Pencil Drawings

With drawings found on the walls of French and Spanish caves dating back 30,000 B.C., drawing is undoubtedly one of the most primitive forms of art. Since then the medium has undergone quite a transformation, both physically and creatively, but to this day, pencil drawing is one of the most popular forms of art and one which features a number of styles. Photorealistic details which trick the eye can be achieved through fine pencil drawings while line drawing can communicate more than what meets the eye on paper and what was once recognised primarily is a means of drafting out an outline for a greater project has become a veritable art form in its own right.…

Whether you’re already a lover of pencil drawings looking to add to your collection or simply curious and taking a glance into the world of pencil drawings for the first time, we at Rise Art are here to help you buy art online. We support emerging and mid-career artists and our aim is to allow collectors to discover, own and collect original art from around the world. We have a vast catalogue of pencil drawings and would be delighted to help guide you through the process of purchasing the piece that is perfect for you.

History of pencil drawings

The humble pencil used by draughtsmen the world over dates back to the 17th century when graphite pencils were introduced as a replacement for the metallic styluses which had been used for drawing by draftsmen of the Medieval and Renaissance periods. In 1795, modern pencil lead as we know it today was invented by French painter Nicolas-Jacques who combined graphite and clay and called it ‘Plumbago’. This new creation allowed artists to better control the density and shade of the graphite they used and the tool thus became more and more popular amongst painters, architects and designers.

By the 19th century, pencil drawings existed primarily as a means for artists to sketch preliminary compositions and studies for what would go on to become paintings and sculptures. The medium became increasingly versatile as other fine art pencils were introduced, such as charcoal, coloured, watercolour, crayon varieties and pencil drawings become a fine art form of their own. The tradition is continued to this day by many artists who combine pencil lead with other mediums for more dynamic drawings.

Styles and techniques of pencil drawings

Techniques in pencil drawing include hatching, crosshatching, blending shades together and scumbling – the technique whereby the artist moves the pencil along the surface of the work in tiny circular motions. Graphite lead is praised for its versatility: harder and darker leads produce fine lines which make for more detailed drawings, while soft and light lead offers excellent qualities for modelling and shading. These softer leads are usually associated with spontaneous and fluid lines, while artists who make darker pencil drawings often aim for sharp precision.

Artists often experiment with different types of pencil to produce charcoal, watercolour or coloured pencil drawings, while graphite lead is sometimes combined with other mediums such as pastels, watercolours and gouache in order to add flair to monochromatic images. Pencil drawing is a popular medium across a whole range of subjects and is often used in portraiture, still life and landscapes.

Famous pencil drawing artists

An artist renowned for his extraordinary pencil drawing abilities was the French Jean-Auguste Ingres who firmly believed that it was line, not colour, that conveyed the expressive content in an image.

But perhaps the most well-known among artists renowned for their pencil work is the infamous Pablo Picasso who was hailed for his ability to produce striking images using the most simple of line work. He drew topics including still life, portraits, mythology and animals – amongst whom perhaps the most recognisable was his own pet dachshund, Lump.

Contemporary pencil drawings artists

In our vast collection of art at Rise is a great deal of pencil drawings which are not to be missed. For incredible, lifelike pencil drawings which are so hyper-realistic that they are often mistaken for photographs, see the magnificent work of Rise Art favourite Kelvin Okafor. Kelvin’s fascination for drawing began when he was just 8 years old. His unique style which has been dubbed ‘emotional realism’ by Estelle Lovatt, an eminent art critic, quickly grabbed the attention of the art world and he has garnered a number of national awards and when you take a look you will see why.

If you’re seeking something which makes a statement, look no further than the pieces created by Abbi Torrance – an artist whose deceptively simple works pack a hidden, deeply political punch. While Torrance’s art may seem innocuous and straightforward at first glance each piece is really expressing something deeper. Graph paper backgrounds make a statement about how human being are increasingly seen as data, markets and demographics and each of her works raises questions surrounding free will and control. Her simple yet simultaneously deeply clever works issue a haunting commentary on life in a society where we are stripped of our autonomy and she demonstrates just how much of a statement can be made with a simple pencil stroke.

Finally, don’t miss Zoe Moss whose art ranges from traditional realist painting to works that focus on popular culture with a satirical edge. Her tongue in cheek pop-art style pencil drawings offer an insightful commentary on contemporary society and her pieces add a playful splash of colour to any interior.


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