the physical USING COLORED
life. I said that I had two ambitions: One
was to be a professional football player;
objects. If youre working from nature
your subject is constantly changing.
the other was to be an artist like Grant I may be trying to do a leaf or stick

Wood. Being an artist won out. one day, and the next day the whole
Drawing has always been essential color range may be different. So I like


to me for discovering form and shape. to photograph it to capture the point
When I was young, Id look at artwork in time when the object spoke to me.
of others and try to draw it. I would
take some famous painting and see if I
And, in photographing it, I can set
up the shadows to interact with the PRESSURE, HOW TO
could do it myself.
I came from a modest background,
object. Shadows are one of the most
important aspects of the work. They
and pencil and paper were the materi- give it a trompe-loeil effect.

als I could always afford. Growing up I For a given object I might take 20
mostly did black-and-white drawings, or 30 photos from different angles
but when I started looking at things and with different lighting. Ill choose

Stick Series, No. 1, 2015, colored pencil, 14 34 x 29 12 . Garvey|Simon, New York, New York.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 33

the shadows in one image are too dark, I can refer to the lighter-value print and In order to keep the background
put more information into those areas. Or in a lighter area, I might refer to a clean while I work I use Badger Foto/
darker shot. The actual drawing is a comprehensive version of those three pho- Frisket Film, a low-tack product that
tos along with looking at the actual object. airbrush artists use to stencil out
spaces. I cover the paper with the
DR: Once youve selected a reference image and printed the photos, do frisket and trace the outline of the im-
you make any preliminary studies, or do you dive right into working on age on the film with a Stabilo pencil.
the finished piece? Using an X-Acto knife I cut out the
area where I will draw the image, plus
DM: I dive right in. I start by doing a detailed contour line drawing on tracing an extra quarter of an inch all around
paper. Using Saral transfer paper, I then transfer the drawing to Stonehenge the shape. This keeps the paper in the
250-gsm paper. non-image area protected throughout
the drawing process. I can smudge
and blend as much as I want and not
worry about my hand rubbing on the
white background. After the drawing
is done, I remove the low-tack frisket
and have that pristine background.

DR: How does the drawing progress

once youve applied the frisket?
DM: Using colored pencils is all about
pressure and sensitivitylearning how
to apply the pressure, how to blend,
how much of one color goes on top of
another. Because colored pencils are
translucent, there are usually three
or four layers built up to get the right
color. A lot of people think I use a
blending tool, but I dont. Its all about
layering and using a lighter-color
pencil on top to do the blending.
I prefer to draw with Berol Prisma-
color Premeir Pencils, which are highly
pigmented and easy to blend. I start by
building up the base color. Then I ap-
ply multiple layers of colors to achieve
the desired tone. The next step is to use
a lighter color close to the shade Im
working with and blend with that pen-
cil. I develop the values first by layering
and blending the colors to form the
underdrawing. Afterward I layer more
colors while working on the sharpness
of the details in the object.
I start in an area that has both lights
and darks and establish the value
range there. Then I move to another
section, often on the other side of the
drawing. I move around the drawing
so that I can create the same intensity
and value throughout the entire image.
Bird Nest Series, Each square inch will usually take three
No. 9 to four hours to finish. I work with a
2014, colored pencil,
20 x 14. Private headband magnifier that magnifies
collection. the area 3 times, and my nose is four
inches from the drawing.

34 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM


Stick Series, No. 10, 2015, colored pencil, 21 x 15 14 . Private collection.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 35

Drawing for me is constant learn- If you keep the point sharp you can
ing about process and technique. With be very expressive. Prismacolor also
every drawing I do things a little differ- makes watercolor pencils, which Ive
ently. This keeps me visually excited used before. With those you can get
and challenges my technical abilities. the fluidity of watercolor with the rich-
My latest research involves combining ness of color layering and the solidity
the 16th-century technology of the hand, of the pencil mark.
the 17th-century technology of tradition-
al drawing and the 21st-century technol- DR: Is there any advice you find
ogy of the printer and computer. yourself constantly giving to
DR: What advice can you offer to DM: When I do critiques, I find Im
artists who are new to colored always using two words: density and
pencils? tension. Density refers to all the
DM: Id encourage them to experiment research that goes into a project
and play. Have fun with the medium. researching other artists, testing papers
Theres no right or wrong way of doing and materials, making thumbnail
it. The thing is to be creative, have a sketches, et cetera. Tension means
good time and express whatever you that little bit of uneasinesssomething
have to say. that makes you question the content
The Prismacolor pencils I use and why the person is doing this.
are really soft and beautiful. Theyre When there is a partnership between
sensitive to pressure, and they really density and tension its like a marriage
become an extension of your hand. between craftsmanship and content.

Mushroom Log
2016, colored
pencil, 18 x 42.
Garvey|Simon, New
York, New York.

Paper Wasp
Series, No. 1
2016, colored
pencil, 21 12 x 26.
Garvey|Simon, New
York, New York.

36 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

DR: What are you working how striking and complex they were. I Im also working on a series of
on now? thought this wood was too remarkable drawings of paper wasps nests. They
to simply burn, so I photographed it construct nests with these beautiful cone
DM: My current work is focusing on two
instead. My current series is called shapes, using wood that theyve digested.
series. My wife and I went on vacation
Firewood, and its about how beauti- The different wood fibers create delicate,
and stayed at a cabin on a small Michi-
ful a piece of firewood actually is. The subtle rows of grays. They have this
gan lake. There were beautiful birch
drawings are fairly large, and theres a intricate weaving pattern, and Im trying
trees on the property, but the owner
lot of intricate detail. My photography to show how incredible the weaving actu-
had had to cut down several that were
skills are getting better, and Im trying ally is. Its very challenging to show that
falling into the lake, and theyd been
weaving, to get the shadows right and
chopped up for firewood. One night I to get more detail in the photography
to have a three-dimensional look. Its so
was making a fire and went to pick up to push the edge of how much I can
incredible what nature has to offer. And
these logs, and I started to contemplate actually capture.
to capture that on a flat sheet of paper is
a challenge every time. Y

David Morrison studied printmaking at the
University of South Dakota and the University of
WisconsinMadison. His work can be found in the
collections of the Whitney Museum of American
Art, in New York; the Corcoran Gallery of Art and
the Smithsonian American Art Museum, both in
Washington, DC; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of
Art, in Kansas City, Missouri; and the Portland Art
Museum, in Oregon. He teaches at the Herron
School of Art and Design, in Indianapolis. He is
represented by Garvey Simon Art Access, in
New York City. For more information, visit

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 37

The materials you choose to work withincluding
your drawing media, surfaces and other toolswill
have a profound effect on your artwork.

38 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

here is no substitute for
skill and experience. A quill
pen did not draw Study of a
Male NudeMichelangelo
did. The identical pen
and ink in the hands of a
rookie would not produce
a similar masterpiece. But
its also true that if Michel-
angelo had used a ballpoint
pen or a No. 2 pencil, the
drawing would not possess the
same depth of value or volume. The
choice of materials is a vital part
of how an artist approaches his or
her work, and its critical to pick the
right drawing instruments, surfaces
and other tools to fit the needs of
your artistic vision.
If theres one thing Ive learned
over the years its that you shouldnt
try to make a material do some-
thing it cant. Just as you cant force
a cat to bark or a dog to meow, its
impossible to force your materials to
do something against their essen-
tial nature. For instance, graphite,
sanguine chalk and colored pencil all
yield less contrast than compressed
charcoal or ink, so if youre interest-
ed in deep, divergent contrasts, you
want charcoal rather than graphite.
However, when the goal is a more
delicate form of rendering, charcoal
can work, but I personally prefer
graphite or colored pencil, which I
find more readily suited to this goal.
This article will chronicle the
advantages and pitfalls of the mate-
rials Ive personally grown to know
over my decades as an artist. Well
examine the pros and cons of media
including graphite, colored pencil,
charcoal and ink, along with sur-
faces and other tools. Well discuss
when to use them, when to avoid
them and what you can expect (or
not expect) from each medium.
A sample of my favorite materials. At top, from left Study of a Male Nude
to right: mechanical pencil; ballpoint pen; holders for by Michelangelo, ca. 15031504, pen and
large crayons and graphite sticks; various colored brown ink, 16x 11. Collection Casa
pencils and pencil holders; oil-based, charcoal, Buonarroti, Florence, Italy.
carbon and chalk pencils; and pointed eraser.
Middle: vine charcoal. At bottom, from left to right:
compressed charcoal, sharp single-edge razor
blades; and two block erasersone for colored
media, another for dark media.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 39

Study for Queen of Hearts
by Ronald Sherr, ca. late 1980s, powdered
graphite, 54 x 52. Private collection.

Contrapposto Male Figure
by Dan Gheno, 2016, graphite, 17 x 8. All
artwork this article collection the artist unless
otherwise indicated.

any sense of realistic value and atmo-

sphere you have achieved elsewhere
in the drawing.
I dont often use graphite any-
more, but when I do its usually for
precise rendering or for analyzing
complex shapes or anatomical forms
on the body that I find confusing.
Indeed, when graphite was first
developed as an artistic medium
by the English in the mid-1500s, it
was promoted as an easier, more
practical and more fluid alternative
to metalpoint for detailed, analyti-
cal drawing. Graphite doesnt drag
on the paper as metalpoint does,
so with graphite artists can apply
value masses in a more natural, fluid
manner. But one thing missing from
graphite is metalpoints varied depth
of line, which can seem to pulsate in
a three-dimensional manner.

If you discount the mural I drew with Crayola crayons at age 4 on the
side of my older sisters 1951 Chevrolet sedan, my first experiences
in drawing were rendered with a yellow No. 2 pencil, a common first
experience. Because of this early familiarity, graphite pencils remain the
most comfortable and safe choice for many artists until they start taking
art classes. Well-meaning teachers sometimes try to get their students
to kick the graphite habit, forcing them to use charcoal instead. But I
usually encourage novice students to work with whats familiar to them
at first. When trying to grasp such challenging issues as human propor-
tions and value shapes, it doesnt help to struggle with the technical
problems of a new medium as well.
Known mostly as a linear medium, graphite is more flexible
than many artists and teachers give it credit for. You can actually get
some very fluid and painterly effects with it, for instance by applying
powdered graphite to the paper with a brush or chamois. Graphite
also comes in sticks of various shapes, sizes and hardness, which
allow for a variety of delicately blended masses or broad, assertively
expressive strokes.
The main drawback to graphite is its inability to achieve the inten-
sity of darkness that you can get from compressed charcoal or paint.
You can go only so dark with graphite before the material builds into
a reflective sheen that actually looks lighter instead of darker. In fact,
the more you try to rub and grind graphite into one area of the paper,
the more you will burnish it into a dense, shiny mass, canceling out

40 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

For me, colored pencil seems to
combine the strengths of graphite
and metalpoint. Some brands of
colored pencils impart a similar deli-
cacy and depth of line as metalpoint,
and although colored pencils arent
quite as erasable as graphite, brands
such as Stabilo Original and Caran
dAche have much of graphites po-
tential for revision and sensitive ease
of application. LE F T
Colored pencils are particularly Barbara Seated
suited to exacting linework. Many by Dan Gheno,
2002, colored
brands of colored pencil can be pencil, 24 x 18.
sharpened to pinpoint precision us-
ing a razorblade. I use a mid-value B E LOW
sanguine color for most of my col- Reclined,
ored pencil drawings, particularly Looking Over
when drawing on white paper. It by Dan Gheno,
allows for a delicate touch, but upon 2014, colored
pencil, 18 x 24.
pressing harder I can get a darker,
more assertive line. I will often use
a darker sepia color when working
on toned paper.
Colored pencils share graphites
limited range of value contrast, but
I find this can work to my advan-
tage, forcing me to take my time to
analyze the models light and dark
patterns as I render them. I usually
prefer to build up my values gradu-
ally, shading across large shadow
shapes with succeeding sweeps of
tone, until I reach the desired dark-
ness. Working in successive layers
can allow one to better maintain
the weave of the paper and help to
impart a sense of atmosphere.
Colored pencils can require a
gentle touch. They are often fragile
and prone to snapping in mid-stroke
if you press too hard, leaving an
unerasable skid mark on the paper.
If you try to push your values too
dark all at once, they will become
dense and shiny. With certain colors
the hue may even change with heavy
pressure or when you let your pencil
point get too short, allowing the
wood casing to chafe your linework.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 41

Whether youre using them in pencil, stick or
powder form, pure black chalk and charcoal pro-
vide the greatest value contrasts. I often like to
work with them in a loose manner, starting with
a broad value mass that relates to the big, ges-
tural shadow shape found on the model. Some
artists prefer powdered charcoal for this initial
stage, but I frequently begin my sketches in a
faint, linear manner with vine charcoal because
its so easily erased or adjusted. I then follow up
with a more permanent compressed charcoal
pencil or stick, which usually works as a sealant,
holding the more ephemeral, easily smudged
vine against the paper.
Charcoal pencils come in several grades of
hardness, like graphite. Softer charcoal is often
good for building up masses on large, expressive
drawings, whereas harder compressed charcoal
or carbon pencils, such as H and HB, are more
suited to line work on a smaller scale. Hard
charcoal pencils, which are easy to sharpen to
long, sharp points, can be used to quickly render
thick and thin lines by varying the position of
your hand, and you can build toward your dark
value masses with a rapid weaving of strokes.

42 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

TIP: When working in
compressed charcoal
or in graphite, keep
to a limited range of
pencil hardness to
maintain evenness and
texture harmony in
your toning. Jumping
between divergent
gradesfor instance
from an HB to a much
softer 6Bcan result
in a distracting ca-
cophony of rough and
smooth textures.

Broad, lineless tones are possible as

well. Holding the pencil to the side,
you can glide the long portion of the
charcoal shaft across the page, gradu-
ally building up the tone into a broad
value mass, much as you would when
using a colored pencil.
You might notice that vine charcoal
tends to be a bit warmer than com-
pressed charcoal. When using both, I
often need to go back into my drawing
at the end, sweeping over my value
masses with one or the other to har-
monize between cool and warm. For
the same reasons, its not a good idea
to mix white pencil or chalk with black
charcoal (or graphite), unless you do
so systematically throughout the draw-
ing. Otherwise, the mixed-up results
will look cloudy or just plain chaotic,
especially on toned paper.

Gravitys Pull
by Dan Gheno, 2015, carbon and charcoal pencil
with white chalk on toned paper, 15 x 23.
Female Figure in Shadow
by Dan Gheno, 2003, charcoal, 24 x 18.


Gesture Sketch
by Dan Gheno, 2016,
sanguine chalk, 17 x 12.
by Dan Gheno, 1995,
sanguine chalk, 11 x 24.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 43

Perhaps it was the sense of shame I felt for drawing on
my sisters carand the adverse conditioning that came
from the hours of elbow grease I spent rubbing out my
scribblesbut it was a long time before I renewed my
interest in grease- or oil-based drawing instruments.
When I did, using a variety of brands from Cretacolor to
Faber-Castells Pitt, I found the medium offers a handy
compromise between the darkness achievable with softer
chalks and pastels and the smoothness of colored pencil
and graphite. When drawing with crayon I generally use
a sanguine color.
Id recommend not combining different brands of
crayon in one drawing. Hues differ greatly between
manufacturers, even if they have the same name.

Scanning the Distance
by Dan Gheno, 2016, oil-based crayon, 10 x 10.

Male Figure About to Turn Around
by Dan Gheno, 2016, oil-based crayon, 17 x 11.
Some subjects demand the subtlety of graphite or colored pencil, whereas others require the
more dramatic value contrasts that charcoal, chalk and oil-based sanguine provide. Oil-based
media is not easy to erase, so sketch lightly at first until youre sure of your proportions.

44 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Woman Seated,
Looking Away
by Dan Gheno, ca.
19741975, ink,
11 x 16.


Over the years Ive worked with a variety of inking tools,
including brushes, dip pens, fountain pens, ballpoint
pens and Rapidograph pens.
During the 1970s, when I did drawings such as Wom-
an Seated, Looking Away, my favorite way to work was by
using a fountain pen to render the lines and a felt brush
marker to wash in the big value masses. I normally dipped
my fountain pen into a bottle of ink so that I could use
a dark, heavy ink that would otherwise clog up the pen. I
used an italic point held sideways, which offered a delicate
fine line and provided thick-thin variation. I also used a
grinding stone to sharpen and reshape my pen points
to get extra fine lines. Water-based felt brushes, such as
the one I used to lay in masses in this drawing, wear out
quickly. Instead of throwing them away I open their tops
and fill them with watered-down ink to rejuvenate their

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 45

wells. I often prefer the more watery
effect of these recharged brushes to
the results I get with a new one.
Although I still work in this
technique on occasion, today when
I work in ink I usually use ballpoint
pens, most often for eye-hand coor-
dination exercises. Because ink is
irrevocable, its a great training tool,
reinforcing the habit of thinking
before you put down a line.
I was first attracted to ballpoint
pens for their ability to replicate fine,
etch-like lines. Over the years, how-
ever, manufacturing standards have
diminished, and today many brands
of ballpoint spurt out unexpected
blobs of inkusually at the worst
possible moment. I recommend you
experiment to find the best and most
consistent brands. (Im a fan of the
Pilot EasyTouch .7mm fine pen and
its refill catridges, which can even be
used on their own.) In all cases, youll
need to get in the habit of regularly
cleaning off the paper detritus that
builds up around the pen point, which
can produce splotching after only a
few minutes of work.
I find it helpful to locate the
beginning and end points of the
objects Im drawing in ink. For
instance, when drawing a hand on
the hip, I might place dots at the
shoulder, elbow and hip and then
draw in between these points. If you
dont put placeholder points for all
the major beginning and end points
or at least try to imagine them in
your mind, its easy to underestimate
any foreshortening and draw a line
too long. And with ink, of course,
theres no erasing your mistakes.

Gesture Drawing
by Dan Gheno, 2014, ballpoint pen, 8 x 10.
I drew this quick gesture sketch in unforgiving ball-
point pen as an eye-hand coordination exercise.

by Dan Gheno, 2016, ballpoint pen, 7 x 7.
Ink is irrevocable, so its helpful to map out im-
portant proportional relationships with a few faint
dots as you work, giving you something to aim for.

46 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Theres no need to confine yourself to one medium. Dont be afraid
of mixing unrelated media, combining different colored pencils or
exploring unorthodox approaches. For example, I sometimes like to
combine graphite and colored pencil with ink, starting loosely with
pencil and finishing with ink.
As you experiment with combining media youll learn to work with-
in some important limitations. For instance you may find it difficult to
apply a chalkier medium on top of a slicker medium such as graphite
or colored pencil. Youll also discover you cant splash heavy washes on
thin paper. In fact for many mixed media approaches you may want to
consider tougher surfaces such as canvas, sanded paper or pastel cloth.
These provide wonderful traction, grabbing onto both dry and wet me-
dia and allowing combinations such as charcoal and paint, as we see in
Robin Smiths Marmadu, that wouldnt be possible on most papers.

Head of a Man
by Federico Barocci, ca.
15351612, black, white
and red chalk on blue
paper. Collection National
Museum, Stockholm,

by Robin Smith, 2015, oil,
charcoal and white chalk
on canvas, 14 x 14. Private
Tough surfaces such as
stretched canvas allow
you to combine materials
that wouldnt be possible
on paper. Note that al-
though you can use spray
varnish to seal the image,
some white charcoal and
pastel pigments tend to
dissolve when sprayed, so
it may be better to frame
such efforts under glass

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 47

Figure Sleeping
by Dan Gheno, 2016,
colored pencil and white
charcoal on toned paper,
18 x 24.

Looking to the Side
by Dan Gheno, 2016,
colored pencil and white
charcoal on toned paper,
24 x 18.

Some artists delight in rummaging through stacks of
unusual and expensive papers, but Im not a paper con-
noisseur, and I prefer the smooth bond-paper surface
that Ive drawn on since I was a child. Bond paper is
not hard to find in letter size, although it takes a little
detective work to find my preferred size of 18" x 24". Dif-
ferent manufacturers sell large-format bond papers that
are acid free and archival, but they vary greatly in tooth
and paper weighttry out different brands until you
find one that feels right for you. Among the ones I use
are Borden and Riley No. 39, a 16-lb layout bond paper
that comes close to the smooth, bright-white surface of
photocopy paper; and 50-lb Canson Sketch paper, which
has a slightly warmer and darker surface. Its also a little
rougher, which I sometimes prefer for the way it grabs
my pencil, producing darker lines and value masses.
Slick bond surfaces are not always conducive to vine
charcoal or pastel-based media. Believe it or not news-
print is perfect for these. It grabs onto the materials,
giving a smooth, gliding effect to ones value massing and
linework. Unfortunately newsprint is also highly acidic,
making it yellow and decay rather rapidly. I know many
artists who love this ephemeral surface but are forever in
pursuit of an archival substitute. The best replacement
Ive found is Arches Text Wove, which shares most of the
same properties. I also find that absorbent printmaking
papers such as Rives BFK take charcoal and pastel in a
similar manner. Take care to work gently on printmaking
papers, which dont have much sizing. Their fibers are
delicate and start to pill when erasing or applying material
with a heavy hand.

48 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Many good options are available
for artists who want to work on toned
paper. When Im working on a toned
ground I gravitate toward smoother
surfaces, such as Strathmores 400
Series Toned and Artagain, as well
as Canson Mi-Teintes, preferring the
silky, blotter backside of this paper
over its more textural front. They
allow for delicate, blended render-
ing, as well as distinctive linework.
Im also fond of the lightly textured
surface of Strathmores 500 Series
Charcoal Assorted Tints paper. You
can create a clean, shimmering effect
on this paper if youre careful not to
press too hard and fill in its textural
valleys. I like to stroke my dark and
white pencils gently along the top
surface of the paper texture, allowing
the resulting tones to vibrate against
the color of the paper.
Arm Foreshortened
by Dan Gheno, 2016, oil-based crayon and white
charcoal on toned paper, 14 x 10.
by Dan Gheno, 2015, charcoal and carbon pencil
with white charcoal on toned paper, 22 x 16.
by Dan Gheno, 2008, colored pencil and white
charcoal on toned paper, 12 x 16.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 49

Some teachers ban erasers in an
effort to get students to look closely
and commit before making a mark.
Certainly an eraser is no substitute
for failing to look closely at the model
and thinking before you put down a
line, but I firmly believe erasers are
an important tool when not overused.
I subscribe to the view of Americas
greatest draftsman, Thomas Eakins,
that drawing is a process of revi-
sion, that you put down something
and then adjust this estimate toward
greater accuracy as you work. Just re-
member to look closely at the model
and draw lightly so that you can more
easily erase later on.
Erasers are not all created equal,
and Ive found that the best type of
eraser can vary depending on the me-
dia and paper youre using. Kneaded
erasers are usually effective for adjust-
ing small vine charcoal shapes. Plastic
erasers such as those made by Tom-
bow and Staedtler are more efficient at
lightening or removing colored pencil,
compressed charcoal and carbon pen-
cil from smooth paper. There are also
long, pointed plastic erasers that look
like mechanical pencilssuch as those
made by Tuff Stuff and Tombow
which Ive found indispensable for
cleaning up small details and sharpen-
ing the edge of a shape. Even though
you can roll a kneaded eraser into a
sharp point, it wont give you as clean a
shape. Rather these soft erasers create
a more blurry edgewhich can be use-
ful when you want such an effect.
Unfortunately, erasers harden and
become worthless as they get older;
they can even smear or rub a line
deeper into the paper. Additionally, it
doesnt hurt to reserve separate eras-
ers for black media and for colored
pigments, and you should clean
erasers frequently to prevent smudge-
making pigment from accumulating
on them and leaving stains where you
want clean paper.
When you keep your erasers new
and clean, you will find that they are

50 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

excellent drawing tools, not only for removing unwanted
marks but for making wanted ones, as well. I often lay
a broad tone of chalk or charcoal across my figure draw-
ing and then draw light hatch lines into the mass with a
pointed eraser to create a modeled effect, much as you
might use a white pencil on toned paper. I will sometimes
blend a tonal mass with the flat side of a block eraser. On
occasion I will press down with a kneaded eraser to lessen
the assertiveness of a line. Sometimes Ill thin out a line by
chiseling at its edge with a pointed plastic eraser, making
some of the marks more delicate and fainter than other
lines for rhythmic purposes. I often do this to imitate the
effects of form and light, particularly where the bound-
ary line of a volume faces the light source, or to indicate
a softer fleshy form compared to a more distinct line of a
projecting bone.
There are many other tools to consider. Razor blades
and sandpaper are useful for sharpening pencils. Many
artists like to use chamois and stumps to blend charcoal,
pastel and graphite for even tones. I prefer to use my
fingers for blending small, delicate masses, and Ill use a
facial tissue (sans ointment) to get a broader, even value
mass. When using your fingers, its important to keep
them clean and dryI usually wipe my finger on a paper
towel before each useotherwise the oils of your skin
will interfere with the drawing.

TIP: I nd it makes a difference what

order you employ various erasers
when using more than one type in
a single drawing. If I try to erase a
deeply inscribed line with a kneaded
eraser rst, the line becomes even
more resistant to subsequent at-
tempts by a plastic eraser. I avoid
using the smaller pointed plastic
erasers on large areas, since they can
embed the pigment into the paper;
Ive found the larger plastic erasers
better suited to such tasks.

Intersecting Limbs
by Dan Gheno, 2010, colored pencil and white
charcoal on toned paper, 24 x 18.

by Dan Gheno, 2010, colored pencil and white
charcoal on toned paper, 24 x 18.

Fast Sketch
by Dan Gheno, 2016, sanguine chalk, 17 x 12.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 51

Curled Figure Left Curled Figure Right
by Dan Gheno, 2015, oil- by Dan Gheno, 2015,
based crayon, 16 x 11. charcoal, 12 x 16.


Curled Figure Side
by Dan Gheno, 2016, colored pencil and white charcoal on toned
paper, 12 x 15.

52 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Its natural to have a favorite material, but try not to be- into your workmany artists develop muscle memory
come too dependent on any one product or brand. It never based upon the traction and resistance that the same
fails: After you get used to one type of pencil or paper, it pencil has against the same paper. After continually
gets discontinued! Its happened to me many times, for using the same materials, you may find that your hand
instance with my favorite charcoal pencils and sanguine wants to go at the same speed and angle regardless of
chalk. Speaking from my experience, I would advise you the subject matter. These habits can get in the way of
to experiment with various brands of your favorite draw- seeing your subjects specific shapes and size relation-
ing medium so that youre not left in the lurch when a ships and can even interfere with the drawing process,
material changes or becomes unavailable. I also advise for instance by demanding a heavy line when your goals
holding on to pencil nibsif youre caught off-guard demand delicacy, or vice versa.
by a surprise cancellation, you can put them in a pencil Sometimes the change of material can be something
extender and get quite a bit more mileage out of them. as minimal as a change of color to jumpstart your visual
Even if they dont stop making your favorite drawing perceptions. If you find that your line weight is too heavy
utensil, you might find it useful to change media once in for your goals, you might switch to a lighter color, say
a while. Its quite possible to fall into complacency when from a heavy black charcoal pencil to light sanguine
using the same materials for too long, and switching pencil. You could also try the opposite tack by using an
things up can help maintain your sense of enthusiasm. even darker material to train your hand to back off and
It can also help break bad habits that might be creeping use a lighter touch.

heres no doubt that ones choice of materials will impact the superficial FROM LE F T
Hercules Farnese, Back View
look of a drawing, and the materials mentioned here are just some of by Hendrick Goltzius, ca. 1592, engraving,
those Ive found helpful to my particular vision. But in the end its the art- 16 x 1178 .
ist who makes the drawing, not the materials. Consider Hendrick Goltzius
Hercules Farnese, Back View
multiple versions of the Farnese Hercules. Whatever material he was using, by Hendrick Goltzius, 1591, black chalk on blue
Goltzius intense interest in sculptural volume makes the artworks compel- paper, heightened with white, 14x 8.
Collection Teylers Museum, Haarlem,
ling, giving the images power and lasting artistic importance. Y Netherlands.

Hercules Farnese, Back View

by Hendrick Goltzius, 1591, red chalk, indented
for transfer, 15x 8. Collection Teylers
Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 53

A passion for printmaking unites
these four accomplished artists, who
each work with a different process.


Printmaking is drawings first cousin. In both

disciplines artists work directly with their hands
to create lines and tones, ultimately resulting in a
finished work on paper. But printmaking involves
an additional array of tools and techniques that have
fascinated artists for centuries. Every printmaking
process offers its own sort of beauty while also
imposing certain constraints on the artist. Here we
explore the work of four printmakers, who share their
thoughts on their chosen printmaking processes.

A certain amount of unpredictability
is endemic to many printmaking pro-
cesses, and for Ellen Heck this is part
of the appeal. Theres a lot of chance
that happens between putting an
image on a matrix, inking it and pull-
ing it off the press, she says. These
things are not entirely predictable, in
a great way. Seeing the finished print
is always a surprise. Its exciting. I like
that feeling. The first time I took a
printmaking class, I felt it was some-
thing I could do for a long time.
In recent years Hecks work has
focused on portraits that play with
symbolism and metaphor. Her series
Forty Fridas dresses up women and
girls as Frida Kahlo, each portrait evok-
ing different aspects of the painters
physical appearance and artistic output.
The series Lonely Hearts is described
by the artist as metaphorical portraits

Abigail as Frida
by Ellen Heck, 2012, woodcut
and drypoint, 8 x 6. From the
series Forty Fridas.

54 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

that use the symbol of the heart to explore
ideas of love and emotion. A somewhat
similar approach is taken in the recent
series Fascinators, in which Heck adorns
her young subjects with headpieces shaped
like Mbius strips.
Hecks work combines two traditional
printmaking processes: drypoint, an intaglio
process, and woodcut, a relief process. In
intaglio processessuch as engraving, etch-
ing and drypointmarks are carved into a
metal plate using one of several methods.
Those indentations are filled with ink, and
when the plate is pressed to paper, the ink is
transferred to the paper. In relief processes,
such as woodcut and linocut, the opposite
occurs. In these methods the artist carves
away the negative parts of the image and ink
is applied to the remaining, raised portions
of the plate, which is then pressed to paper.
Heck was inspired to combine intaglio
and relief processes by Mary Cassatt (1844
1926), who in the late 1800s produced color
etchings inspired by Japanese woodcuts that
had recently been exhibited in Paris. Ive
always loved those images, and I wanted to
learn from Cassatts process, Heck says.
She used aquatint to achieve much of the
Japanese woodcut feel and combined it with
drypoint. I decided to use woodcut itself in
combination with drypoint.

Laura Wearing a Mbius
Strip as a Hat
by Ellen Heck, 2016,
woodcut, drypoint and
hand painting, 9 x 6 12 . From
the series Fascinators.

by Ellen Heck, 2014,
woodcut and drypoint,
14 x 14. From the series
Lonely Hearts.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 55

Girl With
Heart Wings
by Ellen Heck,
2014, woodcut
and drypoint,
14 x 9. From the
series Lonely


Julia Wearing a
Mbius Strip as
a Hat
by Ellen Heck,
2016, woodcut,
drypoint and hand
painting, 9 x 6 12 .
From the series

56 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Once I figured out how to register properlyhow to get
multiple plates lined upI found that this combined process
has a lot to offer, Heck continues. It can produce clarity and
texture at the same time. Sometimes when youre using ink on
a copper plate the chemicals can react and get muddy, but with
a woodcut that doesnt happen. You can maintain clear translu-
Drawing: Whats something an artist interested
cent yellows and oranges with the relief process and then use
in drypoint should know before attempting it?
the intaglio to selectively place line and tone.
EH: Just do it! Printmaking is so rewarding.
For the print Abigail as Frida (page 54), Heck began by
Theres that element of chance you dont
using drypointscratching marks directly into a copper plate
have with pencil on paper. And anyone who
with a sharp needleto create the lines of her subjects face,
loves to draw will especially love drypoint,
hair and neck, plus lines to indicate the boundaries of the
because its basically drawingdrawing
shoulders and scarf. I print that drypoint image one time to
with chance as your collaborator.
make sure its headed in the right direction, she says. Its
DR: What are some of drypoints biggest
hard to know how it will look until you print it.
strengths? And what challenges does it present?
While the ink from that first printing is still wet, she presses
EH: With drypoint you can get a wide range
it against two uncut pieces of wood, transferring the image to
of marks, which I really like. As for chal-
the wood surfaces. She then carves these two blocks for printing
lenges, I guess the hardest part is scale.
different colored portions of the image. In Abigail as Frida she
Prints tend to be small for reasons of econ-
used one block to print the flowers and scarf, carving away the
omythe plates are expensive, and presses
rest of the image. She used the other block for the background,
are also limited in size. But this doesnt have
carving away the shape of the girl.
to be a limitation.
The first part of Abigail to be printed was the woodblock
DR: What resources would you recommend for
background of translucent yellow, with hand-painted addi-
artists looking to explore this method?
EH: I know several good books, but the
one that changed my life is Barbara Stern
Shapiros Mary Cassatt: The Color Prints. It
shows Cassatts etchings with all their proofs
in different stages so that you can really see
her processits basically a how-to. Id also
recommend workshops at local art centers.

tions of orange where the flowers would be. Several

days later, after that was dry, the next woodcut
added the pink flowers and gray scarf. Heck then
cut that woodblock again to create a reduction cut,
adding a third and final relief layer of purple flow-
ers and white scarf stripes. When everything was
dry once again, the artist inked her copper plate
and printed the drypoint on top of the woodcut lay-
ers, adding the lines of the models head, hair and
body, completing the image.
Heck completes each of these steps a dozen
times, spending one day on each phase of print-
ing. After some attrition, this generally results in
editions of nine finished prints: explorations of
identity produced using a combination of tradi-
tional processes.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 57

Ive always been very attracted to the idea of graphic
languagehow contour and line work together to create
an image and how an image can be broken down
into various strokes and crosshatches, says
Andrew Raftery, an artist and instructor
at the Rhode Island School of Design
(RISD), in Providence. Given these
interests its not surprising that
Raftery has spent his career
working in the highly linear
technique of engraving, in
which an artist carves lines
into a metal plate using a
steel tool called a burin.
Raftery works in
series, often crafting nar-
ratives that explore rituals
of everyday life. His latest
series, which was eight
years in the making, is his
most ambitious to date.
Titled The Autobiography
of a Garden, it comprises 12
engravings printed on earth-
enware plates using a process
of Rafterys own devising.
The sequence follows Raftery
over the course of a year as he tends
to an ornamental flower garden at his
mothers home in Providence. The garden
is very elaborate, and I think somewhat perfor-
mative, he says. In my neighborhood Im much more
February: Planting Seeds
by Andrew Raftery, 2016, vinyl
paint on panel, 16 diameter.
All artwork by Andrew Raftery
courtesy the artist and RYAN LEE,
New York. Andrew Raftery.

June Seedling Study
by Andrew Raftery, 2016,
pen-and-ink-wash over graphite,
11 x 17.

58 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

known as the guy in the hat who works on the garden that he used for experimenting with poses and points
than as an artist. He describes the project as a book of of view. He eventually condensed his many studies into
hours. Im very interested in narrative, and I thought 12 circular grisaille paintings that would form the basis
that this full unit of the year would imply that this pro- of the engravings.
cess happens again and again. Raftery traced each grisaille painting onto a sheet of
Like several of Rafterys previous series, The Auto- clear acetate, which he then digitally shrank to the size
biography of a Garden has a comic side. I think the of the copper engraving plate. Once I had the outlines
humor comes out of the very seriousness with which on the copper I just scratched them in using drypoint,
I pursue these goals, which is kind of paralleled by the he says. Then I started engraving and building up the
sort of extreme thoroughness of how I make the work, images through this language of marks.
Raftery says. I hope that people do find it somewhat If youre wondering how an engraving is printed onto a
funny that I make this elaborate flower garden with such ceramic plate, its not exactly simple. This was an indus-
ardor during the entire year. trial technique developed in Europe in the 18th century and
In preparation for making the prints, Raftery very popular through the 19th and early 20th centuries,
spent years studying his gardening activities, drawing Raftery says. But that industry is completely gone, many of
sketches, and even creating wax sculptures of himself the patented methods are lost, and the proprietary materials

September: Mowing
by Andrew Raftery, 2016,
engraving transfer-printed
on glazed white earthenware
plate, 12" diameter.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 59

good, he says. It just didnt have the
flow between the image and the edge. I
realized that I had to respond to the fact
that this is a three-dimensional object
with its own requirements, so I had to
change my engraving technique. This
involved making his marks farther apart
and changing the direction of his hatch-
ing. Instead of following the perspec-
tival marks, I put the hatching down in
directions that contradict the perspec-
tival marks, almost creating this kind of
a wash, he says.
All told, the project resulted in 80 sets
of 12 plates, which went on exhibition at
RYAN LEE, in New York City, almost as
soon as they were finished. Its a great
achievement, but Raftery admits that
finishing it was a relief. When I finished
this work I was just so happy, he says.
It felt like Id been in this very elaborate,
dark building for eight years, and finally I
found a door and I walked out.

are no longer made. So, with my colleagues at RISD,
we had to figure it out.
For the pottery itself, Raftery worked closely with
Larry Bush, a ceramics instructor at RISD, who devel-
oped a method for producing the unique shapes that
Raftery had designed for each plate. He also conducted
scores of clay tests to find just the right creamy, earth-
enware tone.
The process they developed for printing onto the
ceramic plates combined centuries-old techniques with
contemporary materials. Raftery and his collaborators
looked through old patents for inks that could survive
being fired in a kiln, ultimately using a 19th-century Eng-
lish formula that includes linseed oil, red lead and tar.
As for transferring the engraving, Raftery made use of a
new product intended for decal printing. Its this amaz-
ing material made in Germany, Raftery says. Its a
sheet coated with selenium fluxbasically paper coated
in plastic. It seems like the most unlikely surface to take
an engraving, but it takes the most beautiful impres-
sion. Every molecule of ink is taken off the plate onto
the decal paper. Raftery printed his engravings onto the
decal paper, applied that to the glazed earthenware, and
fired it in a kiln, resulting in a permanent image.
Raftery hit a snag, however, after managing to
print on a plate for the first time. It didnt look very

60 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Drawing: Whats something an artist interested in engraving should know before attempting it?
AR: Engraving is not a complicated thing to learn, it just takes a lot of practice. Once
youve figured out how to sharpen the tools and start making lines, its just practice
thats needed to make the print you want.
DR: What are some of engravings strengths?
AR: One advantage of engraving is that it allows for incredible control over the depth
and width of the lineI think an artist whos really attracted to that kind of control
might want to try engraving. Another is that it doesnt require acid, so in some ways its May: Cultivating Lettuce
a nontoxic method. And I also love engravings simplicity: so few tools, just the artists by Andrew Raftery, 2016,
hands and eyes working with the burin and the plate to make the image. engraving transfer-printed
on glazed white earthenware
DR: What is the biggest challenge that engraving poses? plate, 12" diameter.
AR: The hardest thing is to sharpen well. You cannot engrave well, or safely, without
a perfectly sharp tool. Its so easy to push tools beyond their optimum sharpness, and May Lettuce Bed and
thats when I make a mistake. Entry
DR: Do you think engraving is particularly well-suited to any subjects or styles of drawing? by Andrew Raftery, 2016,
pen-and-ink-wash over
AR: The thing that excites me about the history of engraving is how many solutions art- graphite, 16 x 13 12 .
ists have found within a medium that seems to have such strong constraints. I teach an B E LOW
engraving course at RISD, and Im always surprised by the range of work the students do Open House: Scene Five
and how theyre able to find such individuality within the technique. (Master Bedroom)
by Andrew Raftery, 2008,
engraving, 22 x 30.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 61

Hawaii artist Hiroki Morinoue began his career as a
painter but changed his focus to printmaking after a
formative residency in Japan, in 1976, during which he
was introduced to mokuhanga, a traditional Japanese
style of woodcut printing. Thats when I did my first
woodblock print, he says. In 1980 I went back to Japan
and for three years studied the Japanese woodblock
printing techniques. Since then Ive been printing with
both Western and Eastern techniques.
Morinoues vibrantly colored woodcut prints combine
representational subjects with patterns inspired by na-
ture and geometrical forms. Like his chosen technique,
his subject matter is inspired in great part by Japanese
art. In Japan there is a style of painting called Nihon-
ga, made with a painting medium unique to Japan,
Morinoue says. The images glorify nature and the land-
scape. In Japan I saw some large Nihon-ga paintings,
and that was a big influence. When I returned to Hawaii
I started to look at nature and take elements that would
work for me and my images.
Many of Morinoues prints comprise several distinct
frames. Id been a single-image maker for a long time,
he says. But I began to want to create a more narrative
image, and whenever you put two images together, you
create a narrative. This effect can be seen in 36 Views
of Water, an ongoing series of diptychs, begun in 2012,
that explore the many forms of water and mankinds
relation to it (see page 64).

62 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

ABOVE As its title indicates, the series is inspired in part by Japanese ukiyo-e prints,
especially Hokusais (17601849) series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji.
by Hiroki Morinoue, 2010, color woodcut,
24 x 45. Morinoue says that he chose water as a subject because, I think its the most
important commodity. Its the spinal cord of the earth. And all my research
Transition 4 Rabbit (Usagi) has been on environmental changes and concerns. The two halves of these
by Hiroki Morinoue, 2011, color woodcut, images have their own functions and personalities. One is a generic plate that
13 x 9. represents water, movement and calmness, Morinoue says. I call that side
the host. The other side shows a specific form that relates to water: a bottle, a
cup, a funnel or a gasoline drum. This side I call the guest.
The artists other series include Garden Space, which juxtaposes details
from imagined gardens. Theyre all about object/space relationships,
Morinoue says. The artist has also produced a humorous series inspired
by the Chinese Zodiac, with animals confronting modern technology. It
was actually an American interpretation of these animalsvery graphic
and bold, Morinoue says. The images appear somewhat pixelated, a look
inspired by modern technology.
Morinoues process begins with graphite thumbnail sketches. Theyre
actually not bigger than my thumbs, but theyre the most important thing, he
says. Next I either blow up the sketch or draw one at the size of my wood-
block. I then transfer the drawing with carving paperjust transferring linear
details to the block.

Garden Space II
by Hiroki Morinoue, 2016,
color woodcut, 13 x 36.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 63

Morinoue uses a number of
woods, including birch, Shina, bass-
wood and Philippine mahogany. You
always hope that the wood grain will
print dramatically, he says. Some-
times it does, sometimes it doesnt.
Morinoue carves out the negative
space using a variety of toolsmost
often a U-shaped gouge for larger
areas and a knife for linear details.
Once the carving is complete,
Morinoue applies water-based ink,
another material that is traditional to
Eastern art. The use of watermedia
is the biggest difference between the
Japanese and Western techniques,
he says. Its ten times more difficult
with the water-based ink, as you have
to carefully adjust the amount of
water you use. The drier you print,
the sharper the detail. And if youre
printing with multiple colors, the pa-
per has to be kept damp throughout

View of Water No. 16Deleaf

by Hiroki Morinoue, 2012, color woodcut, 1212 x 18.

64 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Our Daily Use: 36
Views of Water
by Hiroki Morinoue.
Installation view,
overall 69 x 200.

the whole process. With the Western


technique you can put the ink on
the block, have a cup of coffee, then
press. But in the Japanese technique
its all a matter of seconds. Drawing: Whats something an artist interested in woodcut should know
A typical print by Morinoue before attempting it?
includes 12 to 15 colors, each of HM: Remember that printmaking is a process. You first have to come
which is separately applied to the up with the image, either mentally or in a sketch. But a lot of times
woodblock and pressed to the paper. getting from the sketch to the print is an experience, because the
In traditional Japanese fashion, woodgrain and how it accepts the ink will determine how the image
Morinoue prints not with a press comes out. If youre not used to surprises, youll have a few of them.
but by hand, rubbing the back of the Hopefully theyre good ones!
paper against the woodblock. DR: What are some of woodcuts biggest strengths? And what challenges
Today Morinoue is busy both with does it present?
his artwork and with his activities as HM: One edge for a printmaker, I think, is the clarity and sharpness of
the artistic director of Donkey Mill the finished image. The biggest challenge is to make the drawing look
Art Center, in Holualoa, Hawaii. Next natural when you transfer it from your sketch to the carved image.
fall at the art center, Morinoue and DR: What resources would you recommend for artists looking to explore
his wife will host the International woodcut?
Mokuhanga Conference 2017 Hawaii, HM: Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop, a new book by April
the first event of its kind outside of Vollmer. It covers the influence of Japanese woodblock prints in the
Japan, held in collaboration with the Western world, and it has lots of basic information.
University of Hawaii at Manoa and
Honolulu Printmakers.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 65

The prints of Frederick Mershimer give us dramatic, noir-
tinged scenes of New York City at night. In mezzotint, the
artist found a process perfectly suited to this subject.
Mezzotint is an intaglio technique that involves sub-
tractive drawing, with the image emerging out of a dark
ground. The process begins with an artist using a tool
known as a rocker to texture the surface of a smooth metal
platea labor-intensive process. People think mezzotint
is hard, but it isnt hardits just time consuming, Mer-
shimer says. Once you have a rocked plate, if you can
draw you can make a mezzotint.
Rocking roughens the surface of the copper, making
it similar to the surface of a file, only many times finer.
When this rocked plate is inked and pressed to paper,
it prints as an entirely black field. The artist creates the
image by smoothing the plate using a burnisher and a
scraper. The burnisher is the primary tool, Mershimer
says. It has a smooth, polished tip, and when you press
on it, it pushes those little pieces of copper back down,
essentially undoing what youve done with the rocker.
He describes the process as similar to drawing with
Mershimer produces an image by using a burnisher to smooth areas of
a pencil, except that instead of producing dark lines and a copper plate that he had previously textured using a rocker.
tones, the instrument produces light lines and tones,

66 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

which stand out from their dark Mershimer first encountered the ABOVE
42nd Street
surroundings. With mezzotint, medium in the early 1980s, when he
by Frederick Mershimer,
after youve prepped the plate its was working as a framer. He became 1997, mezzotint, 15 x 25.
just like drawing with a pencil, he intrigued by the prints he was fram-
says. Only the harder you push, ing and soon began taking night Above the Rush
the lighter your line is. Mershimer classes in printmaking. My second by Frederick Mershimer,
argues that of the various intaglio print was a mezzotint, and I just 2003, mezzotint, 12 x 17.

printmaking methods, mezzotint is

one of the closest kin to drawing. A
lot of printmaking processes depend
on timing, acid and other factors.
Mezzotint has never been one
of the most widely used printmak-
ing processes among fine artists.
Its kind of a lost art, Mershimer
says. It was invented in the 1600s
and used mostly as a reproductive
processit wasnt really a fine art
medium. It was the first way of mak-
ing tonal prints; before that engraved
prints used crosshatching to create
tone. It was like the high-definition
television of its time. It was used in
book publishing until photogravure A rocker, burnisher
was invented, but then it died out. and scraper.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 67

Works of Man
(New York Stock
by Frederick Mershimer,
2016, mezzotint,
10 18 x 15.

loved the technique, he says. Its now been his primary

medium for more than 30 years, and he is working on an
instructional book about the process.
The artists earliest work was figurative, but once he
started making prints he switched his focus to cityscape and
architecture. I was always drawn to buildingsI consid-
ered architecture as a career when I was in high school, he
says. The power of architecture just spoke to me. As he
walks around New York City, a part of the artist is always
looking out for subjects. A scene has to say something to
me, he says. It has to have an emotional core. Sometimes
its seeing a neighborhood thats in fluxfor example Times
Square. In the 1970s it was really rough. Now its Disney-
fied; its like Las Vegas. Mershimers print 42nd Street (page
67) illustrates the early phases of this transition, showing an
adult theater on one side of the street, across from another
theater whose marquee proclaims Bring the Family.
The artist works mainly from photography. In the
beginning I was a purist and I felt like I had to draw
everything, but because I do night scenes thats not always

Three Bridges
by Frederick Mershimer, 2008, mezzotint, 11 12 x 18.

68 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Drawing: What are some of mezzotints biggest
strengths? And what challenges does it present?
FM: The single biggest challenge is grounding
the plate. A lot of people will quit a quarter of the
way into the rocking portion. But the reward is
that you can make prints without toxic chemi-
cals. And its very direct: you can see the image
happening on the plate. Its not really compli-
cated, just time-consuming.
DR: Do you think mezzotint is particularly well-
suited to any subjects or styles of drawing?
FM: You have to want to work in a chiaroscuro
manner. Mezzotint its best for images with a
lot of black, some gray, and white highlights. If
youre drawing a light and airy scene, you dont
want mezzotint.
DR: What resources would you recommend for art-
ists looking to explore mezzotint?
FM: Theres a book by my friend Carol Wax
called The Mezzotint: History and Technique.
And Im working on a how-to book myself.

practical, he says. It might be freezing cold. Or for one

scene of a bridge, there were rats everywhereI was
stomping my feet to get rid of them. I wasnt going to sit To learn more about these artists, visit the following
down and start drawing. websites:
Once Mershimer has chosen his subject and is satis-
fied with his reference image, the editing begins. Ill Ellen Heck:
take things out, change perspective and move details Frederick Mershimer:
around, he says. I definitely take a lot of artistic license.
I once took the Empire State Building out of a scene. Hiroki Morinoue:
People say my work is photographic, but look at it! There
Andrew Raftery:
are hardly any street signs. Everything thats in there has
been included for a reason.
One of Mershimers most recent prints is Works of
Man, which shows the sculptural group at the top of the
New York Stock Exchange. In real life the building is
nestled between skyscrapers, and Mershimer couldnt
find a view that he was happy with. After sketching
and tinkering for two weeks, I finally decided to just
take the other buildings out and put clouds behind it,
making it a more Icarus-y, reaching-for-the-heavens
idea. While I was working on it I kept thinking, Um,
there should be a building behind there. But I think it
was the right decision. Y

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 69

We learn the basics of five intaglio printmaking processes.


ften, when viewing an exhibition of
prints, well look at the labels and
encounter the names of printing
media that we dont fully understand.
Whats the difference between a
drypoint and an aquatint? Between a
monotype and a monoprint? Be-
tween a lithograph and a linocut?
To begin, there are four traditional
printmaking categories: relief (which in-
cludes such processes as woodcut and lino-
cut), planography (lithography), serigraphy
(silkscreen) and, finally, intaglio. Here, we
explore the last of these categories, which
includes five principal processes.
Intaglioa word originating in Italy, with
a silent grefers to prints made from plates
in which the areas that carry the ink are
recessed below the surface of the plate. The
plates are most often made of copper, but
zinc, brass and other materials are also used.
The method for creating the recessed areas
differs with the technique, and in a moment
well learn how each one works. But once
the plate itself is complete, all five processes
share the following steps to produce the
finished print.
First, the artist applies ink to the entire
surface of the finished plate, often using a
roller. The ink is then squeegeed across the
plate, forcing the ink into every recessed
line and area. The plate is then wiped with
Studio Corner a rag called a tarlatan. This removes the ink
by Richard Pantell, 2006, etching, 8 x 6.

70 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Portrait (detail)
Note that the entire image is composed
with line, with dense passages of cross-
hatching used to create the darkest tones.

from the raised portions of the plate,

leaving only the ink in the recessed
areas to be printed.
The plate is then placed onto the
bed of an etching press, a rectan-
gular steel slab. A dampened sheet
of etching paper, larger than the
plate itself, is laid on top, and two
felt blankets are placed on top of
the paper. The bed is then cranked
between two steel rollers, pressing
the blankets into the softened paper
and forcing the paper down into the
recessed areas of the metal plate,
where it grabs the ink. After the bed
comes to rest at the other end of the
press, the blankets are lifted off, and
the paper is removed to reveal the
finished print, or impression.
The look of the final print is af-
fected by numerous factors, includ- then working the plate further until Portrait
ing the choice of ink, the method of it is completed, when the final proof by Coenraad Lauwers, 1649,
wiping the ink from the plate and the is taken. At that point the plate is engraving, 758 x 5 38 .

choice of paperin addition to the ready for editioningthe creation of

choice of printmaking process and multiple impressions, which the art-
the artists treatment of the image. ist signs and numbers.
The contours of the plate leave an There are five traditional intaglio
embossment on the paper called the processes: engraving, etching, dry-
platemark, and the residual ink on the point, aquatint and mezzotint. Each
surface is called plate tone. produces prints with a distinct look
Prints are usually worked through and feel, and many prints are created
an evolution called states, with the through a combination of two or
artist printing a sample impression, more of these processes.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 71

by Stephen Parrish, ENGR AVING E TCHING
ca. 1885, etching,
8 58 x 11. Engraving was developed in the Middle Ages, Etching dates back to the early 1500s. Tra-
making it one of the oldest printmaking pro- ditional etching is still practiced today, as
cesses. The artist creates lines by cutting into are a large number of derivative techniques
the copper plate using a tool called a burin. It developed since then. In sharp contrast to the
requires patience, strength and practice. Curved painstaking medium of engraving, etching is
lines are created not by pushing the burin in very fluid and spontaneous.
a new direction but by turning the plate while At the start of the process the metal plate
pushing the burin straight ahead. It is a highly is coated with a thin layer of an asphaltum-
linear process, and shading is accomplished based, acid-resistant substance called etching
largely through hatching and crosshatching. ground. Using an etching needle, the artist
Burins are available in several sizes, but draws lines through the ground, exposing the
even a single burin will give the engraver great metal. The plate is then lowered into a mild
control over the line. The tip of the burin is dia- acid bath, where the exposed areas are etched,
mond-shaped, and as the pointed tip is pushed or bitten, by the acid, leaving them recessed
deeper into the copper, the line becomes wider. beneath the surface of the plate.
As the cut finishes, the line becomes thinner, The longer the plate is left in the acid, the
much like the line of a crow-quill pen. Engrav- more metal is eaten away, resulting in deeper
ers create much of their tone using this thin-to- and darker lines. Multiple bites are often used
thick-to-thin approach. to create a variety of line thicknesses. Unlike an
engraved line, an etched line generally main-
tains the same thickness from start to finish.

72 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

Like etching, drypoint involves fluid and spontane-
ous drawing. Unlike etching, it does not involve
acid. Used since the early 1600s, the technique
involves scratching the image directly onto the
surface of the plate with an etching needle or a
diamond-pointed needle. As the needle makes
a shallow mark beneath the surface of the plate
it also raises a thin ridge of metal called a burr.
The burr holds most of the ink, rather than the
recessed line itself.
Drypoint produces a warm, soft line with a
small amount of ink reaching away from the line.
Drypoint lines, like engraved lines, range from
thin to thick, to thin again, but they possess a
softness not found in engraving.
Due to friction from wiping the plate,
burrs break down very quickly and can only be
pressed a few times. To enable the printing of a
large edition, the artist must employ a process
called steel facing to make the surface of the
plate more permanent.

Downtown Storefront
by Richard Pantell, 2006, etching, 8 x 6.

The Old Steeple-Cab
by Richard Pantell, 2002, drypoint, 18 x 12.

The Old Steeple-Cab (detail)
Note the soft tones emitted from the lines, one
of the most recognizable elements of drypoint.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 73

Still Life
With Light Breeze
by Karen Whitman,
1975, aquatint and
etching, 9 x 12.

AQUATINT Aquatint tones are even and flat but can be altered
by burnishing or by utilizing other etching techniques.
Aquatint, developed in the 1600s, is actually a varia- Areas can also be made to fade from light to dark by
tion on etching, but it is used to such a high degree and slowly sliding the plate into the acid bath. The areas that
includes so many variations of its own that it is widely are submerged first spend more time in the acid, making
considered its own medium. It differs from line etching them darker than the areas that are submerged last.
in being primarily a tonal process, somewhat similar to

commercial halftone printing, which uses small dots to
create tones. In the case of aquatint, tone is created by
small, nearly microscopic light dots within the dark field.
Mezzotint has a known inventor: Ludwig von Siegen
Aquatints are often combined with traditional line etch-
(1609ca. 1680), of Amsterdam, who developed the
ing or other etching techniques.
process in the 1640s. It is the only intaglio process that
The artist begins an aquatint by dusting the plate with
is worked entirely from dark to light. It produces unique
fine rosin powder. The plate is heated until the powder
velvety tones that can appear quite painterly.
melts into droplets that adhere to the plate. These droplets
The artist begins by preparing the metal plate to print
are acid-resistant and protect small, relatively evenly dis-
as an even dark field. This is done through a tool called
tributed dots on the plate when it is lowered into the acid
a rocker, which has a handle on the top and a curved,
bath. When the plate is printed, this results in tiny light
serrated metal bottom containing teeth. The artist grasps
dots within fields of ink, which our eye reads as even tone.
the handle firmly and rocks the tool across the surface of
To craft the image, before submerging the plate into
the plate in a tight, orderly fashion. The plate is rocked
the acid the artist paints the areas where no tone is
in multiple directions, one at a time. The teeth pierce
desired with an acid-resistant substance called asphaltum
the surface of the plate, creating countless small indenta-
or stop-out. The plate is then submerged into acid and
tions to hold the ink. If a fully rocked plate is inked and
bitten. The longer it is left in the acid, the deeper and
printed, a solid black image will appear.
darker the resulting tone. The plate is removed from
The artist creates the image using a selection of metal
the acid, rinsed in water and dried. In most cases the
tools called burnishers and scrapers to smoothen the textured
artist then repeats the process, painting more areas with
plate. Burnishers can be used for everything from soft tones
stop-out to preserve them at the current tone, and then
to sharp lines and edges. Areas that are burnished more
re-submerging the plate in acid, producing still darker
retain less ink during printing and vice versa. Y
tones in the unprotected areas.

74 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

The Art of Etching, by E. S.
Lumsden: A well-written
handbook of these traditional
intaglio techniques, with
information about their
history, originally published
in 1924. Even though some of
the chemistry has changed
since it was published, much
of the detailed information is
still valid.
How Prints Look, by William
M. Ivins, Jr.: A book featur-
ing close-up images of vari-
ous printmaking techniques,
accompanied by detailed
The Mezzotint: History and
Technique, by Carol Wax: An
in-depth classic for artists
and collectors interested in

Photo Reelism
by Carol Wax, 1999,
mezzotint, 16 x 8.
Carol Wax.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 75

for the
The monochrome drawings
of Samantha Wall offer highly
personal explorations of
identity, race and interior life.
T he drawings of Oregon-based artist
Samantha Wall explore, expose and
strive to make sense of the artists
place in the world as a woman of mul-
tiracial heritage and quite simply as a
human being. Using traditional draw-
ing techniques in charcoal, graphite
and ink she deploys an accomplished
language of chiaroscuro and line,
sometimes combined with less con-
ventional handling, to make imagery
that is provocative, imaginative and
highly charged. Large in scale and
stylishly presented, the work focuses
on images of multiracial women
rendered in ways that intimate the
underlying tensions they experience
in establishing personal identity in
the face of competing cultural expec-
tations. Meticulous rendering of parts
of the figure are often combined with
passages in which areas of the body
are filled with swirls of ink or the
Jessica I.
2016, graphite, 30 x 22.
From the series See Me See You. Courtesy the
artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
Limbo I
2015, Cont crayon, charcoal and graphite, 60 x 41.
From the series Dark Side.
All artwork this article private collection unless
otherwise indicated.

76 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

rich patterning that occurs when ink dries on a resistant surface. The resulting Swallow It
2011, graphite and charcoal,
images become the visual equivalents of the uneasy relationship of exterior and 30 x 44. From the series
interior life. Shame on Me.
I draw what I know, says the artist. Im a multiracial woman, and Im inter-
ested in communicating the subjective experiences of women like myself. This is
difficult because its not as simple as being part this and part that. We cant split
our identities, and at times the cultures and histories that we identify with are in
conflict with one another. That is felt emotionally, psychologically and physically.
Wall was born in South Korea, where her mother had married an American
military officer. The family left Korea when she was young and eventually settled in
South Carolina. I had to confront racial and ethnic challenges daily and find a way
to navigate through cultural histories and social boundaries without a guide, she
says. I felt as if I was constantly running into walls and eventually found myself
caught in a space between those two things. Over time I grew to enjoy that space
and even found refuge in it. But it wasnt until I left South Carolina that could I
recognize the significance of it.
Wall moved to Portland, Oregon, where she studied art. Living in Portland
among other artists and creative folks, I found I could begin exploring this in-
between space, she says. A way for me to do that was to find other women like
myself who found themselves inhabiting the same space. Wall began to make
images of these women, and a large body of work started to emerge. Far from
uniform, the drawings are arranged into series, each of which takes a somewhat
different approach in exploring Walls concerns.

78 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

ne of Walls earlier series, Shame
on Me, comprises images in
which realistically rendered
A Clarion Call women interact with shadowy silhou-
2012, graphite and sumi ink,
55 x 34. From the series etted figures. It was an exploration
Partially Severed. into the relationship between shame
and identity, the artist says. Growing
up in the South and being racially am-
biguous was a source of shame. This
was the first time I explored my own
cultural and racial background.
The uneasy dynamic of competing
identities are on view in Swallow It, in
which a realistically drawn woman ap-
pears to exchange a strange ectoplas-
mic cloud of smoke with a featureless
shadow figure. The mechanics of the
drawing are complicated: The realistic
figure is achieved in graphite, and the
smoke is made with charcoal. The
delicately textured shadow figure is
executed with a buildup of single pen
lines, a painstaking and lengthy tech-
nique. Its actually a sort of continu-
ous line drawing, says the artist. Im
using hot-pressed paper, so there is no
real texture, but the smooth surface
readily accepts the marks. Wall says
that the large investment of time
needed to make a drawing like this is
something she embraces. It allows
me access to a mind space that is part
of the work, she says. The process
of making it is a way for me to think
through the drawing, to think through
the emotions it evokes and to explore
how these are related to my conceptual
concerns. Its a psychological and emo-
tional voyage that this repetition and
tedium allows me entry into.
The artist acknowledges that the ex-
tensive ambitions she has for her work
are underpinned by a firm grasp on
traditional draftsmanship. Its incred-
ibly important to me to continue honing
my drawing techniques, because only
then can I employ more improvisational
strategies confidently, she says. I love
the control and feel of graphite and the
depth and suppleness of charcoal, but
I also love working with ink. For me,
ink is vital and encourages spontaneity.
I think using ink successfully means
having confidence and trust in ones self.
If theres any hesitation, its immediately
perceived in the work.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 79

alls next body of work was titled Partially Severed. Several of the images in this
series show meticulous close-up drawings of heads posed in active and powerful
postures. Swirls of sumi ink interact with the head, flowing around and through it
like some magical force. This work was influenced by East Asian horror films like
Ju-On, Ring, Onibaba and Kuroneko, to name a few, explains the artist. I became
fascinated with the female protagonists in those films, especially the vengeful fe-
male ghost archetype, because shes a character that lives outside of conventional Asian female
roles and as such was a source of inspiration. In other words the artist found in these fictional
characters role models that were not available in the patriarchal Asian societies from which
they sprangimages of women acting willfully and exercising power. Here art offers new
paradigms for behavior and identity.

80 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

It also presents opportunities to de-
ploy highly charged theatrical imagery.
In A Clarion Call (page 79), for in-
stance, a young woman is shown with
her mouth wide open and her tongue
pushed upward behind her teeth while
her eyes roll up and back. Its the look
of someone who seems about to enter
a wild fit or seizure. Meanwhile the
top of her head projects an improbable
swirl of viscous smoke. The overall ef-
fect suggests some kind of supernatu-
ral transformation. The drawing also
offers a striking contrast of technique,
with the head achieved through pains-
taking realist drawing in graphite and
the smoky addition made by wetting
the paper and then adding sumi ink
and allowing it to flood and swirl.
I worked on the face and body
first, recalls Wall, and I wasnt origi-
nally planning on including ink in this
way. I was thinking about the emo-
tional transformation that happens to
the female characters in those horror
movies. I had played with ink before,
but its such an intimidating medium
for meespecially the way I want to
use it, allowing it to bleed and blos-
som on the page. Surrendering to the
process by using the ink freely makes
me uneasy, but I need to do things like
that in my work.

Undercurrent II
2016, india ink on Dura-Lar film, 87 x 40.
From the series See Me See You. Courtesy the
artist and Russo Lee Gallery, Portland, Oregon.

2013, graphite, 30 x 22.
From the series Indivisible.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 81

2014, sumi ink and dried pigment, 30 x 22.
From the series Let Your Eyes Adjust to the Dark.
Cast Off II
2015, india ink, 30 x 23. From the series
Dark Side.

82 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

all went on to do a series of
more straightforward por-
traits in her series Indivis-
ible. These drawings, such
as Sigourney (page 80),
comprise heads and parts
of upper bodies rendered in a combi-
nation of graphite and charcoal. The
drawings focus on the facial features,
sometimes allowing the hair and
upper body to fade into the white of
the surrounding paper. This strategy
bestows a slightly disembodied feel to
the images, as though they might be
materializing out of thin air.
Most of the women that sit for me
are friends, says Wall, observing that
she often takes several hundred photos
of an individual in order to find exactly
the right image. At some point I rec-
ognized that these photo sessions with
my multiracial friends had a profound
effect on me. In this series, capturing a
likeness was probably the easiest part of
the portrait. What I found difficult was
capturing the quality about an individ-
ual that makes her recognizable to the
people who know her best, her air.
In the series Let Your Eyes Adjust
to the Dark, which includes the
drawing Queen, Wall dispensed with
tightly finished rendering and instead
explored the possibilities of making a
kind of form and substance with swirls
of ink. The series is about being
self-reflective even if its a source of
discomfort, says the artist. No matter
what medium Im using, my drawings
are about our interior selves. Im inter- As the ink swirled and blossomed, the chance movements of the tone created
ested in pulling out that interiority and forms that are somehow suggestive of the interior life of the figures. The final
exposing it in the light. Walls subject formations are not entirely due to chance, as the artist worked to manipulate
matter for these images remained edges, move the ink and occasionally lift some of it out. In Queen the head pres-
women she knew, and she retained her ents the outline of a pair of eyes under a swath of dark ink. To achieve this the
interest in communicating the air of artist first drew the eyes in graphite and then wet that area of the paper, knowing
each individual. But what Im begin- that the image would not wash out.
ning to question is the importance of The series Dark Side includes a remarkable set of drawings titled Limbo
likeness to communicate identity and (see Limbo I, page 77) in which a figure is shown directly facing the viewer.
whether the subjects air is more ef- Head and shoulders are carefully rendered in soft tone built from layering
fectively conveyed without it, she says. lines of graphite, charcoal and Cont crayon, but facial features have been re-
Wall began each of these drawings moved and the space occupied by a dark shadow. The effect is deeply disquiet-
with an outline on soft watercolor pa- ing, as though the shadow has swallowed up the face and thereby the individu-
per. She then wet the interior shape of ality of the sitter. The figure has been literally consigned to limbo, a spiritual
the heads and began to add sumi ink. space of waiting and powerlessness.

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 83

2016, graphite, 30 x 22. From the series See Me See You.

84 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

erhaps Walls most spectacular ex-
ploration of the relationship between
external shape and internal forces takes
place in her most recent series, See
Me See You. In a group of drawings
titled Undercurrent (see Undercurrent II,
page 81) she renders large-scale single figures
on Dura-Lar, a semitransparent plastic sheeting.
This surface allows for an extraordinary array
of effects as puddles of ink dry and reticulate to
take on a range of formations locked within the
clean outlines of a female figure. In a strange
way these seem to suggest some sort of alterna-
tive biology, making a physical equivalent for the
intense and complex emotional and psychologi-
cal forces with which the artist is so fascinated.
For these large drawings I projected the
figure on one side of the Dura-Lar and worked
with ink on the other side, Wall says. Unlike
cotton rag paper, Dura-Lar repels water, so I have
to work with alcohol and mix small amounts of
ink to get the mixture to adhere to the surface.
Then before the water and alcohol evaporate I
introduce more concentrated amounts of ink and
finally allow the puddle to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
This creates amazing reticulation and marks that
I cant replicate on rag paper. Wall works the
images piece by piece, allowing a huge variety of
forms and textures to develop over a number of
days. The artist notes that the kinds of formations
that occur with this method are also affected by
the humidity: Drier days yield more shattered Amelia IV
formations, whereas humid days allow the ink to 2015, gravure with
chine coll, 30 x 22. Courtesy
flow for longer, making for smoother gradations. the artist and Russo Lee
The scale of these Dura-Lar drawings, exceeding seven feet in height, Gallery, Portland, Oregon.
makes them challenging to present and exhibit. Wall has chosen to suspend
them just a little in front of the gallery wall rather than to frame them. I
wanted to communicate the translucent, milky quality of the film. she says.
Suspended that way, light passes through the drawings and casts shadows on
the wall and ground. Its stunning.
Although Walls various series have covered considerable territory, they share Samantha Wall was born in Seoul,
a distinctly contemporary look with their stark monochrome images isolated South Korea in 1977 and grew up in
South Carolina. She earned a B.F.A.
against pristine white grounds. The artist acknowledges a debt to Robert Longos
from the University of South Carolina,
work from the late 1970s. He has definitely been influential in my practice, his in Columbia, and an M.F.A. at Pacific
Men in the Cities series in particular, because of the fact that they are large-scale Northwest College of Art, in Portland,
drawings, she says. For years I felt I had to justify drawing as a finished piece of Oregon. She has mounted several
art, and I would hear comments like, Do you also paint? So, as you can imagine, one-person exhibitions at venues
including Roq La Rue, in Seattle, and
seeing his work had a profound effect on me. I also love artists like Wangechi
Russo Lee Gallery, in Portland. She
Mutu, Kara Walker, Chloe Piene, Do Ho Suh and Lorna Simpson. is the recipient of various grants,
The strength of Walls work is that she has mastered both traditional approach- awards and residencies, including two
es to drawing and a very contemporary vernacular and has put both in the service stints as artist-in-residence at the
of her highly personal quest to comprehend her place in the world. Its my hope, Joan Mitchell Center, in New Orleans.
She makes her home in Portland,
she says, that the viewer feels a connection to the women represented in my
where her work is represented by
work and takes with them a small piece of understanding that might be nurtured Russo Lee Gallery. For more informa-
into something larger, stronger and more present in their lives. Y tion, visit

DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM Drawing / Winter 2017 85

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The Flood
2016, carved wood relief,
approximately 20 x 30'.
Installation view at the Art
Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton.

Virus No. 2
2016, silkscreen and digital
output on paper and drafting
film, 24 x 18.

Photo: Blaine Campbell

Sean Caulfield
Since 2011 Sean Caulfield has been a Centennial Professor in
the Department of Art and Design at the University of Alberta,
in Edmonton, and his work has been exhibited throughout
Canada, the United States and overseas. His recent exhibitions
include The Flood, a large-scale carved-wood relief displayed
at the Art Gallery of Alberta, in Edmonton, in 2016.

Caulfields imaginative and detailed artwork combines
traditional drawing and printmaking practices with
elements of sculpture, installation and digital art. His
images incorporate natural and anatomical forms in
compositions that are ambiguous and sometimes unsettling.
Much of his work is created on a massive scale.

See more of the artists work at He is
represented in Edmonton by dc3 Art Projects (

88 Drawing / Winter 2017 DR AW INGM A G A Z INE .C OM

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