Draped

Today I got to play, at last, with my newest sketching ‘toy’, a tin of Art Graf watercolour  graphite. And I think I’m in luuurve. I first heard about this product over at parkablogs review. He suggested using this for tonal studies and I had the perfect subject – the dark cloth that I use to hang my works in progress on. We’d hung the cloth up out of the way so we could get a light background behind the vase of Christmas flowers that we were painting (more of that later), those drapes just begged to be painted.

After an initial pencil outline I just started laying in the graphite, working with fairly light washes to start off with.

Some light washes get the shaping underway, Art Graf water soluble graphite

Some light washes get the shaping underway, Art Graf water soluble graphite

It’s quite easy to build up the layers, allowing it to dry in between. I was pleasantly surprised that I could use the graphite directly from the tin onto the page as it was fairly easy to get the tone I was after by controlling the amount of water on my brush. Here is the result after a number of layers.

Final version of the tonal drapery study, Art Graf soluble graphite, 30 December 2014

Final version of the tonal drapery study, Art Graf soluble graphite, 30 December 2014

Parkablogs suggests mixing the graphite separately on a palette to get an even tone. I personally like the texture the graphite can leave on the page. There are also possibilities for getting interesting textures from a dry-er brush application which I plan to explore in due course. He also suggests using a fixative on the final work and while  I didn’t notice any obvious smudging on my page this seems to be a sensible precaution.

Another aspect I’m interested in exploring is the interaction between the watersoluble graphite and watercolours. I’ve only made the most basic samples so far, but I do like that the graphite keeps it’s line over damp watercolour, see the sample on the left. The graphite only seems to move easily when it crosses another area of still wet graphite, see sample on the right.

Watersoluble graphite over watercolour, 30 December 2014

Watersoluble graphite over watercolour, 30 December 2014

Obviously there is lots more to explore with this medium. If you are a fan of watercolour you may also enjoy using this product. You can buy a tin of Art Graf in either 20 or 60gram sizes. I sourced my Art Graf through Eckersley’s (for Aussie sketchers) and I presume it’s readily available in Europe as it is made in Portugal.

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