Indirect Indenting involves the same creation of deep valleys or grooves in your paper that Direct Indenting does, but... it's applied through a cover sheet, such as tracing paper. That means you can either plan the positions first and then indent, or indent spontaneously and know exactly where each indent is as you apply additional ones.

This comprehensive video introduces you to Indirect Indenting, and explains why the method might not achieve the same pristine lines that Direct Indenting can produce. Because Mike no longer uses this method, the final section follows the use of Indirect Indenting by Master Artist JD Hillberry.


Don't be afraid to experiment with your drawing tools


Mike suggests you experiment as much as you can with your pencils, erasers, fixatives... and anything else related to your work.
Concerned about making indenting errors? Try Indirect Indenting to create white lines in pencil drawing

Worried about making errors?

If you're worried about incorrectly positioning an indent, or need to know where existing indents are before adding another - Indirect Indenting might be the solution. Learn how to create a perfectly positioned indent in your paper that your shading will skip over, leaving a white line.
An exercise in indirect indenting a pencil drawings

Try Indirect Indenting

Try this exercise to get a feel for Indirect Indenting. Mike walks you through the steps from applying the indents through tracing paper to applying progressively darker shading.
Planning indents before appying them to a pencil drawing

Planning your indents

Indirect Indenting permits you to pre-plan their positions before committing them to your paper. Mike demonstrates the steps involved and alerts you to one of the potential problems with the technique.
One potential Indirect Indenting problem explained.

Potential problems

Indirect Indenting can suffer from soft edges that collapse under shading. This is why Mike no longer uses the technique, but it can be a very useful method - especially if you need precise positioning.
Advantages of Indirect Indenting


There are situations where Indirect Indenting has definite benefits. One of those is the creation of intersecting lines. Fibres can easily be lifted by indenting on soft or coarse paper, but Indirect Indenting overcomes this problem.
Advice on when not to use indenting

Indenting or not...

Indenting has many practical uses but in some situations it is not suitable. Mike explains why his use of indenting for the veins in a leaf was not appropriate.
When to use indenting in a pencil drawing

Appropriate uses

Indirect, and Direct, Indenting produces a smooth mechanical line that can look false amongst hand-drawn lines. Mike explains the appropriate use of indenting.
Indirect indenting used by artist JD Hillberry

Indenting by JD Hillberry

Mike no longer uses Indirect Indenting but he knows an artist who does... See how master artist JD Hillberry used the technique to create a highly realistic leather bag.
Additional uses of indenting in a drawing

Next time...

Indenting Basics covered Direct indenting. You now know about Indirect indenting. And next time Mike will introduce you to the subtleties of Graphite Indenting.

Watch the 2-minute PREVIEW:

Indirect Indenting
Duration :
7½ mins
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Indirect indenting appears to offer much more control than indenting directly onto my paper. I'll definitely try this method.

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