26 January, 2009

Carbon dust

was developed by professor Max Brodel a medical illustrator at John's hopkins in the late 1800's

the results is a rendering that is lifelike, with realistic detail,texture,and lighting on clay board.



jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

1. Using a sanding board, scrape Wolff’s carbon pencils into a container. I use the softest pencil available such as a BBB. This will serve as the “carbon dust”. A small amount of this should last a long time. Alternatively, bulk carbon powder can be purchased.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

2. The preliminary sketch should be carefully modeled, preferably done with Wolff B or Hb carbon pencils. Double transfer this to paper or board (Color-aid, Bristol Vellum, etc.) -One alternative is to overlay drafting film, such as H&E Herculene, over a pencil sketch. Use a low tack tape to tape the film on top of the sketch and, using a B or HB carbon pencil, copy the underlying drawing. If using a more opaque type of film or paper (Color-aid is somewhat transparent), try illuminating the sketch by tracing over a light table.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

2. Reinforce the transferred sketch by drawing with BB, B, or HB pencils. BBB pencils should be used only for the darkest areas and should be used sparingly. Color-aid, clay coated papers and drafting films have fragile surfaces and are easily stained and smudged. Avoid fingerprints by wearing cotton gloves. Also, cover portions of the drawing with tracing paper as you work.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

3. Begin by using a large flat, filbert, or “mop” sable brush and carefully dip the brush into the prepared carbon dust. I prefer to use a Winsor & Newton 240 series brush, size 3, 2, or 1. Make sure to carefully load the brush with the correct amount of dust. Lightly brush the carbon over the drawing. It’s very easy to create splotchy areas, but as you develop your touch, it will become easier to create broad, smooth, dark areas. Establish individual tonal areas in a general way and be careful not to go too dark. Brush lightly and gradually rather than heavily with one quick stroke. Avoid “scrubbing”.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

4. As a general plan, try to go from the general to the specific. Use larger brushes, then smaller ones. As you proceed and process more detail, go back and forth between small and large brushes.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

-For details, use a bright brush with bristles that have been singed. This type of brush is used to help reinforce shadows and outlines of forms. -I will use carbon pencils to fine tune details. This keeps the drawing from looking “cottony”. -Apply tone gradually. It’s easy to get too dark unless care is taken.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

5. Lights can be brought back using a chamois cloth in the earlier stages of the drawing. Make sure the lights and darks are balanced properly. The drawing should look 3-dimensional and “solid”. Highlight areas can also be carefully erased out with a soap eraser.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

6. An application of an alcohol mist allows for the re-application of dust. This enables a further build up of rich, dark tones. Use an atomizer to spray the rubbing alcohol onto the surface of the drawing. Practice this a few times on a scrap surface before attempting it on your piece. Make sure that your drawing is clean and the highlight areas are established.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

7. Accent the darkest areas with lamp black watercolor using a brush or a crow quill pen. This should be done after the carbon dust tones are completed.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

8. Specular highlights are used in medical art to simulate the wet nature of living tissue. These can add dramatic effect to an otherwise sound drawing.

-Soft and Semi-sharp highlights can be applied by using various erasers. -The Bard Parker Scalpel Blade handle with a no. 15 blade is a great tool for scratching back specular highlights. The rounded edge of the blade allows you vary the width and shape of the highlights as well. Scratch back highlights should be the final step in the drawing process. Dust that is spread over scratched on highlights will stain the area and will not be easily repaired. -Highlights can also be brushed on using white gouache.

9. Spray fix the drawing so that it will be protected from smudging.

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009


Wolff’s Carbon Pencils- HB, B, BB, BBB, etc.

Sanding Block Pad (to make dust)

Pencil Sharpener

Photographer’s gloves

Tracing paper or Vellum for sketches and protecting drawing

Clay Coated Papers- Ross Stipple Board #00 (no longer produced) Pantone Colormatch Color-aid paper Vellum surface Bristol board

Drafting Film- H&E Herculene Film

Erasers- Chamois Kneaded eraser Pink Pearl eraser Gum eraser Peel off magic rub vinyl eraser

India Ink (Higgins, Dr. Martin’s, etc.) Crow quill pen or technical pens White gouache

Workable fixative

White acrylic spray paint (for final back-spray of drafting film)

Bard Parker Surgical Blade handle Bard Parker No. 15 Surgical Blade

jim rownd 26 Jan 2009

your welcome. I think it's a method that would fit you well.

WESTERN ARTWORK By Denny Karchner 26 Jan 2009

Sorry Jim.

I didn't mean to break in while you were posting.