Charcoal Life Drawings

I’ve been trying out working in charcoal during the last month. In the continued spirit of full exposure , here are my efforts of the last few weeks. As ever in chronological order and unedited.

001 Working from a Midtone

This involves laying an even midtone grey all over, then working ‘up’ to the lightest vales with a rubber and down into the shadows with more charcoal. As ever my drawing group started out with short poses, 5 x 2 minute poses

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I found these really tough, just trying to get to grip with removing charcoal with an putty rubber, how charcoal works and poof 2 minutes have gone. And even as the poses lengthened to 5 minutes (below), I still felt like I was floundering. I had to remind myself that it was fine if  didn’t get close to ‘finishing’ a pose, I was just trying out a new medium for the first time.

 

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And as I got to the 10 minute poses, I started to feel more relaxed. I’d also figured out that working from a gentler midtone grey helped.

First of the 10 minute poses. Working from a lighter midtone grey.
And second 10 minute pose.

And by the time we got to the 15 minute poses, I was enjoying working with charcoal – trying out different marks and starting to get a feel for things.

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And my penultimate drawing someone very kindly mentioned it reminded them of ‘Naked Man, Back View’ by Lucian Freud.

Penultimate pose of the session

And by the last pose another, 15-20 minute pose, I was definitely feeling frazzled. I felt like I was having a real fight with this pose.

Last pose of the session

002 Gesture Practice

I’ve been finding out more about ‘gesture lines’ in life drawing. The big movement that characterises a pose. An almost instinctive feeling for how a body occupies space. Apparently a great exercise for getting a feel of this is drawing from 30 second poses by a model.

Lacking my own model, I improvised with an old Evening Standard magazine. As I turned each page, without picking and choosing, I tried to draw the gesture line for each figure I encountered.

<Pictures coming soon>

 

003 More charcoal

Trying out these gesture lines with a living, breathing model. Starting out with short poses, 5 x 2 minutes and 3 x 5 minutes.

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Then on to the 10 minute poses, I really enjoyed this first one.

But then, I think inspired by the big sweep of charcoal on the right in the sketch above, I decided to switch to working from a mid tone ground. I learnt, switching approaches mid-session is not the best idea. My brain just couldn’t find it’s way into this, as witnessed below …

So with the remaining longer poses, I stuck to exploring the gesture approach, the groove my brain was already following

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And finishing with a figure, complete with head and face! (Another battle I’ve been having lately)

 

 

004 More Charcoal – a man.

 

Another life drawing session, poses starting with 2 minutes, and increasing through the session up to 10 minutes. Still a pretty quick pose

 

<Pictures to come>

 

005 More Charcoal – a woman
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