Today I’m coloring a little differently than usual, using smudged soft graphite shading over markers. For this piece I decided to use just a few marker shades and to color a number of adjoining shapes the same color.

Just a little dab of soft graphite pencil is plenty. I’m using a Mitsubishi Uni pencil with a 10B hardness – which is really soft. And there’s no need to worry about being precise with where you place your shadows because the next step is to smudge them all around.

You can see how my paper blending stump has spread the pencil graphite into smooth shadows. I start shading in the middle of the picture so that I’m less likely to drag my hand over the pencil and smudge my hand, the rest of the paper, my desk or whatever. (This is when having black dogs is a real plus, because if I get graphite all over my hands it won’t show on their coats.)

Here’s a close-up look at how the middle has turned out so far.

And here’s my progress on the entire picture. Isn’t it cool how rich and varied the colors look even though I’ve only used two marker shades so far?

I do like the way graphite shading gives colors kind of an antique look. Smudgy graphite over marker is a very forgiving technique as well. If you smudge over the lines, you can erase the pencil without disturbing the marker color. I’ve actually done that in one spot in this picture – but it’s not going to be easy for anyone to see where it happened!

(Today’s coloring is from Balance For Crayons And Wide Tipped Markers.)