I don't do a lot of pre-work such as roughs or color studies, and don't ever rework
my pieces. I do just one rough sketch in the beginning to work out my composition.
Sometimes, if I’m particularly fond of an idea, I would start by creating a less
rough, more detailed sketch in my beloved Moleskine sketchbook, but not all my pieces
start there. Most of the preparatory work for a piece usually goes on the non-physically
existent canvas of my mind.
“Elegy” was created on 500 series Strathmore Bristol Vellum, but I’m equally fond
of the Smooth version of the paper. Vellum has subtle texture; Smooth results in
a silkier-looking finish.
For the preliminary sketch, I used a 2B mechanical pencil, applying very light pressure
so that none of the lines engraved into the paper and could later be erased easily.
When I had the composition down and all the details drawn in, I did linework using
a 2B mechanical pencil. Some lines were only meant to be guides for future shading
(such as the folds on the shirt sleeves) so I used a lighter grade pencil to work
them over. When I was finished, I took a kneaded eraser and gently erased all the
leftover sketch lines and grime that I might've added accidentally. The drawing was
now ready for shading.
Of course, you can choose to skip this step if you’re looking to achieve a more realistic,
less stylized look. I like to use bold lines in my work, in large part because I’m
a huge fan of Art Nouveau. While I do want to maintain a certain amount of realism,
at the same time I don't want my works to look like photographs.