Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Graphite at Green Lake


7/16/22 Green Lake (Faber-Castell 9000 graphite pencils on Lenox Cotton)

When I took Kristin Frost’s class last year, of course one of my favorite locations was Green Lake. In addition to being an easy commute for me, the park has many beautiful trees along the water’s edge – which I hardly ever take the time to focus on when I sketch there on my own. Last week’s class was an opportunity to renew my appreciation for “my” home park.

On another sunny but not-too-hot afternoon, we found a shady lakeside spot with many lovely trees to draw. I chose this dynamic V-shaped grove of willows (I think), their long, draping branches nearly sweeping the water. The monochrome challenge here was making a distinction between the waves and the dappled ground (I put a few blades of grass in the foreground as a hint). 

I was able to finish the most important parts of this drawing on location. I took reference photos just in case, but I ended up not needing to use them because the work at home was just to darken all the values that I had already put in place.

With more strong contrasts, this composition was easier to draw than last week’s at the Arboretum, which was predominantly dark (and my results murky). I still wasn’t happy with that one, so I asked Kristin for feedback. She suggested using an extremely sharp pencil to draw a subtle outline around the branches that I wanted to come forward. I tried it, and perhaps the difference is too subtle to see in the scanned image below (the first image), but I think her suggestion did help pull some branches out of the murk. The second image shows the work before I added the outlines.

Outlines added in some areas

Before outlines added
Pencil notes: Last week I brought Faber-Castell “Castell” 9000 pencils to class. Several grades harder than Japanese pencils, they contain decent graphite but have never been my favorite. Like the previous class with Caran d’Ache Grafwoods, however, I had a much better experience with the 9000s than I usually do because of the slightly toothy Lenox Cotton paper.

Faber-Castell 9000 pencils


  1. I think it definitely helped! Beautiful tree sketches.
    Cathy Inzer

  2. I love your values in the top sketch...really well done! These are coming out nice!!


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