About Carbon Dust

A carbon dust drawing is like a miniature, extremely detailed, charcoal drawing.  The dust is obtained by scraping carbon pencils on fine sand paper.  It is applied to a substrate of paper, clay, or mylar film with watercolor brushes.  The photo-realistic appearance of the drawing is achieved by brushing the dust to make smooth gradations from white to very dark gray.  White areas are recreated with a kneaded eraser, or cut in with a sharp blade as a final step.  Very dark details can be drawn with a sharp carbon pencil point, or even with ink, again as a final step. The process of drawing involves a constant struggle against the natural tendency of the dust to turn everything in the drawing to a medium gray.  Dark areas have to be continually deepened and high-lit areas recreated as the drawing progresses.  But this plasticity is also the great advantage of carbon dust – it allows almost infinite changes to be made during the course of the drawing, and it makes possible the smooth gradations that create the illusion of photographic reality.

Steps in drawing with carbon dust  on film

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