Carbon dust

Carbon dust is an artistic technique in which carbon dust is applied to a prepared surface via dry brushes. Highlights may be painted on or scratched out later in the process. Dust is prepared by rubbing carbon pencils against an abrasive surface, such as a metal file. The technique was popularized by Max Brödel (1870-1941) and became widely used among medical and scientific illustrators in the twentieth century.

Carbon dust drawing:
Dust drawing is a clinical images suitable for textbooks from which medical students learn.

Pioneered in the early 1900s by Max Brödel, the father of modern medical illustration, the technique makes medical, gray-scale, tonal illustrations look like living tissue and it reproduced well in an era of only black and white printing.

Learning carbon dust drawing technique helps student understand shadow differently and is more aware of how light reflects from an object.

In an era of digital painting and illustrating tools, carbon dust drawing still teaches vital observational and representational skills.

Carbon dust drawing technique is a link with the history of medical and scientific illustration, and a foundation for the students as they advance to computer graphics and other forms of visual communication.

Carbon dust technique:
Using a sanding board, scrape Wolff’s carbon pencils into a container. The preliminary sketch should be carefully modeled, preferably done with Wolff B or Hb carbon pencils. Reinforce the transferred sketch by drawing with BB, B, or HB pencils.

Begin by using a large flat, filbert, or “mop” sable brush and carefully dip the brush into the prepared carbon dust. Lights can be brought back using a chamois cloth in the earlier stages of the drawing. Make sure the lights and darks are balanced properly. T

An application of an alcohol mist allows for the re-application of dust. This enables a further build up of rich, dark tones. Accent the darkest areas with lamp black watercolor using a brush or a crow quill pen.

Specular highlights are used in medical art to simulate the wet nature of living tissue. These can add dramatic effect to an otherwise sound drawing. Spray fix the drawing so that it will be protected from smudging.

Wolff’s Carbon Pencils, Sanding Block Pad,Pencil Sharpener, Photographer’s gloves, Tracing paper or Vellum for sketches and protecting drawing, Pantone Colormatch Color-aid paper Vellum surface Bristol board, Drafting Film, Erasers- Chamois Kneaded eraser Pink Pearl eraser Gum eraser Peel off magic rub vinyl eraser, India Ink Crow quill pen or technical pens White gouache, Workable fixative, White acrylic spray paint, Bard Parker Surgical Blade handle.