Over the years I’ve been asked why I enjoy drawing in black and white graphite as opposed to getting into painting with color. Sometimes graphite is considered a stepping stone to painting or working with color. Though I have really enjoyed getting to know colored pencils, I will always have an affinity for my graphite pencils!
I started taking art lessons at eight years old. My art teacher taught a number of mediums, but usually started her students with pencils and a small pad of paper. Graphite can be very forgiving, and for a small boy prone to mistakes, I made steady work of my eraser. My teacher taught me composition and values, partnered with proportions and depth. I can remember her walking from student to student giving tips and encouragement. Over the course of my lessons, I tried watercolor, acrylic, chalk pastels and oil pastels. While I enjoyed the other mediums, for some reason I always came back to graphite.
I have come to discover a few reasons why I love graphite drawings:
- I’m prone to perfectionism so I LOVE detail! I really like the diligence it takes to layer every stroke into its perfect place.
- I love things that are timeless - things that could have occurred in any decade and can be displayed for decades to come without being dated. I think black and white drawing is very similar to black and white photography. It’s got a classic feel.
- Graphite Drawing is Unique - if it’s mastered well, pencil drawing can be a very unique addition to a home display. Because most people “graduate” out of drawing, there is a very limited supply of graphite fine art, especially in the wildlife art niche. It can be a welcome change from a very saturated market of wildlife paintings. Sometimes it just fits in the decorum better than a color piece would.
- It’s compact. By that, I mean, my supplies fit into a small place and don’t make a giant mess! When I was a kid, that meant I didn’t get in trouble very often for my art supplies being all over the place! I could quickly put my pencils and other supplies into a small tackle box and keep it all together.
Over all these years, I’ve discovered a few things about myself through my love for graphite pencil.
First, be ok with what I like! I LOVE drawing, so why would I paint?
Second, I am ok with being conservative and liking a classic, timeless feel. I enjoy realism and stay away from wild, abstract expression. I’m content with the subtleties of nature and wildlife and enjoy trying to capture the beauty of God’s great creatures!
Third, I can bring joy to others by using these preferences to the greatest extent of my abilities.
I will always be a student of graphite, no matter how much I learn with colored pencil. It’s become a part of me, my expression, and my enjoyment of making art.
If you’d like to include some of my graphite collection in your home, or would like to give a meaningful gift, please visit my website to order a unique drawing, or a print reproduction: www.jimweaverpencilart.com