View Full Version : Playing with pencils

05-30-2013, 02:11 PM
I've come back to aeroplanes after a brief foray into portraits and Sci-fi related drawings. I'm still sticking with the pencils for now....

The JP is a T5a from 6FTS at RAF Finningley. Pencil on Bristol Board, 16 x 12 inches (A3). 6 hours start to finish.


The Hurricane is LF363 of the BBMF. Same size as the JP and a similar time to complete.


05-31-2013, 07:33 AM
the JP is superb !!

05-31-2013, 07:47 AM
My photography skills let them both down... Tornado F3 on the way :D

05-31-2013, 08:50 AM
Two lovely pencil drawings, not sure about the tailplane on the Provost though, I feel it should be swung clockwise a few degrees. If you lay a straight edge between both points where the wings enter the tip tanks, and another along the elevator hinge, the lines should converge in the distance.
Might be your camera skills as you say, or an illusion caused by the dihedral

05-31-2013, 10:30 AM
Vega - you could be right... there's something amiss there. I shall check my references and amend as required..

edit: Its just dihedral rather than my photography. Its a peculiarity with the T5 which I hadn't noticed - it looks bent in certain angles..

Anyway, have a Tornado F3 from 23 Sqn, RAF Leeming.


05-31-2013, 11:08 AM
Good sketches John .
I'm with Jim on the JP tailplane though . You may find that the reference photo (if used )was shot with a telephoto lens which distorts the perspective somewhat . A regular trap for we aviation artists. The lines through the tip tank points and the centreline of the tailplane should converge at a distance .

05-31-2013, 12:40 PM
Some great looking sketches, John. The first is my favorite.

05-31-2013, 01:15 PM
Regarding the perspective on the JP.... well spotted Jim and Neil. Ah well, that's one for the bin then.... :o

05-31-2013, 01:58 PM
Too good for the bin, Try a rubber or a piece of bread like I used to use when I was a kid and had no eraser. Either that or Brass it out.

05-31-2013, 02:57 PM
Yeah - too good to bin .

05-31-2013, 06:16 PM
Its already been sealed with fixative... not to worry - more in the pipeline. :D

Chas McHugh
06-01-2013, 02:00 AM
Don't be disheartened about the perspective issue:

We have all been there!

My big learning point with pencil drawings is how good an effect you can get using a Q-tip cotton bud to blend the work and erase stroke lines. I also use fixative from a bottle with a paint brush to set aside layers. A grip pencil eraser is another useful tool. None of which are ever taught in art classes at school.

06-01-2013, 12:16 PM

Its still a work in progress (not sealed yet!) and is to represent the Hawker Hurricane of Sqn Ldr Francis Blackadder of 607 Sqn, RAF Usworth. I am undecided whether to put in a background - it would be Penshaw hill (with monument) which would tie it to Usworth...

There are still a few tonal changes to make to the hurricane yet, but I need to look at it for a while before making them...

06-01-2013, 12:25 PM
That's a beauty you have going there, John.

06-01-2013, 01:12 PM
Good stuff! I don't have any desire to pick up a pencil, like I used to do, but no doubt drawing is where it all begins! I can only imagine what the OP would be capable of with a paint brush or stick. :clap:

06-01-2013, 02:33 PM
You've captured the Hurricane really well . I love the rugged look of this machine .

06-01-2013, 03:09 PM
Thevaliantx - This should answer your question...


This is an old one. I started in oils - pencil is a new thing for me. I've been drawing aircraft with pencils for a week.... Normally I'll do a construct of an oil painting very roughly - more notations than drawings. I've never really tried to do a proper pencil drawing until a couple of months ago when I took the plunge and spent 20 on a drawing pad! (Bristol board). Two days ago I discovered cotton buds and blu-tack as drawing tools, so I'm learning quickly.

Thanks to those here, I've been reminded that reference photos are sometimes flawed.........

Here's an oil painting showing my process.... . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pueb9-sZWk

06-17-2013, 05:25 PM
I work in colored pencils all the time, there is a whole forum on them. The best way to use them is to make tiny circular strokes that overlap and fill. Keep your pencils sharp so they get in the grooves of the paper. I am currently working on a stearman. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/17-Jun-2013/191329-wipbiplane.jpg

the left upper wing is out of perspective and I have hence fixed it. I have done the canvas under the plane and the tire. Then I am on to finish the wing supports and tire supports and then the background and it will be one.. but I thought you would like to see something in colored pencil.

06-17-2013, 05:54 PM
Thanks clydeine - looks like good clean colours neatly applied .Always heartening to know that such a high degree of realism can be achieved with colour pencil.

06-17-2013, 07:35 PM
Very cool pencil work, clydeine.

06-18-2013, 12:02 AM
Well thank you.. I am doing this for my husband because he used to fly these when he was in his teens for his dad's business.

06-18-2013, 07:22 PM
John, your Hurri and pilot look really good. Not sure you need to put a background in on this. I think it is the best pencil sketch you have here. My only comment is that the pilot looks a little small in relation to the machine. Otherwise, it's a beaut!

06-19-2013, 01:38 PM
Shamrock - thanks. The fellah I had pose for the photo was 5ft 8, so a little on the short side... :lol: There is no background, and hopefully the original will feature in the 607 Squadron memorial at RAF Usworth (North East Land Sea and Air Museum) fairly soon.

clydeine - awesome work. I can't make coloured pencils do what you make them do..

06-19-2013, 04:22 PM
I'd say your pencil work is tremendous for just picking it up!! My only comment at this point is "push the contrast" - create some real darks next to those highlights - will make the objects "pop" - keep up the great work!!

08-04-2013, 07:04 PM
Its been a while... but I've been busy. In between drawing trains and bridges, I've just done these 3. Apologies for the utterly crap photography - the contrasts are actually a bit better on paper than they are here. I've had to loose quite a bit of resolution to get them to upload...

Piper Tomahawk

Piper Warrior III

Robinson R22

08-05-2013, 07:45 PM
Last one for a little while. North American T6 Harvard
Pencil on Bristol board, A3
10 hours.


08-05-2013, 09:22 PM
Great job with these! I especially like the T6. The perspective is interesting, and the little touches like the left landing gear which looks like hasn't quite retracted all the way give the plane character and make it seem real.

08-08-2013, 10:51 PM
Those pencil drawings look super.

08-13-2013, 07:21 AM
Your pencil work is top class John. I wouldn't be too concerned about the Provost it's a fine piece of work regardless of perspective issues and will look great in a frame.
Love the new Hurricane drawing. If it was me I would consider adding a portrait of Sqn Ldr Francis Blackadder along with Penshaw hill. Keep up the good work mate.



08-26-2013, 01:42 PM

Cessna 152


747-400 (bad photo - the contrast is actually a bit better)


08-26-2013, 06:43 PM
My favorite is the little Cessna. I remember learning to fly in one of those 47 years ago. Nice group of drawings, John.