Graphite, black pencil, Cretacolor negro and pan pastels on drafting film
One of the challenges I find working with graphite is achieving strong contrasts. I know a lot of artists combine charcoal and graphite very effectively in their artworks, but I find pure charcoal and even charcoal blends don't go well on the drafting film. I picked up a bundle of darker coloured drawing pencils from the artshop to have a bit of a play. Most must have contained predominantly charcoal, and basically scratched at the surface of the drafting film, but one - the Cretacolor Negro (we must have old stock, because I read the name has since been changed to Nero) works well on the drafting film. Apparently, it is charcoal based, but oils have been added making it much smoother than regular charcoal based pencils. I do use pure black pencils in my portraits sometimes, but then it can be a challenge blending the black with the graphite for a natural transition. In this portrait, Dom's hair was done entirely with the Cretacolor Negro, and you can blend it slightly with the tortillon as well. This pencil gives a softer black than a black pencil, which I was really happy with. The decoration in Raela's hair had no definition in the reference photo and was actually quite hard to pick out from the background, and for this I used a Faber Castell black pencil, followed by black Pan pastel for a smoother result. Always learning!!!!