Corn on the Cob on Strathmore Vellum Illustration Board

I’ve been experimenting with drawing on Strathmore Illustration Board, vellum, 500 series, and I’m intrigued.  Its promises lots and lots of drawing goodness like erase-ability and a surface as tough as nails. (Both excellent qualities for people who can never entirely make up their minds, like me.)

Ear of Corn - Graphite drawing on Strathmore Illustration Board.

“Abstract” ear of Corn drawn on Strathmore Illustration Board.

First of all, this isn’t supposed to be a drawing of anything. It’s just some shapes I drew on the board to play with. Although, I can see an ear of corn in it. I was raised in Indiana, though, so, given enough time, I can see an ear of corn in anything.

Second of all, I’m drawing this on an ATC sized piece of illustration board, which Strathmore sells in packs at a very reasonable price, so they are a great way to sample different types of paper. I think other brands do this too, so check them all if you’re in the mood to test paper.

Third of all, oh geez, I don’t really have a third thing. It’s just that the anticipation built by the first two “of alls” got to me. I tell you, post writing is filled with hazards when you’re as compulsive as I am. As I am. As. I. am.


I’ve discovered that the power of compulsion is great for drawing practice! That frenzied energy, if aimed accurately, gob smacks the paper with swirls, twirls, dots, dashes, patterns, gradations, line, form, space and character! There they are, the tools needed to practice drawing all rolled up in a personality trait that I always thought was a bad practical joke. But not now. Not now!!! I proudly accept my quirkiness as I scribble on any surface available. Additionally, it has the side affect of driving on-lookers nuts, which becomes more fun the older I get.

Back To Post Subject

Gradation on Strathmore illustration board.


I used Derwent wooden pencils, 4B through 9B, and three mechanical pencils with 2mm leads, 4H, 2H, and 4B to draw this. To get a feel for what I wanted to see, I filled in the shapes with value using a soft lead first (bottom kernel), then I erased the middles and gradated the edges (middle kernel).

I used the normal tactic of hatching hard leads over soft to blend, create a darker value, and smooth the texture.

Notice how the gradations make the shapes look domed. Ain’t that purdy? Form is the biggie for me. It’s what wakes me up and sends me to the drawing board to see what’s gonna happen next. Yep, simple little domed shapes smushed against each other get me all teary eyed.

abstract corn drawing finished

Corn – cooked.

My love of form keeps increasing as I age, and I wonder what will happen when I’m eighty. Will I slip away from my keepers, fulfilling my destiny to become a gorilla doodler as I fill entire walls with gradation morphing into form? Even more importantly, will it annoy people? I suspect it will annoy both my keepers and the owners of the walls, and I’m looking forward to that!



I'm from Indiana!

The Corn Cob

Ps: For those of you who didn’t grow up next to a cornfield, I’ve circled the ear of corn in blue.




About Carol

I’m an artist, an accidental author, and lover of life. I grew up in Yorktown, Indiana, and I’ve been writing (and drawing) this website since 1999.

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