Sketching in subject prior to applying paint [Archive] - Artist Forum

: Sketching in subject prior to applying paint


Late Starter
05-16-2016, 05:46 PM
I started oil painting about a year ago, mostly wet on wet landscapes, a'la Bob Ross. I now am attempting particular subjects, e.g. a horse, vase of flowers etc. This may seem like a stupid question, but I can't seem to find any info. on what to actually use to do the basic outline sketch, i.e. pencil? charcoal? what? I've tried pencil, but it just smears and turns the paint dirty. Haven't tried charcoal for obvious reasons! What am I supposed to be using? Thanks.

Susan Mulno
05-16-2016, 08:02 PM
Hello, welcome to the forum.

Maybe an oil based color pencil or oil pastel? I am only guessing here because I do not paint with oils. We do have some very talented oil painters and I am sure as soon as they see this they will offer assistance.

M Winther
05-16-2016, 10:11 PM
No, not oil pastel, because it never dries. You could use a thin brush and paint outlines with an oil paint to which has been added much solvent. It is true that charcoal can be a little dirty. But the point is that you draw only a thin line, and then you wipe away excess charcoal powder. The line could be almost invisible, because this is good enough.

However, today, many artists use acrylics for such outline work, but also for underpaintings. This is the method preferred by Helen Van Wyk. To this end, one uses a cheap acrylics, such as Liquitex Basics.
https://youtu.be/dANl1TnT8fw

Mats

TerryCurley
05-16-2016, 10:26 PM
I use a regular#2 graphite pencil then spray it with fixative so it doesn't smear. It works for me. Never had a problem painting over the pencil marks.

Steve James
05-17-2016, 10:50 AM
This is my M.O. also, light lines with soft pencil and spray with fixative.

Late Starter
05-17-2016, 11:01 PM
I use a regular#2 graphite pencil then spray it with fixative so it doesn't smear. It works for me. Never had a problem painting over the pencil marks.

Makes perfect sense. I will try this. Thank you.

Late Starter
05-17-2016, 11:05 PM
This is my M.O. also, light lines with soft pencil and spray with fixative.

Such a simple solution, now that I've been informed. :smile: Sounds like this is the way to go. Thanks.

Late Starter
05-17-2016, 11:17 PM
Hello, welcome to the forum.

Maybe an oil based color pencil or oil pastel? I am only guessing here because I do not paint with oils. We do have some very talented oil painters and I am sure as soon as they see this they will offer assistance.

Thanks for your welcome and your input. I can see that this forum will be very helpful.

M Winther
05-17-2016, 11:53 PM
Purists don't like this. The problem is that if there is solvent in the oil paint layer, it will dissolve the fixative. Graphite is a powerful lubricant and the particles have a way of wandering through the oil paint layer. That's why lead pens are frowned upon in oil painting.

A better method is to fixate the graphite drawing with a layer of matte acrylic medium. This is safe to paint on. However, I'm not certain that graphite particles cannot wander through the acrylic layer. Instead, if you like to draw with thin lines, I suggest using a dry powder whiteboard pen. These are available with a fine tip. They leave a powder on the canvas, but it's not graphite. Probably it is suitable to paint with oils on, without fixating the drawing.

Most amateur painters might think that it doesn't matter much, and that the method is unlikely to have a pronounced deteriorating effect in the coming years. But I think one should do things properly, so that one doesn't contribute to the spread of bad habits in oil painting.

Mats

M Winther
05-18-2016, 01:18 AM
I should add that you can draw very thin lines with regular charcoal sticks, available at art materials shops. It is a very sensitive tool. Charcoal is a marvelous medium. Charcoal painting was practiced already in 26,000 BCE (here. (http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/drawing/charcoal-drawings.htm)) /Mats

Late Starter
05-18-2016, 12:20 PM
I should add that you can draw very thin lines with regular charcoal sticks, available at art materials shops. It is a very sensitive tool. Charcoal is a marvelous medium. Charcoal painting was practiced already in 26,000 BCE (here. (http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/drawing/charcoal-drawings.htm)) /Mats
Thank you for your very helpful information.

WFMartin
05-20-2016, 02:24 PM
I always use charcoal for drawing upon my canvas. Graphite, by its molecular nature, can tend to migrate through the upper layers of oil paint, even after it is dry, to come to rest at, or near the top of the painting years later, showing up as a "drawing".

Charcoal is perfectly safe to use, because it is made out of virtually the same "stuff" as that of Ivory Black paint. Sure, it will smudge, and dissolve into your paint as you apply the paint, but I just allow it to do so.

I don't ever use, or recommend using any sort of fixative, or isolating layer. I feel that any sort of isolating layer so early in the construction of an oil painting, can harm its durability.

Late Starter
05-20-2016, 03:03 PM
I always use charcoal for drawing upon my canvas. Graphite, by its molecular nature, can tend to migrate through the upper layers of oil paint, even after it is dry, to come to rest at, or near the top of the painting years later, showing up as a "drawing".

Charcoal is perfectly safe to use, because it is made out of virtually the same "stuff" as that of Ivory Black paint. Sure, it will smudge, and dissolve into your paint as you apply the paint, but I just allow it to do so.

I don't ever use, or recommend using any sort of fixative, or isolating layer. I feel that any sort of isolating layer so early in the construction of an oil painting, can harm its durability.
Thank you so much for this information. I am a newby; started painting about a year ago. When sketching on to the canvas, I find I need to erase lines as I go in order to get some sort of likeness and correct proportions. This too seems to make a bit of a mess for me. I haven't tried the charcoal yet. If I use charcoal, will it cover and blend a bit better than the graphite, and not make the paint muddy?

Your work is spectacular by the way.

WFMartin
05-21-2016, 09:50 AM
Thank you so much for this information. I am a newby; started painting about a year ago. When sketching on to the canvas, I find I need to erase lines as I go in order to get some sort of likeness and correct proportions. This too seems to make a bit of a mess for me. I haven't tried the charcoal yet. If I use charcoal, will it cover and blend a bit better than the graphite, and not make the paint muddy?

Your work is spectacular by the way.

Oh, charcoal will make the paint "muddy", for sure, but its effect is minimal. Also, after that paint layer has dried, the next application will cover it up.

jules hilliard
05-22-2016, 06:13 PM
I have used pencil, thinned oil, acrilics, and charcoal. I prefer the vine charcoal since it is easy to make corrections. I just wipe off any unwanted lines with a clean rag. When I hape completed the sketch, I will dust of the lines with that clean rag; leaving just a light image on the canvas. Works for me!

Late Starter
06-02-2016, 01:26 PM
Thanks Jules. I have tried the charcoal as several have suggested. It does work much better.