Liquid pencil drawings – details

Drawing has always been my favourite means of artistic expression, and over the years I have worked with most kinds of drawing media, some I loved, such as pen and ink, graphite pencils, water-soluble pencils, charcoal, coloured pencils, and others I didn’t enjoy so much like pastels, but I learned something from all of them, gradually building style and technique. Over the last few years though my main materials have been a combination of Liquid Pencil and coloured pencil.

Liquid Pencil is a graphite paste which comes in a tube and can be watered down to the consistency you choose and applied with a brush. It can be used in a variety of ways, but I use it as the base structure of my drawings. I water it till it is very thin and runny then paint it on my paper with an old brush – sometimes a thin brush, other times a really wide one, depending on the marks I want to achieve. The brush is usually a very old one, with misshapen bristles so I can’t entirely control the marks. The paper I use more often than not is yupo, a synthetic Japanese paper which is very smooth and non-absorbent, so the Liquid Pencil will dry on the surface rather than sinking in, giving interesting tones and granulations. The next – and more important stage – is to develop the drawing, working with coloured pencils to enhance the marks that are already there, sometimes adding more and developing my original hazy idea into a final form.

The image above I have called ‘Whirl’. The original inspiration was a close-up photo of peonies. I was taken by the intense overlapping and swirling of the petals, the sense of lusciousness. The final result is nothing like the photo, which I am very happy about. The drawing has none of the gentleness of real flowers, more an aggressive, threatening mood. Most of my inspiration comes from the natural world, whether from photos I have taken myself, or from the sketchbook I keep while travelling throughout outback Australia.

I have created a page of some of my recent drawings (you can find it by clicking the link ‘Liquid Pencil Drawings’ in the menu bar at the top of the page, or here). Below is a gallery of details. To see the drawings in their full state, go to the linked page. The image bottom left is called ‘Triffid’ and was recently juried in to Australia’s premier drawing award, the Dobell Drawing Prize. Selected as one of 64 works from a field of over 1000 it is an achievement I am enormously proud of, and still find hard to believe.

Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

15 thoughts

  1. Ahh, a bit of menace on a Monday. How you can get menace from peonies only you know. But I think one thing which gives them an uneasiness is the ‘bushfire’ colouring. Those darks give the effects of flora after a fire. And also the fact that they are kind of ‘melt-y’.
    I just love the panel of nine drawings all seen together at the bottom of your post. They look delightful together and I am reminded once again of your oil paint brooches from years ago. Am I allowed a favourite? If I am then it is the second-to-last piece. It is so lighter-than-air like the seed pods which rely on wind to disperse them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nothing like a bit of menace to start the week! You are right, I think it is the darkness that takes away the ‘floweriness’ that one should expect from a peony. I do like the idea of aftereffects of fire.

      The image you choose as your favourite was one of the first ones I did using this technique, and I have to say it’s one I’m very fond of too. It has a lightness and delicacy some of the others don’t. I do find I surprise myself with the mood that eventuates from each of these.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s wonderful to see all your recent liquid pencil artwork together. It really has evolved quite a bit…or maybe each piece takes on a life of it’s own. They all are very distinctive and unique!

    I think “Whirl” is the perfect name for what was inspired by Peonies. I agree, nice to have inspiration but refreshing to have the drawing take a life beyond the original idea.

    Congratulations on “Triffid”! It is a wonderful accomplishment to be very proud of indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Cathe – as I just mentioned in my comment above to Julie each one surprises me in the end with the character that emerges by the end, each so different. I’m working on one right now that is much more delicate – at this stage anyway!


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