What are the Considerations for Drawing on Different Surfaces?

Drawing is a form of art that has been around for centuries. It is a way for artists to express their creativity and emotions through lines, shapes, and colors. While drawing can be done on any surface, whether it be paper, canvas, or even walls, each surface presents its own unique set of considerations. In this article, we will explore the various factors that artists must take into account when drawing on different surfaces.

Understanding the Different Surfaces

Before we dive into the considerations for drawing on different surfaces, it is important to understand the characteristics of each surface. Here are some of the most common surfaces used for drawing:

  • Paper: This is the most commonly used surface for drawing. It comes in various textures, weights, and colors, making it versatile for different drawing techniques.
  • Canvas: Canvas is a popular surface for painting, but it can also be used for drawing. It is made of woven fabric and is available in different textures and sizes.
  • Wood: Wood is a durable and sturdy surface that can be used for drawing. It is often used for woodblock printing and can also be used for charcoal or pencil drawings.
  • Walls: Drawing on walls is a form of street art that has gained popularity in recent years. It allows for large-scale and public expression of art.

Considerations for Drawing on Different Surfaces

Now that we have a basic understanding of the different surfaces, let’s explore the various considerations that artists must keep in mind when drawing on them.

Texture

The texture of a surface refers to its roughness or smoothness. It can greatly affect the outcome of a drawing. For example, a rough surface like watercolor paper can create a textured and grainy effect, while a smooth surface like Bristol board can produce clean and crisp lines.

When choosing a surface for drawing, it is important to consider the texture that will best suit the desired outcome. For detailed and precise drawings, a smooth surface is ideal, while a rough surface can add depth and character to a drawing.

Medium

The medium used for drawing also plays a significant role in the choice of surface. Different surfaces are better suited for certain mediums than others. For example, watercolor paper is designed specifically for watercolor paints, while Bristol board is better suited for ink or markers.

Using the wrong surface for a particular medium can result in the colors not adhering properly or bleeding through the paper. It is important to research and understand the compatibility of different surfaces with various mediums before starting a drawing.

Durability

The durability of a surface is another important consideration for artists. Some surfaces, like paper, are more fragile and can easily tear or get damaged. Others, like wood or walls, are more durable and can withstand more pressure and manipulation.

When creating a drawing that requires a lot of erasing or layering, it is important to choose a surface that can withstand the process without getting damaged. This will ensure that the final artwork is of high quality and can be preserved for a longer period of time.

Size

The size of the surface is also an important factor to consider when drawing. A larger surface allows for more freedom and space to create detailed and intricate drawings. On the other hand, a smaller surface can be more challenging but can also result in more focused and concise artwork.

When choosing the size of a surface, it is important to consider the level of detail and complexity of the drawing, as well as the artist’s personal preference and comfort level.

Lighting

The lighting of the drawing surface can greatly affect the outcome of a drawing. Different surfaces reflect light differently, which can impact the colors and shading in a drawing. For example, a glossy surface will reflect more light, resulting in brighter and more vibrant colors, while a matte surface will absorb more light, resulting in more muted tones.

It is important for artists to consider the lighting of their drawing surface and how it will affect their artwork. This is especially important for artists who work with colored pencils or pastels, as the lighting can greatly impact the vibrancy of the colors.

Cost

The cost of a surface is also an important consideration for artists. Some surfaces, like paper, are relatively inexpensive and can be easily replaced if a mistake is made. Others, like canvas, can be more expensive and may require more investment upfront.

When starting out as an artist, it is important to experiment with different surfaces to find the ones that work best for your style and budget. As you progress and develop your skills, you may want to invest in higher quality surfaces to create more professional and long-lasting artwork.

Case Studies

Let’s take a look at some real-life examples of how different surfaces can impact the outcome of a drawing.

Case Study 1: Paper vs. Canvas

Artist A is creating a portrait using colored pencils. They decide to use paper as their drawing surface. The paper has a smooth texture, which allows for precise and detailed lines. However, the colors do not blend as well as the artist had hoped, resulting in a slightly patchy appearance.

Artist B is also creating a portrait using colored pencils, but they choose to use canvas as their drawing surface. The canvas has a slightly rough texture, which allows for better blending of colors. The final artwork has a more cohesive and smooth appearance.

In this case, the choice of surface greatly impacted the final outcome of the drawing. While paper may be better suited for certain mediums, canvas was the better choice for creating a realistic and blended portrait using colored pencils.

Case Study 2: Wood vs. Walls

Artist C is creating a large-scale mural using spray paint on a wooden panel. The wood has a smooth surface, which allows for clean and precise lines. However, the artist struggles to achieve the desired level of detail and depth in their artwork.

Artist D is also creating a large-scale mural, but they choose to use a wall as their drawing surface. The wall has a rough texture, which allows for more texture and depth in the artwork. The final mural has a more dynamic and visually interesting appearance.

In this case, the choice of surface greatly impacted the level of detail and texture that could be achieved in the artwork. While wood may be better suited for certain mediums, walls were the better choice for creating a large-scale and textured mural using spray paint.

Conclusion

Drawing on different surfaces requires careful consideration and understanding of the unique characteristics of each surface. From texture and medium to durability and cost, there are many factors that artists must take into account when choosing a surface for their artwork. By understanding these considerations and experimenting with different surfaces, artists can create more impactful and professional drawings that truly showcase their skills and creativity.