Don Conroy demonstrates some techniques for drawing with pencil.

Don Conroy shows drawings created by some well known artists using chalk, charcoal and pencil. He also presents one of his pencil portraits a sketch of a snowy owl which he will use at a later date for paintings.

Pencil comes from penicillus which means little tail.

The old masters used charcoal and red chalk, while the pencil is a more recent invention. Don Conroy explains how graphite was discovered in Elizabethan times. Resembling a piece of coal graphite was found underneath a fallen tree. The Elizabethans were excited by how it could be used as a way of making marks. People would put chord around the graphite so that they could draw with it. During Napolean's time, a French inventor Nicolas-Jacques Conté came up with the idea of putting it into a casing which became the pencil.

Don Conroy, Paint For Fun (1987)
Don Conroy, Paint For Fun (1987)

Don Conroy demonstrates how to draw a portrait and explains the process and techniques involved. Pencils come in a variety of forms from soft to hard. He likes to use HB, 2B and 4B and shows different ways of using pencils to achieve a range of effects and shading. Shading gives a three-dimensional affect on two-dimensional paper.

For portraits, Don Conroy recommends beginning with a rough sketch. Finished drawings in pencil are often sprayed with a fixative so that they last. He suggest that viewers might think about carrying a sketchbook with them to practise drawing people when they are out and about.

Start seeing. We all look but very few of us see.

His advice is to start seeing and observing people and things rather than just looking. He says observation is the key to everything.

While many find a pencil difficult to work with, Don Conroy believes it is the best.

I find the pencil one of the best things to work with.

This episode of 'Paint For Fun' broadcast on 21 January 1987. The presenter is Don Conroy.

'Paint For Fun' was a ten minute programme broadcast each Friday and introduced by Ian Dempsey on Dempsey's Den. The programme features Don Conroy demonstrating the techniques of painting, cartoons and illustrations. The young viewers were encouraged to send in their work and it would be shown on screen.