Mix It Up

A Range of Technique: The complex variety of skin and fabric textures, as well as tonal values, in this subject prompted me to use several techniques—plus a few different but simple tools.

The simple art of drawing is how many of us first expressed our creativity through art. Most of us go on to seek more elaborate creations in other media, but we can?t forget that complexity isn?t just an attribute of painting. In black-and-white drawings you can create a very intricate picture, and the secret for this is to use a variety of techniques.

Loose and Flexible: Even in a spontaneous drawing you can benefit by combining different skills. Here I used the side of a charcoal stick to block in the large dark and midtone areas, and I removed charcoal above and below the eyes to suggest eyeglasses.

By mixing up the ways you apply your medium, you can create a wide array of visual effects, and as a result you?ll be able to render a wide range of subject matter. And, more importantly, by varying the effects within a single drawing, you can create elaborate and fascinating compositions with a minimum of materials. At right you?ll find several drawing, blending and erasing strategies. Try combining them in your next drawing with the attitude of making a truly complete picture, and perhaps you?ll find that less is more.

Cincinnati artist Wolfgang A. Ritschel was born in Trautenau, Bohemia, and grew up in Vienna, Austria. His undergraduate studies were in fine arts and biology and he completed his graduate studies in pharmacy, medicine and philosophy. In 1968 he joined the faculty at the Medical Center of the University of Cincinnati, all the while continuing to take art courses during summer recesses. He?s been a full-time artist since the mid-1990s. Ritschel has received numerous art awards and is a fellow of the Asian Society of Arts and a member of the Royal Academy of Spain. He served twice as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in South America. Over the past decade he?s exhibited widely in numerous solo and group shows around the world, and his works are in the permanent collections of several museums. He?s also a member of the U.S. State Department?s Fulbright Gallery in Washington, D.C.

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