Embracing a New Canvas
We’re all familiar with the conventional practice of drawing on white paper using a dark medium. It’s the go-to method for most artists due to its comfort and intuitiveness. After all, there are countless shades of “white” paper available in the market. However, in this lesson, we’ll shed light on a paper that often goes unnoticed, and it just might revolutionize the way you approach drawing. Yes, we’re talking about black paper.
The Advantages of Black Paper
One of the key advantages of working with black paper is the high contrast it offers, primarily in terms of value. Value refers to the darkness or lightness of a color, and it holds immense significance in the world of art. When we juxtapose a dark value alongside a light value, we create a striking contrast. This contrast breathes life into our drawings and paintings. Black paper, with its deep blacks, allows lighter values to stand out, generating a visually captivating contrast. Conversely, if we were to work on white paper, achieving the same level of contrast and vibrancy would require copious amounts of dark materials.
Using black paper also enhances the perception of brighter colors. The stark contrast in value naturally makes the colors we apply to the surface appear more vibrant. While the actual brightness of the colors might not change, the contrast creates an illusion of amplified vibrancy. So, whenever you desire your colors to make a statement or truly pop, black paper becomes a favorable choice.
(Image above is from the course, “3 Little Birds with Colored Pencils”.)
Another advantage of black paper is the depth it lends to shadows. When working with traditional materials like graphite and charcoal on white paper, achieving the necessary darkness in shadowed areas can be challenging. Those deep, luscious shadows we encounter in reality often fall short when replicated on white paper. However, with black paper as our foundation, we already have a base for those richly dark shadows, making it effortless to capture the natural intensity and depth.
Lastly, working on black paper can potentially speed up the creative process. In any drawing or painting, it’s crucial to incorporate a full range of values. This often entails applying copious amounts of dark materials when working on white paper, which can be time-consuming. However, with black paper, we can achieve a complete-looking scene using less material on the surface.
Unlocking New Possibilities
Consider scenarios where our subject features minimal lighting or high contrast. In such instances, a minimal application of material on the surface suffices. The inverse, unfortunately, doesn’t hold true. When working on white paper, we still find ourselves needing to use abundant dark materials to recreate a similar illusion.
See also: All About Drawing Papers
By exploring the untapped potential of black paper, artists open themselves up to fresh perspectives and the opportunity to experiment with new techniques. So, why not step out of your comfort zone and give black paper a chance? It might just transform the way you bring your artistic visions to life.