How would you do a starry night sky using graphite?

  • Hello everyone 🙂
    So I have made many starry night skies with gouache and ink but I have a hard time finding out how to do it with graphite. I love the way Garth William did it in "Wait till the moon is full". He did the trees really dark and the sky was gray. But if the setting is into space, what would be your technique to do it with graphite? I have tried to find videos on youtube but didn't find anything satisfying. Thanks in advance for your advices. Have a beautiful day. 🙂 🍀

  • Moderator

    I just did a search on Pinterest of "Pencil drawing night sky" and found some nice examples. One way of getting a nice dark sky is a technique called micro drawing, where you sharpen your pencil so sharp that you can draw in the actual texture of the paper. Use sandpaper to get the nicest sharp.
    Coincidently, I was just thinking of doing a micro drawing for the next monthly prompt because I love pencil. I'll share if you are interested. 🙂

  • If you are looking for an outer space black with stars, it may be easiest to shade it then go in with a hard eraser and pull out the stars, or mask them off before hand with little bits of tape or something. If you're looking for graphite that gets really really dark, you need to choose a softer leaded pencil (Like a 6b or 8b) my absolute favorite for getting nice, dark fills is the Prismacolor Ebony Jet Black:

    As far as technique, I think the most important thing to keep in mind is not to make the overall piece too dark. Even though it's night, the image can still have a lot of brighter spots (particularly if there is a light source like the moon present, like in your example from Wait till the moon is full) I like these examples from David Alvarez

    Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 5.02.09 PM.png Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 5.02.18 PM.png

  • I would add the stars in with photoshop at the end >.> #cheater

  • Moderator

    Check out Allen Williams. He also sharpens his pencil to an extreme point and says he "Tickles the paper". Powdered graphite can give smooth fast coverage too, and is soft enough to erase details into the piece. It's dangerous to breath it in though.

  • @burvantill Wonderful! Thank you so much for the help! I would love to see your prompt! 🙂

  • @StudioLooong Thank you so much for the advice! 🙂 I will try that and let you know how it goes. Love this examples you picked by David Alvarez! Thank you!

  • @carlianne Hahahahah. Yes! I have tried that before and you are totally right, it works pretty well 🙂 But I would love to do it without the help of Ps this time because I need my prints to be as close as possible to my originals. Have a beautiful day!

  • Oh! Thank you! I just checked his work. Pretty amazing. Yes, I'm actually experimenting right now with powdered graphite and it is for now, the result I like the best! Thank you for the advice! Didn't expect so many answers. That is very cool.

Log in to reply