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Posted 26 March 2010 by Hannah

Henry Moore is very famous for his sculptures, but regular readers will know that he also made sketches in the London Underground during World War II, when the tube stations were used as bomb shelters.

But how did he achieve the spooky effect of the figures rising out of the darkness?

With wax crayons from Woolworth’s and watercolour paint!

Moore says:

“I hit upon this technique by accident, sometime before the war when doing a drawing to amuse a young niece of mine.  I used some of the cheap wax crayons (which she had bought from Woolworth’s) in combination with a wash of water-colour, and found, of course, that the water-colour did not ‘take’ on the wax, but only on the background.

I found also that if you use a light-coloured or even white wax crayon, then a dark depth of background can easily be produced by painting with dark water-colour over the whole sheet of paper. ”

Letter to E.D. Averill, 11 December 1964

Woman Seated in the Underground, 1941Can you see where Moore has used light-coloured crayon and dark watercolours to create the ghostly figure of Woman Seated in the Underground (1941)? The ink flows over the wax and soaks into the paper around it, leaving the light colours behind.

Why not try it yourself?

© The Henry Moore Foundation. This image must not be reproduced or altered without prior consent from the Henry Moore Foundation.

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  1. Julia says:

    cool teqnique. I am gonna try for myself cause I got a hw from my art teacher. I wonder how Henry Moore made this, but I guess I will do it, using some ideas.

  2. Fueplelob says:

    Hi !!! Good job!

  3. marmgenny says:

    Magnificent phrase
    mein blog

  4. Williams Sonoma says:

    Assisted me a lot, just what I was looking for : D.

  5. modalone says:

    it can’t be true!!!

  6. Rasheeda says:

    This is a really cool type of art and I honestly think that to be able to find out how someone sketches and how they come up with these ideas really helps us understand the artist and the theme. This really helped with my sisters homework.

  7. Simran says:

    This helped me with my homework

  8. SIMRAN says:

    This is crazy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Simran says:


  10. Simran S says:

    this is crazy

  11. Simran S says:

    and it still helped me with my homework

  12. isobel says:

    any info on hands ?

    I know he drew hands for a fact !

  13. Simran S says:

    I go to Derby College and this soooo helped with my homework its crazy so crazy im stupid

  14. Haytham says:

    Thank you this really helped me with my homework keep it up and try and giving us another one of Henry Moore’s