LEFT FILL Horses in Art Magazine

Kim Ragsdale – The Challenge of Pencil

by Sarah H. Crampton

Eye to the Soul – Pencil drawing and cover art by Kim Ragsdale

Inspired by her immediate environment and the theater of everyday country life, Kim Ragsdale captures striking and soulful images in graphite. From the first to last stroke, her skilled pencil work is constructed with clear assurance and a passion for the physical act of drawing.

Ragsdale remarks, "I love the challenge of drawing a very complicated scene. I don't have color to bring my viewer into my work, so I need to use the high contrast between light and dark to show emotion. It is a striking way to get attention for the story I’m trying to convey."

This issue's cover image Eye to the Soul, depicting a quarter horse caught at sunset, is a work charged with energy and, like a watercolor, makes use of the white of the paper to create the convincing effect of natural light. A brilliant example of the medium of pencil, Ragsdale’s carefully chosen composition successfully produces an emotionally driven image, complete with a well-chosen title.

Ragsdale explains, "The strength and muscle structure of the horse is captured so well with pencil. I actually draw each individual hair. I don’t blend or smudge, so the underlying bone structure is captured with layers and layers of single pencil marks."

Beyond the Wire – Pencil, 20 x 28, by Kim Ragsdale. Artist Kim Ragsdale.

"I live on a 480-acre cattle ranch and tree farm in southern Oregon with my husband, Steve, and am the mother of six children," Ragsdale continues. "I have witnessed many moments I would like to capture, so I put those in a mental portfolio so I can retrieve the idea later." Her subjects are portrayed in their element, performing daily tasks. All her ultra-realistic black and white drawings are done using high quality graphite in various degrees of hardness. Ragsdale credits an excellent high school art teacher, a portrait artist, for helping to develop her current technique and explains, "I learned to draw what I see, not what I know is there."

In recent years Kim Ragsdale found she had a passion for sharing her techniques with others. She teaches art classes locally and also has been traveling around the country to teach three-day workshops on pencil techniques and marketing. Her goal is to be a national workshop instructor.

View Kim’s work in graphite at

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