The Porcupine Skull drawing featured in the drawing gallery is an example of pencil on gesso technique.  Nina completed a number of pencil on gesso drawings in the early 1970s.


3 1/2" x 4 1/2".  Pencil on gesso.
“Porcupine Skull”. 3 1/2″ x 4 1/2″. Pencil on gesso.



“I learned this method of drawing from the sculptress Susan Smyly as taught to her by Sandy Concannon,her teacher at The Memphis Academy of Art.” -Nina







Nina Explains the Process

First you prepare a small gesso panel, sanded very smooth — no bubbles. With the object to be drawn in front of you and your gesso panel taped to a drawing board, you begin, using a 9H drawing pencil, a pink pearl eraser sharpened with a razor, and a playing card. The picture is slowly developed with straight lines and straight erasures. The eraser is used as a drawing tool, not as a tool to erase.  All pencil lines and eraser lines are done against the card.  Very slowly a very luminous image is developed, somewhat like a silverpoint drawing.

Click on the image below to view a very high resolution image of this drawing (file size: 1 MB).  Use your browser’s zoom feature to view details at the highest resolution.


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