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I’m going to make a new thread for #SpaceMom #CarrieFisher to illustrate the process of charcoal drawing. I haven’t done it in forever and I forgot how forgiving and wonderful it is. First step: very careful drawing, lots of ruler use, with harder (2B) charcoal pencil.
The next step is kind of terrifying. Block in big areas of shadow using soft willow charcoal sticks. It feels like I’m ruining my drawing. But relax. Everything in charcoal is fixable. Important thing is to set up the shading.
The next step is to take a very stiff hog-bristle brush to the charcoal, and brush and scumble it around. Lots of charcoal dust flies at this point. You can “paint” with the dust on the brush, bringing the charcoal into less shaded areas. Drawing is still there underneath.
The willow charcoal has blocked in the big areas of light and dark. Now I switch to a 6B (very soft) charcoal pencil. I’m adding darker touches on top of the blocking. Very light pressure because I don’t want these strokes to show later. Just adding darkness.
Again with the hog bristle brush. Abuse the brush, shoving it against the grain to push charcoal dust into every fiber of the paper. This is enough with the rough work. Now time to do dark detail.
The downside of charcoal being a forgiving medium is that not only *can* you go over the drawing many times, you kind of *have* to go over it many times if you want subtle shading. Darkest areas have 5 or 6 cycles of pencil & brush now. Oh god I’ve been avoiding the face.
(Fear is good. Fear means I can learn something. Or I can screw it up. Can’t do one without the potential of the other. Ok, let’s do some shading on the face. Gaaah.)
Before and after brushing & stumping. It looks smoother but muddier after. Sometimes you gotta break a few eggs, etc. I could keep messing with the darks but I’m ready for the next step. The magic of the eraser.
While I am plying my plastic and kneaded erasers, please enjoy the Barenaked Ladies singing “Eraser” from their most wonderful children’s music album, Snack Time.
Erasers are the greatest invention known to mankind. You have to understand, the last art class I took before this one was a watercolor painting class in 1997. With watercolor there is no erasing. With charcoal erasing=drawing.
Okay. Final drawing step. Because I’ve used a gray tone paper, I can now come back in with highlights of white Conté crayon. This step is magic for giving dimension. Like the dark charcoal, I have to be patient, building it up in layers.
I think I’m going to call it a night. I’m pleased as punch with myself. #CarrieFisher #SpaceMom #MissYou
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