Graphite Pencil

The Graphite Pencil project, by jbEbert, give an excellent overview of using graphite on enamel. It is especially good for illustrators as it goes over using various pencil numbers for shading. Of course, graphite can also be used as an outline for any type of image. This webpage provides other variations not listed in the book.


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plate - Alejandra Salina PerezDeliberate OverFiring of Graphite

Wow, this plate blew me away because all the conventional wisdom in firing graphite pencil on enamel is to be sure not to overfire it. But Alejandra Salinas Pérez does just that.

Alejandra draws with both 4b and 6b pencils in this repetitive design, then fires at 1500°F until the temp gets to about 1510°F (with constant checking). She sometimes does this process a bit higher, but never more than 1520°F and she believes that the 4b pencil fades first.

See Alejandra's other artwork on her site or email her directly.

Graphite Directly on Copper

The book project teaches drawing graphite on an opaque enamel. But Rebekah Laskin also knows how you can use it directly on copper. In either case, a "tooth" has to be put onto the surface. Thus, when drawing directly on copper, sand the copper first with 220-320 grit sandpaper. Then just draw!

In general, graphite that is overfired will start to burn out so jbEbert fires at a low temperature. However, when drawing directly on copper, Rebekah sifts transparent enamel, using a 100 mesh sifter, over the graphite and fires normally for a first transparent coat on copper - that is, fires long enough to ensure the oxides in the copper are pulled into the solution of the enamel and the enamel color is cleared of any red or black firescale. After this firing, though, Rebeckah uses a sugar coat on each layer to keep her design crisp.

sample   subtle use
Sample to show graphite directly on copper   This fiinished piece shows a subtle use of the graphite, directly on copper by Rebekah Laskin