I just read this post on Nathan Fowkes' blog posted by Hexokinase in the Critique Centre
and it brought up a problem that I've been having and I'm wondering if I could get some opinions or suggestions.
So at step four Mr. Fowkes writes:
Step 4: Work the halftones into the light. Wrap your strokes around the forms to help the illusion of 3-D. No mindless details! Make sure every tone you put down usefully describes the underlying form. I'm using my fingers alot in this particular drawing but technique is not nearly as important as getting the right value in the right place. Pencil strokes, tissues, blending stumps, bristle brushes, finger smudging and anything else you can think of can be useful techniques.
And then next comes this:
Final stage: Add highlights and refine the drawing (I'm using a kneaded eraser at this stage). Always compare highlights to each other to judge their relative brightness. For instance, a highlight on a clean shaven chin may look very bright in contrast to the dark shadows surrounding it but don't be fooled. It will almost never be as bright as highlights on the cheek and forehead. The values of light and shadow must always maintain proper relationships to each other. Ignore this and you'll end up with something like the image below.
Now here is my problem. After blending with stumps I often find it very difficult to remove sufficient amounts of the graphite with my kneaded eraser to achieve the desired brightness for some highlights. It seems that the stumps 'flatten' the 'tooth' of the paper (or illustration board) and the result of that is sort of a 'point of no return' or a layer of graphite that will not come up.
This is not an insurmountable problem, I mean I've learned to work with it (I think). I'm just wondering if there may be something I'm missing, since the venerable Mr. Fowkes makes no mention of this pitfall in his post. has this happened to anyone else? how did you overcome it?
P.S. I get the feeling that there are many out there that look down on blending (and the use of stumps in particular), However I would appreciate it if this did not devolve onto a debate on blending versus rendering with the pencil. If you encountered this problem and dealt with it by avoiding blending all together, that's perfectly valid and I'd like to hear about your experience. I'm just trying to avoid a "polarizing, rant filled, bulletin-board brew-ha-ha ", If you get my meaning.