Drawing Basics: Graphite and Charcoal in the Form of Oil Paint?

Occhuzzie Paint Company, a small manufacturer based in Charlotte, North Carolina, unveiled two new pigments at the Savannah College of Art & Design's Art Materials Show, held at the beginning of October. One featured ground graphite suspended in linseed oil, and the other featured ground charcoal in linseed oil. The graphite "paint" has an ever-so-slight sheen that betrays its roots, and the charcoal has the rich blackness one would expect. Lance Main, the founder of Occhuzzie, says he had underdrawings (underpaintings?) for figure drawings in mind when he came up with these two paints. The logic seems sound: Use charcoal or graphite that is already infused with linseed oil so the underdrawing is of the same material as the color portion of the painting.

Occhuzzie graphite ink for drawingOcchuzzie's paints seem well equipped to create excellent grisaille underpaintings, but how do they interact with mixing whites or titanium white? I'm sharing the samples Main gave me with some artist-friends to see what they think. Regardless of whether these two paints take off, Main is on to something. His handmade colors are gaining the respect of top-level artists. For more information, visit Occhuzzie's website at www.occhuzziepaintcompany.com. And check back here and in the pages of Drawing mag to see the results of artists' tests on these materials.

An interesting question is whether these two products are drawing media at all. The fact that they are made from traditional drawing materials isn't enough. Is drawing all about line? Certainly not; tonal drawings are an important part of draftsmanship's history. Must a drawing be on paper?  There are plenty of examples to the contrary.  What do you think?

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Bob Bahr

About Bob Bahr

Hi. I'm the managing editor of American Artist, Watercolor, Drawing, and Workshop magazines. Drawing magazine is primarily my responsibility so I spend a lot of time looking at drawings, talking with draftsmen, and drawing ... but I love to paint, too.