24 Styles: PENCILS

pencil & colour | pencil crayon | pure pencil | tinted 


‘Hand drawn styles’ are great for pictures that tell a story or convey information. If there’s some leeway for a bit of artistry, versatile pencils add interest.

Pencil & Colour is great for the more serious, real-life stories with a bit of drama.

Pure Pencil  is good to use for monochrome books with cheaper paper due to budget constraints. But fine pen lines (Simple Style under MINIMALIST) also work.

Pencil Crayon: always popular, and if necessary, can be bolstered with a thin pen line for impact.

Tinted Lines is a fun way to add a new, contemporary dimension to plain pencil drawings or even Indian ink brush strokes. 




pencil & colour

Pencil & Colour is well-suited to gritty , emotional stories.

Pencil & colour can be fairly realistic. It also lends itself to more serious stories, as you can see in the samples.

Sometimes the budget allows one to add colour. For the story about the street children, the client alternated black and white pages with colour pages. The b/w pages can be seen under Pure Pencil. The beauty of a pencil drawing is not lost by adding colour. Kokis and a bit of pencil crayon add their distinctive mood using strokes and dramatic contrast.

Where pencil drawings have had koki’s added to them, it’s a traditional way of drawing, not computer-based. This is a very different process to the one used for Tinted Strokes, although some of those subjects can also be a bit dark. Sweeping or radiating pencil strokes in the background can bring movement, drama, and emotion. And all this just from the pressure or direction of the pencil. So for emotional stories, Pencil & Colour is a reliable tool. Colour adds an extra dimension, either with bright colours showing contrasting situations (shopkeeper and street child), or adding to the subdued mood. (AIDS orphan)



pencil crayon

Pencil crayon is a happy remnant from long ago.

It was so frustrating, though – the colours were just not vivid or dark enough! Computers are better. Once I tried an adult colouring-in project which was such fun. Even though I do something similar every day, it relaxed me completely. If you do try it, make sure you have decent pencil crayons. Even if they cost a little more. Even much more.

As an illustration style, it can be hard work, but always very rewarding to do. When there are deadlines and time is marching, it’s not quite as relaxing. But still enjoyable… dangerously so.

Clients whose work is shown here, include Via Afrika and Shuter & Shooter.



pure pencil

Pure pencil is a useful, realistic style for newly literate readers.

Pure Pencil is a beautiful and expressive style to use for black-and-white printing, especially with a tight budget.

The first three drawings above, ( leaves, fruit, lion) were for visual education textbooks in Mozambique.

The two women come from a story on woman abuse (see also tinted strokes). The street-children are part of the same story featured under pencil & colour for Shuters. These shown here were intended for the b/w pages.

The drawing of the young man with wet hair was done purely for the love of drawing, and to explore the ‘scribbly’ style of shading, which I discovered, became water drops without even really trying. A serendipitous moment.

Pure Pencil is also the star of the entire show throughout my drawing courses still in development. We’ll explore the many possibilities of pencil drawing, step by step.

Everything in the studio here (except the paper sculptures which are cut free-hand) starts with a pencil drawing or even just a pencil sketch. It seems to give birth to everything else, to complex airbrush pictures for example. Then it fades off into the background, its work done until it’s needed again. Except when it becomes a star in its own right.

And… no, the computer can never properly imitate a pencil drawing. I’ve tried.

Clients whose work appears here include Longman Mozambique; Jan de Groot (portrait, private commission), and  Shuters. Finally – an exploratory character drawing of Scribble, a mutant squirrel who’s the hero of my screenplay, Mutants at The Mall, still in development.


tinted lines

Tinted Lines – a pencil provides more texture to realistic drawing.

This style is also a brilliant way of adding life, fun and colour to ordinary pencil, brush or pen strokes.

So, using this technique,  old pencil drawings have acquired a second life and are now on sale on Society6. Check them out if you like.