Something On Drawing Tools/Materials

I get calls, emails and text messages every now and then by young artists as myself and they all seem to be asking one question: What type of pencils and papers do you use for your works? After replying one such query about three days ago, I felt I should post something here as my response. I know many others may be thinking of asking me or other artists this question so here is what I think (My view, and only mine – may be different from the views of other artists).

To begin with, I use different grades of Staedtler Pencils and a Mechanical Pencil mostly filled with a 2B lead now. And there is a paper called Survey Mat, that is what I use. There are others such as Derwent, Faber Castell, etc that I’ve heard of but yet to use.

However, I only started using the above pencil and paper types quite recently. I have always drawn with whatever material available to me. I believe as an artist, you should create with or without “special” materials. I used to buy my pencils and papers from regular stores. Mostly the kind of pencils everyone use for normal writing and marking in offices and schools. I only had to check that it is the grade (HB, 2B, 3B, etc) that I required and I buy it. Even when I was replying the last query on this subject last week, I had to go for my pencil and check the name on it before knowing it was Staedtler myself.

I guess all I’m trying to say is, if you have access to the so-called “special” materials, then that is good for you. But if you don’t, don’t let that stop you from creating something. Most of the works you see on this blog were created with nameless pencils I bought by the sidewalk or in regular stores. The papers were mainly card boards used for general stuff.

An artist will recommend a particular material to you, it doesn’t mean if you use it your works will magically transform to look like his/hers. Many are such queries on websites of prominent artists of our time with recommendations by these artists and yet it doesn’t really transform their works overnight to look like those of these artists.

So I think it’s about time the truth is laid bare: The key is practice, practice, practice! With whatever drawing tools and materials available to you. We are all still learning. Have a wonderful week.


Reaching Out To All

It’s 9:51pm in Ghana and I just finished a commissioned piece for a client based in USA. And I just recalled an incident dating back to about a year ago. By the way, I’m typing this post with my phone so forgive me if u come across any error. A potential American client contacted me. He wanted a portrait but he was not sure if I was the right person to commission one from. His reason? Quite simple: he had been following my works for a while and noticed I almost always drew people of my folk (blacks/Africans) and barely had portraits of his folk (caucasians) in my portfolio. So he thought I may draw his black version, hehe. I took time to explain to him that he sees more of those simply because I get more orders from where I am. And not in any way that I do not draw any other but my kind. In fact, in my opinion, drawing the white folk is comparatively simpler to blacks since the latter’s skin tone is darker naturally and with much depth.
I may have succeeded in convincing him or he just felt like giving it a try. So he placed an order, from the states. In 3 days time, the work was complete and ready to be sent. I sent him a picture of the piece and he was amazed. 3 days later, the original signed piece was at his doorstep in the States. He has recommended me to several of his friends since then. And so far, so good.
So I’m thinking… maybe it’s about time I start finding time to draw some caucasians just to add to my portfolio, to give it balance. Not a bad idea, is it?
Anyway, if I’m not making sense pardon me for I think I’m feeling sleepy.
Good night everyone.