The smaller my subject, the more the texture of the paper under unblended layers of pencil affects the clarity of the details. This is why it’s so important to keep a sharp pencil for small subjects: it keeps that texture interference to a minimum. Here, however, where the wing feathers have been ruffled and there are filaments going in every direction possible, I’ve hit a sweet spot where I can let the paper’s texture create that look for me. I’ll still blend it in the end, but nowhere near as much as the goshawk’s smooth wing feathers.

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