Posts Tagged ‘Drawing’


Self Portrait Wearing a Striped Shirt

May 15, 2019
pencil drawing of a male figure

One thing about drawing your reflection is you appear to be using your left-hand when your right-handed. This is about 11 x 13″, and was drawn with a Wolff brand carbon pencil.


New Sketch: Reading a First Draft

May 13, 2019
pencil sketch of woman reading to man at table

I’ve been in something of a slump with sketching lately, not finding anything to spark my interest, until this scene happened in front of me yesterday while sitting in a local cafe. I’m not sure what she was reading, but the man seemed very attentive. I first made a quick thumbnail outline of the figures, then tried to recreate it on a larger sheet of paper when I got home.


New Drawing: Sofie Thinking

April 28, 2019
drawing of a woman

This is a pencil drawing of my friend, Sofie, that’s about 11 x 13″.


Two New Sketches

March 31, 2019

I’m still trying to get something solid worked out for that library mural proposal, but haven’t quite nailed it down yet. Have a couple ideas, one is more about technique, the other about content, so I’ll see if I can’t bring them together somehow. I have until the end of the week.

In the meantime, here are a couple sketches I made recently as I went out to get more motivation and inspiration on ideas. For the man, I was concentrating on lines, and for the woman I wanted to show more shapes.


Sketches: People at the Library

March 17, 2019

Well, I’m still alive. I’ve been struggling with the library mural concept I mentioned last time. Nothing solid is formulating as yet, so I decided to spend time at the library itself, just drawing people, and see what might come from that. Here are a few of the better sketches.


Two New Sketches: Eva and Miguel

February 24, 2019

I have two recent pencil sketches to show that I made while visiting my friends, Eva and Miguel, who were kind enough to pose for me. I had to give Miguel a paper to read to stop from fidgeting so much.


Homemade Fixative from CMC Powder

February 9, 2019

Carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) is a material I’ve written about before, that works as an oil and water emulsifier for use as a painting medium. It has an adhesive quality that should also work as a fixative. I’m testing out a batch of it by comparing it to the homemade casein fixative I’ve been using for some time now. Fixative, if you’re not familiar, is a spray finish applied to dry media, such as charcoal, to keep it from smearing.

jars of CMC gel and fixatives

First, the CMC powder was converted into a glue gel by adding 8 parts (tablespoons) water to 1 part powder. I let this sit for a few hours for the water to be completely absorbed and the lumps to disappear before using that to make a fixative solution.

Sheet of glass sprayed with fixative

The proportions as I use for casein fixative is 1 part gel, 2 parts alcohol, and 5 parts distilled water, so I made the CMC version with the same proportions. It seemed to be a little thicker than the casein, but still sprayed okay with the Preval sprayer. You can see in the first photo above that the CMC is clearer than the casein fixative, but both look the same when sprayed on a sheet of glass.

test marks sprayed with fixative

I took a small sheet of grey cardboard for my smear test, and drew some dry media marks on both sides using a soft pastel, charcoal, an 8B pencil, and white chalk. On the left the marks were not fixed, and on the right I sprayed three coats of the CMC fixative.

Holding the cardboard up to the light you can see a slight darkening of the paper from the CMC. It has a very slight satin sheen, but is mostly matte and clear. I also smeared the marks on the left to demonstrate the difference. After wiping the fixed side with some pressure using a paper towel I got no transfer at all from any of the marks on the right. I would call the test a success! Even the chalk seemed to hold up very well without darkening in value. CMC appears to work just as well as casein for a homemade fixative, but more time will be needed to see if it holds up as well. I’m encouraged by this test.

For now, I’ll likely continue making casein fixative, since I have some stock of it to use up. That brings up the major point in the difference between the two: shelf life. CMC powder can be stored indefinitely in a drawer, while casein has a limited shelf life, even as a dry powder. CMC is organic matter and can also grow mold when made into a gel, so I’ve added a drop of tymol as a preservative, not required if you make small batches or use it up quickly. As with casein fixative, the CMC can be drawn over, but you don’t want the total layers to get too thick; four or possibly five coats at the most.