about "smearing" (or "blending") graphite:
been a popular technique for ages, especially for "newbies."
I did it myself for a while, when I first started out. It's done
well only occasionally. Usually it just looks smeary, messy, and
over-rendered. It can be difficult (especially for newbies) to
get the graphite blended properly. Graphite is too much of "lightweight"
medium to take smearing well. A richer, more intense medium should
be used for such a blending technique, like charcoal or pastel.
too much smeared graphite artwork that screams "newbie."
I believe this is why many of my art teachers wouldn't allow students
to smear their pencil strokes. Even when an artist managed to
get the graphite blended smoothly enough, sometimes the portrait
lacked depth, and looked a little cold and flat.
I'm not going
to say that every example of smeared graphite artwork I've
seen has had a problem, (there are a some notable exceptions,
usually among more experienced artists). But the technique too
often has an awkward, over-rendered "newbie" look to
In my tutorials,
I sometimes work with a a modified, carefully-rendered crosshatch
stroke. When used on a smooth paper surface with small, delicate
strokes, the effect is a smoothly rendered (but not messy) portrait
with a lot of depth and detail.
the "Realistic Pencil Portrait"
to learn more about drawing detailed portraits with the crosshatching
technique. (Bear in mind, this is not even the most detailed or
"photo-realistic" example of pencil crosshatching!)