RJ TIP - Getting dark valuesIt's not always easy to get very dark values even with 6B graphite. What I found, and I'm sure many of you as well, is that you need to lay down the graphite in layers with hatching I do the hatching with no more pressure than normal writing. Pressing hard is not a solution. This will only burnish the graphite giving it too much shine. In addition to keeping the shine down, a second advantage to using layers is that you can use an architect's eraser to [pull up] a layer at a time. The fact that you have not pressed too hard preserves the tooth of the paper so you can work the tone until you get it just right. To get an almost charcoal black I do the following:
- Lay down 5 layers of 6B. This pretty much fills all the tooth of the paper.
- Blend the graphite.
To blend the graphite I use circular movements (circulation) over the entire area with a very pointed 2B, the sharper the better. I will do this until I get a unified dark black value. Usually 2 passes are enough. Again the pressure on the paper is not more than if I were writing.
This process can be very time consuming depending on the area to cover. For example, the drawing I did of Chaplin's Modern Times had very large areas to fill so I decided to use charcoal. That saved me hours of time.
Here is an image that shows the process step by step using 6B.
This is very smooth paper so it's actually more difficult to get very black. Remember the paper will make a difference. If you look closely at step 5 you will see that it is not completely covered. This is why it's necessary to blend with the 2B. Blending with a stub or similar tool will also fill but it will also absorb some of the graphite and you will loose that POP effect you may have heard about.
So there you have it, my technique for getting those dark values. Let me know if it was helpful and more importantly let us all know how you are getting those dark values.
Category: RJ Tips