Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1st entry for Mar 27, 2011

On the Sunday, B-   was working, and these are 1-minute studies of his trademark very athletic gesture poses. These are done with charcoal on 18 x 24" cartridge paper.

This drawing session marks the start of anew chapter of sorts of material investigation. A couple of days earlier, Jason, one of the other life drawers was using a compressed charcoal stick in the same `woodless pencil' format that the 8B and 9B graphites I have been exploring come in.

I like a lot of things about the graphite sticks, and after a few months using them, I am achieving a degree of control I can live with.  But one thing they lack is the intensity of blackness that a charcoal or Conte crayon affords. It's not that drawings have to have really black marks within them, but I rather like when they do. Unfortunately, I find my earlier preferred Conte crayon gives too coarse-grained a mark on non-newsprint surfaces for my tastes, and tends to scratch up the Japanese papers I like. Graphite has the `grain' I like, and is kind to the fibres of Japanese paper, but is still a little short on the `oomph' of carbon particles.

I thought the woodless charcoal that Jason was using might potentially be an acceptable alternative. It felt less `waxy' than Conte crayon, and therefore might not `cake up' on the tops of the paper fibres as Conte is apt to do on stiffer papers.
The Prang woodless charcoal pencils I picked up had three grades- Soft, Medium and Hard. I started testing them out this night. Sharpening them is a much messier affair. With Conte sticks I had worked out a grip on them that sharpened the stick as I was shading with them, which meant no extra sharpening was needed. The charcoal, like graphite, I tend to blunt while working, so periodic sanding is needed to maintain the right shape, which is a messy process.

These gesture sketches aren't that different from my graphite ones, just a bit bolder in value.

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