Posts Tagged ‘Preraphaelites’

A Kneaded Eraser is soft like dough.  You massage it –knead it—until it has the shape of the area in your drawing that you want to remove or lighten.  For example, if you’re drawing a face and you want to put a highlight in the pupil, you shape your eraser into a point and dab that on the pupil to remove the graphite.

John Everett Millais drew his fellow Preraphaelite artist F.G. Stephens in 1853.  What makes this a powerful drawing is how Millais combines two opposites:  a subtle, soft drawing technique with the presence of a strong, even confronting personality.

So, this was a challenging exercise. Faces are always challenging because of the emotion that we project into them. In this face students apparently got mesmerized by the piercing gaze and couldn’t believe how soft it was at the same time.

One student confronted the eye separately and drew it masterfully.

But then drawing the eye in the face was problematic. Isn’t that interesting!  It’s not a matter of technique, but emotion.

Technically, the Kneaded Eraser was supposed to play the leading role in achieving subtlety. The shadow that covers most of the face was put down first. Then the Kneaded Eraser was scripted to make its entrance and perform.  Look at me, I’m not just cleaning up, I’m here to actually DRAW.

Drawing by removing is a powerful technique. For a beginning artist it may feel counter-intuitive.

In the second drawing we did, the Kneaded Eraser asserted itself. Next.

All contents copyright (C) 2010 Katherine Hilden. All rights reserved.





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