Artist Review: Using ARTGRAF (Watercolour Graphite) for the first time

Actually it was a friend who introduced me to #ARTGRAF. She sketches with it, adding some tonal wash over her line drawings. I like how it gives her drawing a kind of grittiness that looks really elegant and I got curious. Artgraf comes in a cake contained within a circular tin. I love the packaging: simple and unassuming.

The illustration on the box shows you how the Artgraf could be used. It cost around SGD22 or US16. I got it with a discount because I was paying with cash so I was escaping the credit card fees.
  IMG_3637.JPGIt is always exciting to test out new art materials and tools so I dived right into it. I did a small drawing of a grilled shrimp (hopefully it looks like one) with a Cretacolour Nero Soft graphite pencil which is an oil based pencil. The pencil delivers a nice black line pretty effortlessly. Important thing is, the line is not reflective, unlike most graphite pencils. I drew in 5 squares so I could warm up by painting a value scale to see whether it is easy to control values. Here you can see the Artgraf was standing by.

Here's the result. The watercolour graphite behaves just like watercolour pigment in a pan. Adding water releases the fine graphite powder or particles in the form of a suspension. The graphite cake is easily activated with just a few gentle strokes of the brush pre-dipped in water. More water, lighter tone. However the darkest tone remains a dark grey, about 90% dark on the value scale, not completely Indian ink black, no matter how much you try to dissolve. Which is a good thing.

  IMG_3641.jpgWhat I like about the Artgraf is, it has a gritty look when it is dried, behaving just like granulation with watercolor on cold press or rough paper, but slightly different. There is one other watercolour pigment that behaves similarly, and that is Daniel Smith Lamp Black. I will show a comparison in my next post. Artgraf - tones are easily controlled. A light wash of grey makes your drawing look more substantial. It is gentle too, not as harsh as wash from tinting Indian ink. It has a grainy appearance that is appealing. Can it do splatter. Yes. As you can see from the example above. The final wash looks like a pencil render, but gentler without the paper texture, and looks like a painting at the same time. IMG_3663A.jpg

It bleeds well on wet paper. It flows like watercolour but retains the look of a pencil drawing, without the irritating reflection and shine. It is "staining" as well. Lifting dried Artgraf from paper is pretty hard, thus it is quite impossible to smudge the previous facing page when the sketchbook is closed. But I still need more test for this. IMG_3665.jpg

A closer look at the graduated value scale done with Nero Soft Graphite pencil and Artgraf solution
on the same paper. 

With this last example, I present to you Artgraf, a watercolor graphite. My first impression of Artgraf, awesome. I don't know about anyone else, but so far I am enjoying it, and I will be trying it out on larger drawings soon. #artgraf #sketching #artjournal #artistjournal #graphitepencil #drawing #graphitewash

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