Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Featured Pencil Artist: Duane Lawrence

This article begins the first in a series of Featured Pencil Artists. Over the years I have been privileged to meet many fellow pencil artist friends, both personally and online. This blog will now broaden it's horizons by featuring the work of these wonderful artisans on a regular basis.


Duane has been drawing since he was very young. Just about every child draws, but at an early age Duane began to get responses from the adults in his life which indicated that perhaps his drawings were special.

He began with super heroes from the Marvel comic book collection and even thought he might become a comic book illustrator. But in his late teens he switched over to portraiture and began to explore the style that he employs today.

Duane took art classes in high school and college but soon after that all creations went dormant for a while. In fact, he did not put a drawing pencil to paper for many years. Several years ago he began to draw again, in earnest, and today there is always a work in progress.

Mr. Lawrence works in the "photorealist" style, similar to artists Chuck Close and Robert Bechtle who use photographs as reference material. These works are all hand drawn and are not conversions from photos by using any software rendering techniques (like Photoshop). Each drawing takes a great many hours to complete.
In addition to being an accomplished visual artist, Duane Lawrence is also a vocalist and professional voice-over artist!

Duane does accept commissions. To see more of his work and to learn about his many other creative talents, please visit Duane's website at: Pencil Drawings and Portraits by Duane Lawrence (www.duanelawrenceonline.com). You can also email Duane at duanelawrence at duanelawrenceonline dot com.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Best Pencils to Use for Pencil Drawings

“What kind of pencils do you use?” I think this is one of the most common questions I have been asked over the years.

I often receive emails posing this question. Many emerging artists have tremendous talent. They know the time and energy that goes into a detailed drawing, and they want to use the best materials possible.

My answer to this question surprises some. For the most part, I use ordinary pencils purchased from an office supply store. I like mechanical pencils, as the leads are quite thin and thus give me a sharp point without wasted time sharpening and making a corresponding mess. The mechanical pencils are available in several thicknesses too. My favorites are the .5 and .7 thickness leads. Most mechanical pencils come with HB leads, though you can purchase several hardness levels separately, such as H, B and 2B. There are also .3 leads, though they are so thin that the lead is almost too fragile to use effectively.

I do 90% of my drawing with the HB pencil lead. Then, I use leads the B to 6B range to “punch out” the darkest areas of my drawing. See my Pencil Drawings Process page for an illustration of this effect. My two favorite art suppliers for pencils and pencil leads are DickBlick Art Supplies and Utrecht Art Supplies.

Another important aspect of pencil drawing is the type and quality of paper used. But I'll save that subject for another post!