Heightened Drawings

In my drawing for illustration class, we spent a couple class periods working on heightened drawings.

This is a technique where you use white charcoal pencils on dark paper, drawing either the highlights of an object or the negative space around the objects, using the tone of the paper as one of your values.

I have always loved this illustration technique, so I was happy to first learn how to do it in my Drawing Fundamentals class last semester.

I was even happier when I heard we were going to do more of this technique this semester.

The supplies necessary for this illustration technique are mi teintes paper (also known as pastel paper), which is a heavy weight paper with a rough texture, and


and white charcoal pencils. Black charcoal pencils can also be used to add some of the darkest values to extend your value range, or just make some of those edges pop off the page.

You can also do this technique with a variety of colored pastel pencils, which are very soft and easier to blend than colored pencils, but they aren’t oil-based like pastel sticks.

I adore this image, so I am looking forward to experimenting more with this technique in summer.

15 thoughts on “Heightened Drawings

  1. Wow! Amazing pieces of work Terri. I’ve never seen this technique before but you are very good at it. Also love the pic you have linked too.

  2. I remember using that technique in my Life Drawing class in college…. it’s a fun way to see things! I love your drawings, Terri! You’re doing so well in your classes!

    I liked that echinacea picture, too. Very pretty!

  3. I love all the texture in the black and white! I am a total sucker for anything black and white (especially charcoal!) and yours are just stunning 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend!!

  4. I am so excited to see what you are learning. Many years ago I wanted to learn how to do that kind of drawing. It always amazed me. Those pics of yours are just so wonderful. Good for you to learn all that you do.

  5. Hello Terri! All your drawinds are so good! That technic looks great – I haven’t tried with white to the black paper. I’m so happy for to be able to study different technics and materials!
    xxx Teje

  6. Very nice drawings! I can see why you adore the echinacea drawing with the pretty bright colors on the dark paper. I look forward to seeing your practice drawings.

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