How to Use Yasutomo's Silverpoint Drawing Tools
What is silverpoint?
Silverpoint is a centuries-old technique used by the likes of Leonardo DaVinci, Albrecht Dürer, Raphael and others in which silver is used to draw on a specially prepared surface, leaving traces of the metal to create one’s drawing. Silverpoint drawings tarnish over time, creating warmer tones.
For a deeper dive, this video gives a great in-depth look at silverpoint. In this video, artist Lori Escalera guides you through the history and best practices for making your own silverpoint piece. (Fun fact: Lori Escalera closely advised Yasutomo on the development of our Silverpoint Drawing Tools!)
What are the types of Yasutomo Silverpoint Drawing Tools?
- Tips are 99% silver for an authentic silverpoint drawing experience.
- Beveled tips allow for different stroke weights.
- Black wooden handles are shaped like bamboo to give these tools an elegant appearance and to fit comfortably in the hand for hours of drawing.
- Reusable wooden handle can be used over and over again. When the point is worn down, simply purchase a refill point in your desired size. The old point will unscrew from the handle and the new point can be screwed in like new.
How to use your Silverpoint Drawing Tool
Draw on gesso-prepared paper or Yasutomo Mineral Paper
While silverpoint is traditionally done on surfaces specially prepared with gesso, Yasutomo mineral paper is an excellent substrate for silverpoint that requires no special preparation!
Simply use your silverpoint tool directly on mineral paper to start drawing.
Added bonus: silverpoint marks can be erased from mineral paper!
To prepare a gesso surface, first apply an even coat of gesso to your desired substrate. Allow to dry completely. Once dried, use your silverpoint tool directly on the gesso to start drawing.
When using Yasutomo silverpoint drawing tools, press very lightly to avoid bending tips. Silver is by nature a soft metal, so it will bend easily. Try making very light marks on the paper first to get comfortable with your new silverpoint tool. If the tip of your tool does bend, simply use your fingers to bend the tip back to shape.
Go over marks repeatedly for a darker appearance
To make marks darker, simply draw over the same area multiple times until the desired depth of darkness is achieved. Pressing harder on the substrate will not result in a darker line but may instead warp your substrate or even bend or damage your silverpoint drawing tool.
When you have used your silverpoint to the end, keep your wooden handle and purchase a new refill point in your desired size. To replace your silverpoint tips, simply unscrew the old point from the handle and replace with your new one. You can even purchase a refill point in a different size to give you the option to switch between drawing tip sizes!