One of the important mistakes to avoid when drawing a detailed picture is to damage the paper. If you draw more often you know when you accidentally touch the drawing you’ve been working on for hours or even days with dirty hands or when you spill some coffee on the paper. It is remarkably painful to see a piece you have worked on so hard damaged. It is worth mentioning that, while it is not practical to say the drawing should be kept clean at all times, accidents may happen.
[Tip] When you find yourself in a situation where you need to clean your paper, make sure that your hands are clean and that the board you are about to put your drawing on, is clean as well.
When you accidentally touch your drawing with dirty hands, have a pair of paint brushes with you so that you could use them to brush off the dirt from the drawing paper. While brushing the dirt off the paper, be extremely careful not to rub or brush the dirt on the paper.
In some cases, the dirt might stick to the paper, in this case, wait until the dirt dries off the paper and use a slightly sharp tool to unstick the dirt from the paper.
Avoid Accidental Damages to Your Drawing
When drawing, it may be imperative to have some things in place in order to avoid accidental damage to your paper or drawing.
- Make sure that the board to lay on the drawing paper is clean and has clips to hold the drawing in place. Using Paper Clip to hold the Drawing Paper in place will help protect the paper from an accidental movement that would lead to damage.
This would apply to bigger drawings as well, regardless of the paper size, you would have some sort of clips to hold the paper in place. This is not required but definitely will help protect from movement damages.
The other advantage of making sure that your Drawing Board has clips is that, when it comes to cleaning the drawing after it is complete, it is most likely that it can get damaged. This stage of cleaning is when you prepare the drawing for the final step, at this point the drawing is done and you need to clean the extra pencil droplets on the paper or visible fingerprints. This stage is critical if not done right, the paper might get damaged.
However, by clipping your drawing to a secure Drawing Board, you can have your drawing paper firm to the board and avoid some of the movement that might cause damage.
[Tip] To avoid leaving dirt on the paper, use an extra white paper under your hand when you press your hand onto the paper with a drawing.
This will protect the drawing from coming in contact with your hand, when you move and rotate the drawing, move the plain paper as well. There is a caveat to this technique, don’t rub the plain paper onto the Drawing Paper so much that graphite would spread around clean areas.
- Make sure that your hands are clean and the surrounding is free of any destruction. Washing your hands with oil-free soap will help make sure that there is nothing on your hands that would leave a smudge on the Drawing Paper while drawing. When drawing in between sessions, make sure to clean your hands after taking a break.
- The studio area that you use for drawing should be clatter free, this means no open containers with water or liquid around the table or desk you are using to draw, except of course some material needed to complete the project.
- Prepare for a disaster recovery plan, and come up with a plan to recover your drawing in case it gets damaged. This will make you aware of precautions to take to prevent the damage to occur.
- Gather necessary tools like a small air dryer for drying up the paper in case it gets wet with any liquids. Other accessories to keep around to help recover the damaged drawing are fine to paint brushes to brush off the dirt from the drawing and Paper towels to absorb any liquids off the Paper.
Taking extra care to protect your drawing will add more value as it will appear more pleasant and refreshing to look at, the audience would rather appreciate a clean drawing than a dirty one. In Addition, maintaining the drawing and making sure it does not get damaged by following a few steps shows how much you as an Artist value your craft.
As you draw, keep in mind that It is more important to prevent any damages than to try and fix the damages when they occur, the best solution is to prevent it from happening.
The other way the paper could be damaged is by drawing a hash/strong stroked line. Harsh lines or hard strokes of a pencil can be avoided by not pressing your pencil hard against the paper, instead, carefully press a well-sharpened pencil with ease on the paper and apply a light tempered pressure carefully move the pencil to the right or left and lift the pencil up.
Practice this trick until you get the desired result, if it seems intimidating the first time just remember not to press the pencil hard. Oftentimes when starting out this trick, use a lighter pencil to practice tempered strokes, small narrow strokes that gradually fade away.
Examine the stroke to make sure that it did not leave any damage on the paper, and concentrate on perfecting your stroke of pencils, even if it means practicing on a different paper before drawing the object you want.
There is an exception to drawing harsh-line rules, and this exception is when you are trying to differentiate the two sides of an object. Let’s say, one side of an object you are drawing is darker than the other, and you need to outline the buffer zone (the darkest area, normally a place that folds or two separate objects) with a harsh line then shading the darker side.
In order to differentiate the lighter side from the darker side, the deepest part of your drawing would need to be outlined or shaded.
[Tip]: Always start with a lighter stroke then move on to the darker one regardless of how darker the lines need to be.
In this chapter, we looked at how to avoid the destruction that could damage the drawing paper or even the drawing itself. We also learned about how to draw soft lines of strokes to avoid damaging the paper.
This becomes exceptional when you want to separate two areas, one light, and another dark. It is always important to prepare a plan to recover your drawing in case it gets damaged, this becomes even more critical if you are working on commission work.