Graphite on illustration board

This is a medium that was taught to me when I travelled over to the USA to participate in a number of Guild of Natural Science Illustrators intensive technique training workshops. Many of the pieces that I have produced in this medium have a strong interpretive style to them. This comes from my natural history background and the desire to tell stories with pictures.

I love the extreme play between light and dark and the variety of textures and tones that can be created simply by using graphite pencils. Working in tone and black and white means that you cannot rely on colour to distract the viewer. When working in black, white and gray it is extremely important to consider the overall design and the interplay between light and dark in a composition.

After working for quite some time in graphite I found that overall my eye for composition, balance and a sense of design was much stronger. Without the distraction of colour I was able to focus more on the textural qualities of animals and their environments.

After awhile I started to notice that pieces produced using this medium were starting to appear quite oriental in the design and layout of the compositions. This oriental feel is something that has also developed in my watercolours.