Creating Portraits in Derwent Graphic Pencils by Valeria Pasco

After trying different mediums for around three years, I can say that I developed a special feeling for graphites. When I first started drawing, I directly intended a realistic portrait. I was using a school pencil, 2B maybe. I think that back then I did not really think about how much does choosing the right product matter.

After a couple of years of trying and realising that progression comes with the combination of enthusiasm, good quality products and visual reference from other artists, I started being really careful with what materials I use in order to achieve the right finish. Because indeed, sometimes a number higher or lower in the range of graphites can make a difference.

As I noticed that the more realistic looks come with contrast. In most of my portraits I try to have black (8B or 9B) as my darkest tone and white (often done with a sharped eraser) as my lightest one. Then its all about playing with tones depending on the reference material.

As I started my BA and that got mixed with my travel plans and work, I found myself with less and less time to work on realistic drawings. So, I started sourcing alternatives for my passion for figurative drawing that could adjust to my new schedule: and I began to do sketches properly.

I discovered that when it comes to drafting poses and fast sketching (from 5 to 20 minutes), the correct materials are tricky. In contrast to realistic, long and detailed, portraits; other poses were fast, often positions that catch your eye because the way the arms or leg are situated, like gymnastics or yoga poses, and they did not required a broad quantity of materials but the right one. Most of the time I use just one pencil, and erasers are not even required.

For fast sketching I often use F. As I believe F is the one that allows you to create a broad range of tones just by controlling the pressure you impose on the pencil. But HB and B (And I even tried 4H once) work perfectly. These numbers allow me to draft a bunch of lines that define my space of use (in a really light, almost invisible tone), and then do my reference lines (slightly darker tone), after that, my actual drawing (visible and some slightly dark lines) and finally, define some shadows.

Derwent’s Graphic Pencils fit my needs exactly as they contain the finest graphite to create smooth and graduated lines. The pencils are highly lightfast and easy to remove with an eraser or can easily be smudged with a paper stump. With 20 degrees in the range, I can certainly find the right pencil for the lines I am drawing.

Find out more about Valeria Pasco’s fine art on her website¬†

View Derwent’s range of Graphic pencils here.