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Mediums: Drawing

Drawing might be considered the natural art because it is something that all of us do from a very young age. While we all are not natural artists, drawing allows even the most novice artist the opportunity to create.

Drawing media are perhaps some of the most accessible media used by artists. For the most part, they are relatively inexpensive from the standpoint of material cost, and for many, are a way to quickly frame the subject of a new work that might be done later in a work using another substance like oil.

Though typically is done on a simple surface such as paper, drawing media may be applied to a variety of base mediums such as canvas or wood. Drawing techniques and styles are as varied as the stars and the level of detail in a drawing can approach that of a photograph.


When artists use charcoal they typically use charcoal that has been formed into drawing sticks with some additive. Depending on how it is made, charcoal can be harder or softer. In fact, many artists’ pencils have charcoal cores. Another type of charcoal artists may use is powdered charcoal, which is commonly used to cover large sections of the surface the artist is drawing on.

Colored Pencils

While colored pencils may seem pretty straightforward to most, to an artist they offer a powerful level of detail. Colored pencils come in a wide variety of types of which some of the more popular are wax, oil, pastel, graphite, and even watercolor pencils.

The most common colored pencils are wax based. These can share some characteristics with crayons and in fact are sometimes referred to as pencil crayons.

When looking at pieces where the artist used colored pencils the color pencil itself is often only half the story. The other half is the technique with which the artist uses to blend colors and manipulates the markings once they are on the paper (or other medium). Some common techniques to get a different effect out of colored pencil drawings are “smudging” with ones finger, sanding the surface where the pencil was applied, or using other materials like cloth, or solvents, or water to smooth the colors.


Pastels are another medium that many people may be familiar with from their school art classes. They are readily available at art stores and often included in beginner art sets. Pastels are created from two main ingredients, pigments (colors), and a binder. Depending on the binder used, pastels can have a range of hues and intensity of color. Oil pastels tend to be deeper in color, while soft pastels have less binder and more pigment resulting in brighter colors.

Pastels have been used in art since the early 17th century and are still in use by many artist today. Some pastel painters of note are Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.

Pen and Ink

In general terms, “pens” can include ballpoint, fountain, and markers. As you might have guessed within each of those are countless varieties. However one thing they do all share is the use of ink. As with other medium, ink contains the pigment resulting in a different color.

Every pen has different characteristics and is carefully chosen for the look it provides. From sharp thin lines to marks that “bleed” across the paper, artists employ pen and ink to achieve results that oils, pastels and other mediums cannot.