Tutorial submitted on March 29, 2007
Circulism is a very interesting technique to create skin texture with pencil. With this great tutorial, learn how to acheive a realistic skin texture with circulism.
The colored pencil technique called circulism was invented in 1992 by Maggie Toole and i use it in all of my close up graphite portraits to try and achieve a realistic skin texture.
The idea behind circulism is that when shading you draw no lines at all - rather, the technique uses varied, unending, overlapped and intertwined circles, building transparent layers.
if used in the correct way the distant viewer's eye fuses these layers and circles into realistic shades of human flesh.
In fig. 1 you can see how i lay down the circles on the paper, it almost looks like scribble. the circles do not need to be at all perfect.
Fig. 2 is an example of how well this technique lets you gradually blend from light tones to darks tones without any hard lines
Once I am happy with each layer of circles i have laid down i blend (using the same circular method) with a q tip (ear bud) as you can see in Fig.3.
Artists often make the mistake of trying to acheive perfect shading for skin when in reality skin is flawed, Circulism acheives the same varied and imperfect characteristics of human skin and this is the reason it is a favoured technique for skin drawing.