Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Start of a New Series

It's just one so far but hopefully the first of many to come.  I've decided to start a series of small charcoal drawings for a couple reasons.  First, to develop my skills with the medium.  Charcoal is a relatively new medium for me but one I'm finding to be possibly a very good match for my temperament and for what I want to express and how I want to express it.  At least for now charcoal is my primary medium and I think doing a series of small studies of various subjects will help me develop my skills with the medium a bit more efficiently than tackling nothing but big projects.  Second, to test different materials, primarily paper.  Possibly the most difficult thing, I'm running into materials wise is finding the ideal surface to work on.  Charcoal is coarse grained so it needs enough tooth in the paper to hold those particles but I also enjoy detail, especially on vehicles which is hard to get on toothy paper, the studies will hopefully help me to find a paper that is a happy medium.  Without further delay here is my first study in this new series;

art drawing charcoal nature evergreen tree forest mountain

"Nature Study No 1"

7" X 5", charcoal on paper

This small drawing is based on a photo I took during one of my many hikes in the Wasatch Mountains.  This is actually just a small part of the photo and it is very simplified compared to the photo.  I also changed the value pattern somewhat compared to the photo.  There were some very bright spots in the background, I subdued them.  I also darkened the tree trunk some near the top so that column of light tone doesn't take you eye right out of the picture.  I used mostly a reductive technique.  Reductive means I applied a base of charcoal to an area and then removed charcoal to create the light areas.  Larger light toned areas such as the tree trunk were kept light from the start. I used a kneaded eraser, poster tack and a Tuff Stuff vinyl eraser cut to a chisel point to remove charcoal. The paper is Arches 140 lb hot pressed watercolor paper. I think this paper is about as toothy as I'd want to use, but I might try some that are more textured just for experimentation.


  1. Charcoal is a medium I never use...just too messy for me. Looks like you are nailing it. This is great!!!

    1. Thanks Joan. I just use charcoal pencils for small drawings, no mess at all really.