• Graham


Warning: arty geek mode ahead.

When I picked up my pencils again after a hiatus of many years, I took to looking online to see what other pencil artists were doing and to see if they had any recommendations. Aside from the actual pencils and techniques, it became apparent that they all had preferences for various textures in their papers. Indeed, for colour pencils, pastel paper was becoming the favourite for many but one attempt by myself immediately told me that pastel paper was not an option (think of running fingernails down an old blackboard and you get the drift), so I decide that a little amount of texture was best. However, it never seemed ideal and I always felt that I was fighting the paper instead of working with it.

A while ago, I came across a young artist by the name of Jono Dry. His techniques with graphite pencils are incredible but what I particularly noted was that he used smooth paper. Fast forward to March this year and when it became obvious that we were heading for a lockdown due to Covid-19, I ordered up a pad of Strathmore Bristol Ultra Smooth paper to try out. Well, from the first few marks, I was converted. The pencils go over it like butter and it's so much easier to manipulate and control. Within two weeks I had completed two pencil drawing which I have to say, are possibly the best things I've done in years. I'm almost depressed that I've waited so many years to get to this point but I'm just glad and excited that I'm here.

Below are the two drawings that I've done, both 16x20 inches. As usual, photographs don't really do them justice but in the flesh, they're just the level that I've been aiming for. Now I need to aim higher.

The Gondola

Dacre Church, Cumbria