The Way of the Pencil: Graphite Workshop
Initial email to students
I hope that you are all getting excited about our workshop on 8/10 and 8/17!  Before we get going, I want to give some information that will help you get the most out of the class.
Even if you are a purely representational artist at heart, your picture’s compositions are composed with abstract shapes.  Figurative, landscapes, and still life artwork can all be whittled down to positive and negative space and figure ground relationships (I can explain what these mean more in class).  These “abstract shapes” combine together to make a picture much like leaves combine to make foliage or buildings combine to make cities.
In my graphite work, I have arranged blocks of stone together to make surreal structures to explore.  I arrange the block forms to create interesting compositions, and in turn create interesting drawings.
For this workshop, I would like you to think about what form(s) you would like to build a composition with.  Think of things that can be repeated like clouds, coral reef, manmade structures, or tree roots.  Think of things that you collect, take pictures of, or even just think about often, and bring in some references to class.  You may decide not to use them, but it can’t hurt to have them as examples.  If you can think of any references to bring to class, don’t worry.  We’ll move some abstract shapes around and look at the drawing like a Rorshock Test and come up with some references later.
On 8/17 (week two) you might try this technique in a purely representational manner.  Photo references with a good range of value and high contrast work best.  When choosing subjects, the best references have interesting light bouncing on/off subjects, rather than interesting subjects in an overcast setting.
The supply list for the workshop is below.  If you can’t find certain items, we can probably make do.
See you all next month!
Jordan Bruns
Supply list:
*6H-4H-2H-HB-2B-4B-6B pencils
*3 extra large kneaded erasers
*1 white plastic eraser
*Rives BFK printmakers paper size 22×30” or larger
*Acid free tape (artist tape)
jar of graphite powder (creative mark if available)
Blending stumps
  I can supply graphite powder if there is not available and can sell BFK paper for $5 per sheet.  Please make sure that the paper you bring to the workshop is Rives BFK paper.