Drawing with silverpoint

silverpoint_750

A few weeks ago, a student of mine wanted to know what silverpoint was, the tool he had read that da Vinci used for drawing, back in the day before pencils. I was curious too, and read up on the subject online. I was able to find some jewellery silver thread in a drawer at home, and as if I had planned it, it fit perfectly into an old 0.7 mechanical pencil.

You get better results if you prime the paper with something like gesso or white gouache, and since gouache was what I had, I painted some onto a piece of watercolour paper. And lo and behold – it works! The thin thread is a bit scratchy to draw with, a thicker one would probably be smoother, but still, I was able to draw with this unlikely tool!

The only problem now is the lack of contrast in this technique. They say the lines will darken, with the oxidization of the metal that will occur over time. Not sure I have the patience to wait for that…

One Response to “Drawing with silverpoint”

  1. Corinne says:

    One of the professors at the community college I teach has included silverpoint as part of his drawing course for years. If interested take a look at the work of Barbara Hennig-Loomis she creates large silver point drawings on wood panels and on silver dinner plates and chargers.


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