Monday, March 21, 2011

Pencil drawings

I have done a lot of sketching and drawings with various pencils. In 1981 I did a book on pencil drawing for Watson Guptill publications which contained a great variety of my pencil work, some shown below.

1 3-21598
A drawing of the Boulevard St. Germain in Paris, it's a simple sketch using only flat tones done on a textured paper.

1 3-21599
A portrait sketch of one of our friends in Paris, also done on a textured paper. There are a great variety of papers available, it's interesting to try the different surfaces.

1 3-21602
A very tight rendering done using a Koh-i-noor Hardtmuth Negro pencil. This Paris scene was drawn using a photograph as reference.

1 3-21601

Another quick sketch of one of our friends in Paris. Color was added by using washes of watercolor, a nice fresh technique to explore.

1 3-21600
Certain colored pencil brands like Stabilo and Prismalo are water soluble. Here is an example of a drawing done with water soluble pencils, after finishing the drawing I washed clear water over some areas, blending them and dissolving certain tones, a great technique to explore.

1 3-21597
Here is the book in which contained these and many other drawings. If you are interested, you can still find used copies at and other internet book stores.


Vince A said...


The Paris scene is stunning. I love almost-but-not-quite-realistic pencil drawings.

Those that look both realistic, but still clearly a drawing. Paul Calle, Ernest Watson, and Ferdinand Petrie were some of my favourites whose styles I tried to copy (besides yourself)

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Vince,
Thanks for your comments.
I also love drawings that are not super realistic. I normally don't work as tight as I did on those other drawings that I posted, they were specifically done for the book. I also don't care for a lot of the hyper realistic work done on the computer, it just seems so harsh.

Steve said...

Great drawings Harry.You seldom talk much about your compositional approach to picture making and I always think its one of your great strengths.

Harry Borgman said...

Hi Steve,
I think you might be right about my compositional approach. One of my strong points is that I think about design in everything that I do. I am, and have been for many years, a graphic designer. My wife, Jeanne, always thought that I was a better sculptor than a painter, time will tell, maybe.
Thanks for your comments.

Steve said...

Yes, its there in all your pictures.Do you make a point of always doing preliminaries before each illustration ?

Harry Borgman said...

Ni Steve,
Yes, I always do several quick compositional sketches when doing an illustration but not when sketching outdoors on the spot. On the nest post I will show a few examples.