creative research gallery and drawing center
a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization



Valerie Allen

Drawing Materials: Graphite

Instructed by Armin Mersmann

Saturdays, 2-5pm
October 6 – 27

Registration Deadline: October 3, 2018


Graphite is an extremely versatile medium, from the most gestural mark to photographic realism, the humble pencil can do it all. Relatively easy to learn and a lifetime to master, it can be very spontaneous. You don’t need a huge box of materials, just a pencil, eraser, and paper and you have all the tools to make a great work of art. Graphite drawing techniques are virtually endless; contour drawing, hatching and blending, any way that you choose to apply graphite to a surface will produce many types of results. Some great drawings take five minutes; others can take thousands of hours and everything in-between. This class is a great introduction to graphite drawing and to opening doors to possibilities that match your artistic language.

This class will cover the following topics:

  • A short history of the graphite pencil and exposure to the many varieties of pencil drawings
  • Contour drawings that have life and emotion through the use of expressive quality of line
  • Hatching and cross-hatching methods 
  • The many different forms and techniques of blending to achieve the hallmark of graphite drawing 
  • Subtractive and additive drawing techniques 
  • Exploration of the different densities of pencils as well as learning more about using just a single pencil with hand pressure control  
  • Discussing and experimenting with many different types of graphite pencil from woodless to mechanical 
  • Discovering how the selection of paper and other supports can make to affect the outcome 
  • How to develop a disciplined practice of graphite drawing to continue to master your craft after this class 


Tuition: $120

Class Size:
Minimum: 4
Maximum: 12

Materials List:

  • A set of good quality pencils, examples:  Derwent, Lyra, Faber-Castell, Caren d’Ache, Staedtler stay way from store brand, such as Dick Blick, etc. Pencil grades…4H, 2H, HB, B, 2B, 4B, 6B or if you buy a sent you get 8H to 8B
  • Kneaded eraser, Pink pearl eraser 
  • Hand held sharpeners
  • 12” and 36” metal ruler…36” optional  
  • Pad or sheets of paper, examples:   Strathmore 300, Dick Blick Drawing paper, Canson Student grade paper 11x14 or 9 x 12 if you want to draw very smooth get a pad of Bristol paper as well.
  • Blending stumps or Tortillions
  • Eraser Shield
  • Small case for supplies and portfolio case to carry paper (optional)


Level of Study: All levels are welcome! Drawing Materials is geared toward participants early in their drawing education. In this series, the materials of drawing will be explained and demonstrated step-by-step. Participants will have many opportunities to test out new techniques and tools, and receive feedback in a supportive classroom environment.

LOCATION: Unless otherwise specified, all courses are hosted at Manifest's Drawing Center Studios in Madisonville at 4905 Whetsel Avenue (second floor) (see map and direction links below). Manifest's studio facility provides two classrooms, a darkroom, and a processing room all totalling nearly 4000 square-feet. The studios are outfitted with professional equipment, furniture, and study aids.


Map to Studio    |   Studio Calendar    |   Darkroom Calendar


Armin Mersmann


Armin Mersmann




About the instructor:

Armin Mersmann was born in Remscheid, Germany, in 1955. Along with his parents, he immigrated to the United States in 1962. He grew up in an artistic environment and was greatly influenced and tutored by his father, Fritz, a successful oil painter. Mersmann feels his career as an artist was inevitable: “I never made the conscious choice to be an artist, it’s just what I did.” After six years of college, Mersmann began a very successful stint as an artist in Chicago, IL.

Mersmann, has taught the Art and Skill of Drawing, the Creative Process, iPhoneography and Advanced Critique at the American Academy of Art, Chicago, IL; the Colorado Academy of Art, Boulder CO; Northwood University, Midland, MI; the Midland Center for the Arts, Midland, MI; and countless workshops within the United States. Mersmann was the Senior Visual Arts Curator and Artist in Residence at Midland Center for the Arts for twenty-one years. He is now one of the Manifest Artists in Residence in Cincinnati, OH.

Further information on Armin and his work can be found at:


Manifest's 15th season is funded in part by a grant from the Robert H. Reakirt Foundation, PNC Bank, Trustee. This season's programming is also supported by an impact grant from ArtsWave, by a sustainability grant from the Ohio Arts Council, and through the generous contributions of individual supporters who care deeply about the visual arts.

gallery hours:

tues-fri noon-7pm, sat noon-5pm
(or by special appointment)

closed Sun and Mon

Contribute to our Annual Fund



gallery map
2727 woodburn avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45206

drawing center map
4905 whetsel avenue
cincinnati, ohio 45227



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