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Drawing is one of the first skills children pick up and one of their first experiences in acceptance and recognition. Instantly the refrigerator door becomes their gallery – a place to show off their latest masterpiece as new pieces are added daily. It’s as if the refrigerator was created for just that purpose. As an adult, for those of us who continue to explore our creative side, the desire for acceptance and recognition never leaves us.

As a self-taught artist, my drawings have sold to collectors all over the world and found a home in places this artist has only dreamed of traveling to Amsterdam, London, Paris, Saint Petersburg, New York City, and Greece. And of course, closer to home in locations such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and several homes and businesses throughout Kern County, California, USA.

All of my drawings are created with fine lines and crosshatching for shading. I never blend with a blending stump or smear the graphite unless it’s a distant background which is meant to be blurry. For me personally, I find that blending stumps flatten and dulls the drawing and destroys any chance of making the drawing “come to life, jump off the page”.

So what do I use to blend my drawings? Lighter pencils (2h, 4H, and F) over the darker graphite pencils! Darker pencils are your softer graphites and therefore touch just the surface of the paper. By applying the lighter, harder graphite over the darker shades of grays, the artist has more control of the blending, and the darker graphite can be pressed deeper onto the fabric of the paper. Often giving a deeper, richer shadow. And cleaners, more detailed blending!

SIDE NOTE: Being right-handed, I draw left to right, top to bottom, which often means many of my drawings are created upside down in order for the graphite not to smear.

David J. Vanderpool

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