How to Draw


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Chalks and Pastels, Pens and Ink & Papers

Chalks and Pastels

Colored chalks and pastels don’t really come into the classification of drawing media proper, nevertheless the whites are good to use with charcoal, conte and carbon on grey or tinted papers. The black pastel can be used also with the white. Pastels can be bought separately or in sets of as little as five different colors in a box to sets of two hundred different coloured tints. The most expensive tints are very pure in color but very soft and crumbly to the touch. The cheaper variety are tougher but not so bright.

For the most exciting results I suggest using pastels on tinted paper, but I have used the cheaper type on white paper in combination with watercolor to good effect.

The fixing of pastels is a difficult operation. If you overfix them, and sometimes it is necessary to fix them well, the colors change a little in tone and the delicate tints get lost completely.

Pastels are delightful to draw with and you are best advised to experiment with a few tints only to begin with, say, brown and white, in combination with carbon or conte. For outdoor sketching, a blue and a green can be added.

Pens and Inks

Before you go to all the trouble and expense of buying one of the numerous types of fountain pens for drawing that have recently come on to the market, it is better to experiment first with the plain holder and nib. These new drawing pens are very handy for outdoor work, but to begin with, a card of Gillot nibs of different grades and thicknesses and a holder are all you need. The fact that each nib has a different line to make and has therefore a different quality means that with an assortment of nibs you can find just the nib that suits you best. You will then be able to find just the fountain pen for your sort of work without difficulty and expense.

India ink is the most common ink to use. It is very black and waterproof. It has many trade names and can be bought at an artists’ supplier. It can be diluted for washes, but for this distilled water is recommended. Ordinary fountain pen inks are not so fluid, nor dense enough for drawing.


At first you will use a great deal of paper and it is right that you should. Consequently it is better to limit the type of paper to just a cheap cartridge and a cheap sugar paper.

Cartridge paper is white and medium surfaced (neither too rough, nor too smooth). Sugar paper is grey tinted and rather like blotting paper in texture.

For pen and ink drawing, however, a smoother paper is best. Cartridge is the most common paper for drawing on and can be bought in Imperial size (30 in. X 22 in.) or Double Elephant (40 in. X 27 in. ). You can get quite smooth cartridge paper that will take pen and ink, but for a very rough paper you will have to buy the more expensive watercolor papers.

Watercolor papers and sketch books will be discussed in their appropriate chapters.

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