Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Charcoal study

Head study 1

I haven't drawn with charcoal for ages, so pulled some out last night along with a piece of newsprint and played around with a study for a portrait. Charcoal is so versatile and goes from loose to tight with ease, depending on how you use it and what type it is.

I'm one of those people who like getting dirty and prefer vine or willow charcoal, but also use charcoal pencils to add detail. I don't often use charcoal powder but sometimes tone the paper by putting down a layer of charcoal then blending it lightly with some kitchen towel or a tissue. I use tortillons for blending small areas if I need to, such as eyes or lips where I want smooth transitions of shadows.

I'm still not 100% happy with the likeness I have for this study so will tweak it some more - another reason I like charcoal - its so easy to manipulate with a kneaded eraser or to add more charcoal to deepen shadows.

12 comments:

Kaye at Kaye's Kreative Korner said...

It looks wonderful! I love reading your blog. I like that you share your sketches. It has inspired me to sketch more! Thank You, keep up the inspiring work!

Dors said...

Very nice Jeanette. wow this is on newsprint... Who needs expensive art paper. LOL.

Sonia said...

This is absolutely beautiful! Love it!

Jo Castillo said...

This is just great. You work so neatly with charcoal. I get it everywhere! Thanks for sharing this and the hints.

Rhonda Bartoe Tucker said...

It's nice to switch gears and media once in a while, right? Your charcoal pieces, this one in particular, are moody and soft. Love it.

Jennifer Rose said...

this is really nice :D the shadows of his face are wonderfully done. I always end up covered in charcoal dust lol

Jeanette said...

Thank you Kaye, there's nothing better than sketching to keep your mind and hand in sync.

Dors, I like the look of charcoal on newsprint. Yes, its not archivally sound, but it will last 20 or 30 years and will also yellow a bit with age, but that adds to the appeal. This isn't a piece that will be sold just a study, so its not important that its on acidfree paper.

Thanks Sonia, still some tweaking to do, then I'll use it for reference for a portrait.

Thanks Jo. I like charcoal and getting messy is part of the appeal too.

I like to play with different media Rhonda and while some charcoal pieces I've done are tight and controlled, I like to go loose sometimes too.

I may deepen some shadows and rearrange some things a bit Jennifer, but its heading in the right direction, nearly there. I get covered in charcoal too, its part of the fun!

Cathyann said...

Must be in the air... This is very well done, Jeanette. Charcoal is great for thinking things out as well as the excuse to get dirty!:-))

Lindsay said...

This sounds a little strange but your ear here is just beautiful...as is the whole drawing. I find ears especially challenging.

Jeanette said...

Thank you Cathyann, I love the feel of charcoal.

Lindsay, funny you should say that because I have done studies of just ears. They are wonderfully complex and full of curves. Great fun to draw.

Lindsay said...

I *hear8 ya ;>)

Katherine Thomas said...

Your approach to charcoal was the same as what I'm experiencing now. Great portrait!