Drawing before oil painting
Pen and Ink
India ink and crow-quill pens are
best. Ballpoints with alcohol-soluble (not turpentine-soluble)
ink are okay too. You can also use water based colored inks.
Pens and inks are good when oil painting on hard surfaces such
as wood or Masonite than when used on canvas.
Drawing with pen and ink can be slow and
tend to be best with smaller areas. Its main advantage is that
it tends to make the oil painter overly aware of details from
the very beginning. It is popular in detail oriented
Another advantage of using pen and ink is
that the drawing stays exactly where you put it. It will not
smudge or run when paints are applied on it. It also does not
come off easily with Turpentine. It is also easy to make
corrections. Steel wool makes a beautifully effective eraser
for pen and ink drawing.
Don't use Graphite pencils
Graphite pencils are not recommended for
sketches for oil painting. This is because graphite has a
tendency to rise up through the layers of oil paint and in time
to show through on the surface of the dried painting. The same
thing happens on an even more drastic scale with felt-tip
markers. The ink from these pens cannot be covered with oil
paints; they come right through even the most opaque colors.
For pens and ink drawings it is best to stick to India ink.
Pastel and Crayon
Using pastels or crayon is almost identical
to using charcoal. The same tools and techniques for blending ,
smudging, scraping, and erasing apply. The difference is that
color can be introduced as an element in the drawing
Choose pastels that aren't too soft. Pastel
pencils are an excellent choice. The idea is to not have
too much color on the canvas, which is why hard pastels
are preferable to traditional soft pastels. You don't want
much powder on your canvas. Keep the pastel clean ,k with no
bid up. Also avoid using white or light colored pastels in this
approach. Instead, let the white of the painting ground work
for your light effects. Building up a traditional layer of
thick pastel in this situation can be dangerous because it will
result in an unstable ground for your oils. So keep the pastels
extremely think - almost like a stain. Fix with a spray of
retouch varnish if desired.
Charcoal is the almost
universal drawing medium to use with oil paints. Both
compressed charcoal and vine charcoal are suitable for drawing
on canvas or panels.
Vine charcoal is preferred because it
leaves a lighter mark and is more flexible. That is it is
easier to erase. Compressed charcoal pencils, which leave a
dense, dark line, are cleaner and more suitable for detail
Drawing with charcoal on a canvas ground is
almost like using it on paper, except that the charcoal tends
to stick less to the surface. The degree of finish can range
anywhere from a few very general strokes to a fully realized
value rendering, a complete with shadows and highlights.