Author Topic: Try drawing on black paper!  (Read 3775 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« on: June 19, 2005, 09:08:25 pm »
For beginners and experienced artists alike, I have a suggestion for something to try. If you've never sketched on black paper, try it! It's a great learning experience, and provides fantastic results.
Many art stores sell black paper in big single sheets, for use with pastels and other bright media. These can be cut into smaller sections if you're not planning on using the whole page at once. Some even sell 9"x12" sketchbooks with good quality paper. Make an investment, and try it out.
Pastels look sharp and vibrant on black paper. So do colour pencils, crayons, oil pastels, gel pens, white charcoal, conte, paint markers, any media that is opaque and light in tone.

(Chubby red fox, drawn on 9x12 black paper with Prismacolor pencils)

Fur texture really stands out in images using a black background. Shadows and highlights pop, making a character look three dimensional without too much effort.

(9x12 black paper, Prismacolor pencils)

How do you do it? Well, put away your pencils and ink. You won't use many dark tools on a black background... they just won't show. Instead, start sketching with a light pencil or even with a white one. Draw your basic outlines in that light colour, then start adding tones TO THE HIGHLIGHT AREAS, not to the places with shadow. It's the reverse of drawing on white paper, where you use your tool mostly where the shadows go.
If light falls across the top of your model, say the forehead of a character portrait, then use a light coloured pencil there to brighten the dark section of the paper. Leave the shadows dark... don't make any marks there, because the paper is already as dark as you need it. Just work in the highlights. Shine on the tip of the nose, gloss at the ends of fur strands, some shine across the shoulders. Slowly build up those highlights across your model, and everything will pop up in a bright 3D.
Colours can be added once you have the basic idea. Those colours will really shine. White on black is also very dramatic, and probably a little easier to handle if you've never tried this kind of paper before.
If you use an eraser on this stuff, you'll make the section darker. You can return any sections you don't like back to black in this manner, and start anew. You can also do minor touch-ups and outlines with black pencil when everything else is in place, but it will have a slightly different quality than the paper... sometimes, it's slightly darker.

Alternatives to black paper/colour pencil combo:


This is a scratchboard sketch. Scratchboard can be purchased at art stores and some craft stores for pennies to a few dollars per sheet, depending on the quality. It starts off black on the surface, but if you scrape at it with a sharp tool, a white line appears. (You can buy a scratchboard stylus at that art store for a few bucks, or you can use anything sharp you have around the house... the end of a paper clip, a butter knife, a coin, etc.)
So, you lay down your basic outlines with that sharp tool, then start scratching away the highlights of the image. It's like drawing white on black, except you're actually taking black away from a white surface beneath.


I did this one with coloured gel-pens on black paper, 9x12. The pens are bright enough to show on the black, and definitely shine when finished. Again, draw the highlights and leave the shadows black.


I never did finish this one, but it would probably give you the basic idea. This image was produced completely in digital format, using a tablet in Fractal Design Painter (now Corel Painter)... but any good art program will work. Start with a black background, instead of white or transparent. Grab an airbrush tool, or whatever tool you prefer. Set the drawing colour to white. Lightly sketch in your outlines, then use your tool and the white colour to draw in the highlights. Leave the shadows dark, like on the black paper. Add colours later (transparent or colouration brushes are nice for this, just go over the white highlights to colourize.) Touch up with black tool colour, if you need it.

I hope I've inspired you to try something new. I'd love to see any samples of creations using these methods... I can offer more pointers if you'd like.
More samples of the black paper sketches are on my web site (listed in the signature) and also on my mate's page:
Siyahamba's Spot
-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Om

  • Hero Member
  • Back from lunch.
  • *****
  • Female
  • Posts: 1713
    • Om's DeviantArt
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2005, 10:22:12 pm »
Wow Wendell... nice tutorial on using some darker background stuff. I have some scratchboard that I'm starting to think about working on. But black paper is something I haven't ventured into yet... though your tutorial has whet my apetite to try it out.

-Kai.
"It can't remember the words, but it meant them. In it's liver, it meant them." - Ed, from Digger.

http://greatom.deviantart.com

Offline Mazz

  • Hero Member
  • CAW!
  • *****
  • Female
  • Posts: 11824
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2005, 11:17:12 pm »
prismas really show up that good on black paper?

i gotta try this
http://mazz.livejournal.com/
http://www.furaffinity.net/user/mazz/
http://tornfeathers.deviantart.com
http://tornfeathers.tumblr.com
--

Rehabber by trade, conservationist by choice
Love your wildlife where it belongs, in the wild

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2005, 12:02:25 am »
Prismacolor colour pencils work great on black paper. If you start with a mid-tone colour (medium red, green, blue, brown... any pencil in the middle of the value range) the marks will be subtle. Start with a darker tone (dark violet, dark green, dark brown) then the marks will be nearly invisible. But when you go over any of those marks with white or another light colour, the middle tones and dark tones really pop off of the background. They glow like pastels.
A similar effect happens when you start with light colours to get your highlight values in, then add mid-range and dark colours across them. The marks will shine.
Adding lots of near-white colours is necessary for this technique, at least with the Prismacolor pencils. Without them, the image will look dull, and is hard to scan properly. I chew down my white pencil quite a bit for each one of these drawings, but the effect is worth it I believe.
-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline CarLOS

  • Hero Member
  • Vote Pirate!
  • *****
  • Male
  • Posts: 2992
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2005, 12:48:53 am »
Holy wow Batman! ':shock:'

Great stuff Wendell '<img'>

Offline Sheeta

  • Hero Member
  • Species: Kittygirl!
  • By the power of Grayskull
  • *****
  • Female
  • Posts: 1349
    • FurAffinity
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2005, 02:01:59 am »
You're absolutely right, Wendell.  I use dark matteboard to do my wildlife illustrations, and the colors vividly stand out because of that.  And it's just plain fun to use the base color of the board as part of the picture...it saves filling everything in.
"YOU ARE A CHAMPION, MY FRIEND!"

"People are into it for all sorts of reasons, but I think most people here just think animal people are neat to draw." --"Sue"

Stop by!  www.furaffinity.net/user/nubiankitten7
             www.nubiankitten.deviantart.com/

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2005, 09:54:43 am »
Thank you for the compliments, all. I just hope I spread some more ideas to the artists here.
Here are a few more samples of this technique, in larger format so you can get a better look.


(Anthro leopard, 9x12 black paper with Prismacolor pencils)


(Arctic fox and leopard, 9x12 black paper with Prismacolor pencils)


(Anthro arctic fox, 9x12 black paper with a red-yellow-orange multicolour pencil. No white added to this one, so the colours are more subtle. I heightened the contrast a bit when I scanned it.)


(non-anthro red fox, 16X16 canvas prepared with black gesso background, then painted with Golden tube acrylics and brushed smooth)
-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Banjo

  • *****
  • Female
  • Posts: 889
    • http://banjo-bear.livejournal.com/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2005, 01:01:50 pm »
Coolies, I never thought of that! I'll have to try it... *Makes note to go to Wendell's website and look at more of his work* Good stuff there!

~~Banjo Bear~~
My DA gallery! My LiveJournal!
O.O Patrick Stewart leaves Shakespeare spots when he walks.

Offline Mazz

  • Hero Member
  • CAW!
  • *****
  • Female
  • Posts: 11824
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2005, 04:17:30 pm »
next time i stop by to get another sketch book i'll pick up some black paper
http://mazz.livejournal.com/
http://www.furaffinity.net/user/mazz/
http://tornfeathers.deviantart.com
http://tornfeathers.tumblr.com
--

Rehabber by trade, conservationist by choice
Love your wildlife where it belongs, in the wild

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2005, 04:48:16 pm »
Here's one I just whipped together. Talking about all this got me thinking about doing something in Fractal Design Painter. Airbrush tools on black background... took me under half an hour.

-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Old Rabbit

  • Species: Rabbit Artist
  • Official Birthday Wisher.
  • *
  • Male
  • Posts: 15448
    • Art by Oldrabbit
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2005, 08:20:51 pm »
Very nice work..  Not having much formal training in
art. Any help is appreciated. '<img'>

I think I will try the black background also..

Old Rabbit '<img'>
Avatar drawn by me.
oldrabbit.com

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2005, 11:56:33 pm »
I'm very glad you folks like this stuff. Black backgrounds make it much easier than it looks.

Here's one I just finished that makes use of the black paper for special drawing effects. Sequin sparkle!
(Black paper, Prismacolor pencils, 9"x12")





-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Zyon Foxbird

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 137
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2005, 02:57:03 am »
wow those look awesome i need to request some of that next time its christmas.

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #13 on: July 01, 2005, 10:58:24 pm »
I just picked up a sheet of Canson black paper today, from Michaels (a national arts-crafts store.) 19"x25"... draw on the full sheet, or split it in half or quarters. It's suitable for pencils, charcoal or pastels (it has a smooth side and a textured side.) It was US$1.99, plus tax.
I already split it in half... I plan on doing some drawings that fit on my new 17"x11.5" scanner bed. (Yay, big commercial scanner! ) A quarter sheet would fit nicely on most home-use scanners, and 50 cents isn't much to invest for a single drawing's worth.
They also have a big variety of other colours, if you're interested in trying other background tones.




-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Tacoma

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Female
  • Posts: 91
    • http://www.tacoma.deviantart.com
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2005, 11:36:02 pm »
Those are some great techniques, Wendell. Thanks for sharing, you have some mad skills '<img'>

I've considered using black paper since I spotted some cardstock earlier last month and decided to give that a try (as opposed to boring old printer paper). And it is tricky, definately something new, but I wonder...since I sometimes have trouble with inking/outlining if black paper might be worth a go at? Looks fun '<img'>

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2005, 06:34:20 pm »
I received a PM from Dragonfox asking me where to purchase a sketchbook with black paper. I thought other people might like to know.

I got mine at the local art store where my sister worked; it's no longer in existance. However, I've seen similar products at Michaels, Utrecht, and O'Leary Paint. I can't guarantee that any of these will have a black paper sketchbook in stock, but it might be worth checking. Other art stores that carry general sketching materials may have them, or may not. Here are a few sites that carry art materials, if you need to order by mail.

http://www.dickblick.com/
http://www.utrechtart.com/
http://www.michaels.com/
http://www.jerrysartarama.com/

The book I have is by Cachet. Classic/Black Sketch Book, 9"x12". It has stiff boards on front and back, is spiral bound on the left side, and the paper is sturdy but a little toward the hot-press side (slicker, rather than textured, so it works better with pencils than with dusty things like pastels.)

Large single sheets are also available, as I mentioned earlier in this thread.
-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Wendell

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Male
  • Posts: 158
    • http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #16 on: July 14, 2005, 09:07:29 pm »
I went in Michaels today, because I've chewed a few of my Prismacolors down to stubs. I got those pencils I needed, then looked over their sketchbooks to see what they have in stock for black paper. All Strathmore sketchbooks and pads are 50% off until July 16... don't know if that's at my local store, or chain-wide.
I got a Strathmore Artagain Black sketchbook, normally over $7, but on sale for US$3.74. It's 9"x12", 24 sheets, 60 lb. paper. It says on the cover, "Rich black paper ideally suited for soft pastels and charcoal. Contains over 50% recycled materials." It seems pretty smooth in texture, though, and I would say it's better for colour pencils than for pastels.
They also had in stock a black-paper field sketchbook (7"x10",) 50 pages for $7.50 or so, and a premium black paper Pastel book, 20 pages for $13.99. They were from different brands and not on sale, so I didn't grab any.
-Wendell on FurryMUCK
http://www.wendell.furtopia.org/
FurAffinity: http://www.furaffinity.net/user/wendellsden/
Deviant Art: http://wendellsden.deviantart.com/

Practice your critical skills here! Constructive critiques are welcome and encouraged on any of my drawings posted here. I can take it.

Offline Dragonfox

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Female
  • Posts: 488
    • http://taeladragonfox.deviantart.com
Try drawing on black paper!
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2005, 03:45:33 pm »
"The Starchaser" Carousel Horse

The first one I've done nicely.

It's not drawn on a black sketch pad, but rather black scrapbooking paper from Walmart.

Black scrapbooking paper is a good idea for anyone who can't get a sketchbook, or just wants to test on a few sheets of paper without getting construction paper.
It's about as thick as sketchbook paper, but it's stiffer.  It has a very smooth finish, similar to computer printer paper.  It resists damage from erasing, but smudges pencil rather easily.  You can erase colored pencil from it.

If you use it, I'd suggest getting a kneaded gum eraser to use with it.
Kneaded gum erasers are fairly cheap, and I adore them...  They last forever, just keep them wrapped up in plastic when not in use to keep dirt/debris out.
Dragonfoxes are crafty creatures, although highly protective.  They love a good prank, prefer to be loners, and this one is highly artistic.

Furry Code:  FG[DragonFox]w3acm A++++ C- D++ H+ M+++ P+++ R++ T+++ W Z- Sf- RLA/C a cm++ d e+ f- h* i+ j+ p++ sf-

My DA

Feel free to critique my art at any time!  ^_^