For my most recent project I've been drawing on Dura-Lar. It was suggested by another artist who has had excellent results with the stuff.
I'm using the .005 matte film. Like with the vellum I used for previous projects, I drew my lines on one side and am building up values on the other. I like doing this because I can preserve my lines while adding values, and then obliterate the lines if and when I choose. It gives me more freedom to experiment with values.
This particular piece has a foggy setting so I've been doing a lot of smearing and blending.
First I sprinkled the graphite dust from the Staedtler lead pointer (#1) onto the surface. (I figure the dust is there from sharpening my leads so why not use it for something fun).
Then I smeared it around with a paper towel (#2). This brand of towel has some texture so the smearing gave me interesting stripes and streaks. Totally a "happy accident". I also have been using the blending stump (#4) to move the graphite around.
#3 in the image is a B 2mm lead in a lead holder. I used that and an HB 2mm lead to do the line work.
#5 is an HB graphite stick. I hadn't been using it because on the paper I draw on this graphite stick leaves a light mark and I feel like I have to fight with it to build up values. For some reason I decided to give it a shot on the film and was pleasantly surprised by the lovely mid-value tone it left. I've sanded this one down to a chisel tip which is now rounded out from use.
#6 is a Creatacolor Nero etrasoft pencil. I'm using it for the deep accents of dark.
#7 is a General's Layout Extra Black No. 555. I'm using it for enhancing some of the darker values.
I've also tried the Derwent Drawing Ivory Black pencil. It leaves a lovely rich black on the Dura-Lar but the mark looks matte. The other tools leave shiny marks. I'll decide if I like that or not later. It not, I'll need to figure out how to make it look matte.
#8 is my well used nubbin of a kneaded eraser. I've also been using vinyl erasers. The other quality I'm liking about the Dura-Lar is that I can erase repeatedly and I haven't damaged the surface or creased the sheet.
Because of it's durability, I suspect if I create a real dud of a picture, I'm betting I could wipe it down and use it as a starting point for a new picture. That would be an interesting experiment.
I'm not saying this polyester film is the best thing ever. There are a lot of characteristics I'm liking such as that lovely surface that feels like I'm drawing on satin, and there are some things I'm not sure about because I don't have enough information (the environmental aspects of polyester vs. paper). You can make up your own mind. Here's a link to the Dura-Lar product page http://www.grafixarts.com/products/dura-lar-film/. I purchased my pad from Wet Paint over in St. Paul.