Category Archives: Pencil Drawings

A Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencil Portrait of an English Bulldog

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I took a walk at the Chinese Church near our house. They have a really nice parking lot and a lot of folks use it for walking the perimeter because it is level. I often meet people walking their dogs and recently met this really nice lady who spoke very broken English. I didn’t catch the name of her dog and had to do a bit of YouTube research to determine whether it was a Pug or an English Bulldog. My best guess is it is an English Bulldog. It was so friendly and Minnie loved scampering around it while it sat like a fireplug quite disinterested in my little hyper Shih Tzu. I asked with improvised sign language whether it would be ok to take some pictures of her dog so I could do a drawing. I chose this photo.

Black and White source photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Final Drawing:

English Bulldog -9″x12″ – Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils on Strathmore Bristol 300 Vellum paper

I used Strathmore Bristol 300 9″x12″ paper and decided to used 100% Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils. I love how they glide over the paper. I used the 4H pencil to do the layout with a very light stroke and they built up the tones with darker and darker pencils, from 4H=>2H=>HB=>2B=.4B.  I used PanPastel blender pads and kneaded erasers to create soft graded tones and highlights. I used a Camel paint brush to do some of the shading.

Here is a short speed video of the process:

Here is my drawing area as shown from the camera mounted above (Sony A6000 with 16-50mm lens):

My Studio and Drawing Environment

 

 

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A Pencil Portrait of Isaac – Using a Single Caran d’Ache Grafwood 2B Pencil on Duralar Film

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I’ve been doing drawings of our grandkids and just finished one of Isaac. He is so much fun! His laugh and sense of humor are contagious. He loves to kid, run, laugh, joke, eat, hug and generally be spontaneous! The last time I saw my mom alive in 2012 was when Christy and Justin and the kids met Carol and I at the assisted living where “Me-Mo” lived. Isaac was 2 and as soon as he saw Me-Mo he broke into a full run and tackled her at the knees, almost knocking her over. I’ll never forget that! We all laughed so hard and had a wonderful visit. Little did we know it would be our last. So when I told Christy I wanted to do a drawing of Isaac she said, “be sure and do one of him laughing!” I remembered this photo where Justin was pushing him on the tire swing at Jones Bridge Park near us. I think it captures his love of life and spirit! I used a single Caran d’Ache 2B Grafwood graphite pencil on .005 Dual Sided Duralar mylar film. I also used Pan Pastel blenders to treat the graphite as if it was “paint.” My Prismacolor Kneaded Eraser made a great tool for picking out highlights. Here is the time-lapse video of the drawing…

A Portrait of Isaac 9″x12″ Caran d’Ache Grafwood 2B pencil on Duralar .005 Dual Matte Film
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Hank Curth – A pencil portrait painted with brushes, pencils and powdered graphite

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Hank Curth Original Photo posted on Facebook

When I saw the Father’s day Facebook post done by my friend Chris Curth commemorating his dad who would have been 100 years old in 2017, I knew I had to do his portrait! The photo was so striking and conveyed such character I wanted to know more about him. I asked Chris if I could have permission to do a pencil drawing of his dad for my second assignment in a drawing class I was taking online. He gladly agreed and I created this graphite painting/drawing using Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils, General’s Powdered Graphite, paint brushes, several different erasers and blending tools on Strathmore 400 Bristol Vellum paper. Here is a 2 minute YouTube speed video of the drawing:

 

 

If you would like to know more about Hank Curth, here is a short bio on his work. Thanks Chris for letting me do this for you and your family! I am planning to make several limited edition prints for family members. 

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Ava Grace – A pencil portrait and YouTube time lapse video

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This is the original photo of Ava in front of her house

After doing drawings and paintings for over 40 years, I sometimes wish I could remember how I did something that I find in my archive art bin! Sometimes it is to see if I can avoid what is a really bad effort and sometimes it’s because I really like what I drew or painted. Often I have no recollection of the steps I took to create the art! Anyway, with my current drawings I am really enjoying doing these blog posts and work-in-progress videos on my YouTube Channel so I can look back and remember what steps I took to complete a drawing. This is a drawing I did of my granddaughter Ava for her room. She is SUCH a sweetheart and the photo really captures her. As you can see on my last post of the portrait of Hurley, I have recently taken a course by Darrell Tank at fivepencilmethod.com in which he teaches realistic graphite pencil drawing using only five pencils – 4H, 2H, HB, 2B and 4B. It is a great course and I highly recommend it if you want to learn a very systematic and consistent approach to your drawing. While this drawing is by no means the best representation of his course or methods, I am pleased that it captured Ava so “gracefully!” The 2 1/2 minute speed drawing below represents about 7 – 8  hours of drawing time.

I hope this process is helpful to you. Here is the time-lapse video of the drawing.

Here roughly are are the steps I took that you’ll see in the video ( the layout method by Darrell Tank is different and quite accurate and doesn’t rely on step 1) – links to the products I used are highlighted in green and link to Amazon.com :

  1. I printed an enlarged copy of the image on 9″x12″ paper using  my HP 7610 printer (large format) on 11″x17″ copy paper using a backer sheet of graphite paper (not charcoal or carbon paper) to transfer a rough sketch of Ava’s features to Strathmore 400 2ply Bristol Vellum paper. This works great with a standard printer at 8″x10″ size too.
  2. I work exclusively at the start with 4H and 2H pencils (I use Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils) to bring much of the drawing to life using a light touch. During this phase I check the original drawing using a set of easily adjusted Alvin 6″ dividers (not the type with the wheel adjustment).
  3. Increase dark areas with HB pencils gradually reinforcing the deepest tones.
  4. Use a kneaded eraser to lift highlights. Crosshatch larger areas and then use the Princeton Brush Bright #10 paint brush to blend and create a soft skin texture. Use a Langnickel 2″ Camel hair brush to soften features and hair and to keep the drawing clean.
  5. Continue to deepen the darks with 2B and 4B pencils (very lightly especially on 4B – used only for the darkest darks!)
  6. Use the Tombow Mono hand held eraser to create dynamic highlights and hair details.
  7. Continue to work back and forth between darks and lights, refining the image until completion.

Here is the finished drawing:

Final Drawing of Ava with Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils on Strathmore 400 Bristol Vellum 2-ply paper
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Meet Hurley! A graphite pencil portrait of a German Shepherd mix

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Coda – halfway finished…using Darrell Tank Five Pencil Method (fivepencilmethod.com)

I’ve been taking a course by Darrell Tank on the Five Pencil Method using 5 different hardnesses of graphite pencils (4H, 2H, HB, 2B and 4B), a camel hair brush, a “pencil like” eraser called a TomBow eraser and a kneaded eraser. Using just these few tools you can do amazing things! He suggests a rather inexpensive paper – Strathmore 300 Bristol Vellum available in tablets or sheets. (I used Strathmore 500 on this) I was working through the course and posted this drawing I was doing of “Coda.” I was halfway through the 8 week course and was contacted by one of Carol’s childhood friends about me doing a portrait of Hurley, her daughter’s dog, for her birthday about a month away. I said I’d be happy to try! Here are the reference photos and the final drawing. All reference photos were captured from iPhone screen captures and texts.

This is the final drawing – 8″x10″ graphite pencil on Strathmore 500 Bristol Vellum paper.

Hurley – 8″x10″ Drawing – Faber-Castell Grafwood Graphite Pencils on Strathmore 500 Bristol Vellum paper

Reference photos:

Screeenshot of Hurley in his relaxed mood!
A screenshot of Hurley
Original photo screenshot of Hurley

 

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Historic Norcross Homes – A Magazine Illustration for Inside Gwinnett Magazine 1986

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In the mid-80’s I illustrated for several magazines published by Inside Publishing – Inside Gwinnett, Inside Cobb, Inside Northside and Inside Buckhead. I’ve found a bunch of the magazines and wanted to post a few of the paintings and drawings. It was a wild time working a full time job and doing this on the side. Magazine deadlines didn’t always line up with my work schedule! This was for the March 1986 issue in which an article was written on several Historic Homes of Norcross. Done in watercolor from a photo I took. I also did pencil drawings of 5 other homes for the article which I will try to dig up an post. (Can’t believe this was 30 years ago!!!)

The cover of Inside Gwinnett Magazine Fall 1986 – Historic Homes of Norcross – illustration by George Hoffman (georgehoffman.com)

 

This is the pencil drawing that was published with the magazine article. I created notecards and envelopes with this image on the front.

A pencil drawing done for the Inside Gwinnett Magazine article on Historic Norcross Homes (georgehoffman.com)
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A Speed Drawing of Abigail using Powder Blender and Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils

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I had a lot of fun collaborating with my granddaughter Abigail to do this portrait for her mom for her birthday. Abigail took a “selfie” and sent it to me. Done with Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils and finished with Powder Blender (the powder) using foam brushes and paper stumps for blending. Paper used was Strathmore 500 Bristol Plate Finish (8″x10″).

Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils on Strathmore 500 Bristol Plate paper.

 

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Josiah – Graphite on copy paper – 8 1/2″x11″ with Powder Blender

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I took this picture of my wonderful grandson Josiah a couple years ago as he was looking out his front window. I’ve been wanting to do a drawing from it and decided to do a quick sketch on some HP copy paper to get an idea of how I wanted it to look. I was using some new Caran d’Ache Graphwood pencils (2B, 3B, 6B and 8B) I got from Dick Blick last week. The drawing kept getting better and better and I couldn’t stop. I got to a point where I wanted to smooth out the background and skin tones and decided to try the Powder Blender system and it worked great. (brushandpencil.com). The system is designed for colored pencils – especially oil base pencils, but the texture and grit of the powder made a great vehicle to even out the textures. I’ll try it on a more robust paper (Strathmore 500 Bristol Plate) next time! Anyway, here’s the “sketch” and a YouTube video of the Powder Blender system and how I used it for this drawing.

Original photo:

Original photo of Josiah in profile
Original photo of Josiah in profile
Josiah on HP 24lb Copy Paper with Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils and Powder Blender
Josiah on HP 24lb Copy Paper with Caran d’Ache Grafwood pencils and Powder Blender
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Christy and Ezra – 6″x10″ Pencil on Canson XL Bristol Smooth Paper

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A 6″x10″ pencil drawing of my wonderful daughter Christy and grandson Ezra taken last week at Jones Bridge Park with our family. I took the photo with my Sony A6000 camera and did a time-lapse video of the drawing on Youtube. Check it out below!

A pencil drawing on Canson XL Bristol Smooth paper.
A pencil drawing on Canson XL Bristol Smooth paper.

Please visit my Hoffman Creative Media Facebook Page and comment or ask questions. Hit the “Like” button while you’re there!

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Use your iPhone to create a great photo of your art…

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How many times have you wanted to capture that piece of art you created but it’s under glass and the reflections make it impossible?Or you want to catalog a bunch of images in your scrapbooks or art journals? Or perhaps you have some older drawings and paintings that you can’t seem to get cropped properly. Watch my tutorial on how to use your cellphone and Photoshop to capture, color correct and reframe your images so they are suitable for submission to shows, posting on your website or Facebook pages or send to clients for approval. Here’s a YouTube video I created with tips on how to showcase your work in all these situations.

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