Back at last and I thought it would be interesting to reply to Sophie's comments on my last blog in detail.
She mentions using a softer pencil trying to achieve a darker drawing. Certainly a soft lead will enable a darker line to be made - a darker, softer line. The harder the pencil, the sharper and lighter the resulting marks will be. From my own experience, I would never try and draw with an 'h' pencil as I find them far too hard. Like Sophie, I also tend not to press very firmly when I draw and I don't get on with 'h' pencils. I have found the drawback with the soft 'b' leads is that they tend to be messy although it's possible to lay in some lovely shading effects with them. Since I draw - other than as a preliminary to a painting - very little now, I use my trusty 'hb' pencil. I find this just right, not too hard and not too soft. It is soft enough to be responsive and yet hard enough not to be messy. It is easy to erase and for my purposes, just perfect!
I would suggest that if you are keen on drawing, you should go to your local art shop and buy a box of pencils of varying hardnesses. Buy a nice sketch pad as well and then, as I am always saying, practice, practice, practice! Art is such an invididual thing that what one artists swears by, another cannot abide.
However, one thing I can say is that drawing in order to achieve a pencilled finished piece of artwork is very different to the drawing required as a guide for a painting. I hope you can see from the photo in my previous blog 'Talking About Drawing' (not a brilliant photo I'm afraid) that the drawing is really just an outline of the major points to help me when I start the painting. It is also drawn lightly as I don't really want it seen in the finished painting. You certainly don't want to be trying to paint over a mass of pencil lines; for a start your watercolour paint would just skim over the surface and not be absorbed.
So Sophie, and anyone else who is thinking about painting, when you make your preliminary drawing, don't try and put in too much detail - let your paints do this. If you do decide to use soft 'b' leads, be aware that they smudge very easily and will spoil the white surface of your watercolour paper.
As an aside, the 'h' and 'b' sizes given are the English sizes - I'm afraid I don't know if they are the same in the US or elsewhere.
The painting I have included today is one of a small number of my paintings which are now available as prints and greetings cards. This is the first time any of my paintings have ever been available other than as originals and I am planning a selection of Christmas cards which I will be making available shortly.
I think the oil painting above would make a perfect picture to hang in a bedroom with the smiley red face making waking a little easier! As I said, this is also available as a greetings card and although it doesn't have any message on the inside - as I thought this would make it more versatile - I think it would make a smashing 'get well card'.
Let me know what you think!