Friday, April 20, 2007
Ingres' Drawing Materials
I found a great little article yesterday on Ingres' drawing materials. Apparently, he used really hard pencils and coated paper. (You can buy something called Ingres paper today.) This gave his drawings a special look - and as the above article states, therein may lie his magic.
For my readers who aren't artists, a quick word about hard and soft pencils. Basically, the lead in artists pencils is not all the same. Most US students are used to "number 2" pencils. That is in the middle of the spectrum. There are harder pencil leads, they have more of a silvery tone and can take alot of pressure and remain at a point. The softer leads are darker in tone (more towards black than silver) and "mush" under pressure. A line from a hard pencil will not smear easily, a similar line from a soft pencil will smear easily.
I have noticed in looking at Ingres' work that he made great dark lines, but they were still very fine. I have been drawing with softer pencils this month and the lines are not precise enough. I had used a hard pencil when I copied a few portraits last year, but they came out very light - as you can see here.
The copy of Ingres' portrait of Merry-Joseph Blondel above is done on coated paper. It is not the same as Ingres' paper, it is Bristol board coated lightly with white acrylic paint. Hopefully you can see the difference in that and the marks made on plain Bristol board in the second image. It is rather striking in real life. And as an ender, I loved the texture and feel of the pencil marking on the coated paper.