Beginning the montage portrait - exploring different layouts:
Creating the final pencil portrait:
Many people ask “How do you keep from smudging the pencil?” I have learned over the years that great care needs to be taken to protect the drawing from smudges. This includes covering the piece anytime I am not actively working on it. I also wash my hands and arms frequently, to remove surface skin oils so that they don’t taint the paper. In addition, I keep an acid free sheet of paper covering any area of the drawing I am not working, and especially under my right (rendering) arm. Acid/oils from the skin can ruin a drawing in no time at all!
I find the biggest challenge in working on black and white drawings is in deciding when they are done - and not over-working them. When contrast and detail are your only options for creating punch (as opposed to having colors to do this work), it can be tempting to add and add to a drawing. Beyond a certain point however, adding can create a big mess of dark mud! Best to quit a little early, or walk away for awhile to decide if the piece truly needs more.
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