This Art Deco Nude as theme is not something new, the materials are. The last decade I have been using mostly Bristol paper for my graphite pencil drawings. It has a high resolution and enables me to throw in lots of details, although not always needed. My highly abstracted cubist nudes are put on it because it allows you to create soft tonal gradients. Combined with my mechanical pen this paper is the carrier of an incredible output of hundreds of drawings. Therefor does it carry the body of my Roundism inventions.
By sheer chance I happened to stumble upon these new graphite pencils, recently offered by Faber-Castell. Pitt Graphite Matt pencils they are called and my colleague Humphrey Brugman gave me some test samples. See what I could do with them. In the beginning I thought them to be funny. They act a bit sticky on Bristol paper I was used to, almost the feel of colored pencils. They didn’t offer me the scratchy feel of regular graphite leads. For some time I left them be and continued to draw the old way. There is only one thing that bothered me though. Bristol and my 0.5 mm pen are a happy marriage but they act like a slow, lethargic yet loving couple. Lots of creative opportunities but the build-up is quite a job. Not that I dislike that. I like a good-ol’ planning and don’t want to rush things.
Sometimes I dream of other drawings though. During life sessions I am in need of different materials such as charcoal or pastel (Conté or others). Fine enough but charcoal is quite stainy and pastel I already did for decades now. That is when I came across Ingres’ paper by Hahnemühle at Goedman, The Hague. That took me back to the early 90s when I did some self portraits with it. I quite liked the grainy structure. 1 + 1 makes 2 and so I combined these Graphite Matt pencils with Ingres. They were a perfect match. Finally I could make the best out of this new product and surprisingly fast I finished a first nude within an hour. Ingres likes to eat up those pencil quickly though, I noticed.
After my graphite pencil drawing ‘Study after Eugène Durieu’s Seated Female Nude – 20-08-21’ I didn’t do much straightly lined cubist styling. Since I turned that one into oil I take a new interest in making straight forms again. So I delved into my stash of reference photos from my favorite era. Naturally that would be art deco of the 1920s and 1930s. I was amazed by the result, as said under an hour. Since I am able to fill up the tooth of the Ingres paper that quickly, I will expect to make more soon. Perhaps as in-between snacks for bigger oils I set out to do now.
Pitt Graphite Matt pencil (Faber-Castell) drawing on Hahnenmühle paper (24 x 31 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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