Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I got in for a portion of the Friday night session. S- was working that night. I had taken advantage of a sale on Maidstone paper at the close of December. During this week I had been playing with some of it, testing different combinations of materials and shading.
I started experimenting with moving away in earnest from drawing on newsprint about a year ago. Back then, I spent a few months using soft graphite before ultimately gravitating to quite hard compressed charcoals. Graphite tends to a slightly lighter value on the dark end, but can have quite a rich value range, all the same.
The top study is a small one, done with 4B graphite on a 22 x 30" sheet of 90 lb. Maidstone paper.
The standing figure is a 15-minute study with an additional 10 minutes of supplementary shading, done with a hard U-art compressed charcoal on a 21 x 29" sheet of Strathmore paper.
The third one down is hard Nobel charcoal on a 22 x 30" sheet of Maidstone paper, with an additional 15 minutes of supplementary shading, and the lowest one is a 4B graphite on 22 x 30" Maidstone.
I believe that it takes a while working with any combination of paper and materials to work out how to best exploit it. I'm starting to feel more at home on the Maidstone paper. One thing I am finding, though, is that many material are just on one side or the other of ideal. Hard Nobel charcoal is just a bit too hard, while hard U-art charcoal is a little softer than ideal. Graphite is almost right, but not quite dark enough.
I keep hoping I'll find the `just right' material, but in case that's a chimera, some combination of a couple of materials may be the best for me.
Monday, January 30, 2012
These are three 20-minute studies of C- , and a 15-minute one at the bottom. All are on sheets of 90 lb Maidstone paper.
The top two are on 11 x 22" half-sheets, while the lower two are on 22 x 30" sheets.
The top one is done with soft graphite, and the one below with hard compressed charcoal. both half-sheets are very lightly toned with charcoal powder. The smaller surface area made me inclined to try more close croppings of the figure.
The third one is just hard compressed charcoal, and the lowest one is the same charcoal with a more pronounced charcoal underlayer.
At this point it has been striking me what a difference a very small amount of surface tone makes to the character of the drawing. Even a small dusting away from white really registers as a markedly darker final image.
On the Tuesday I was over at Artists 25. C- was working there as well. These are a 2-minute, a 5-minute and a 10-minute study, done using hard compressed charcoal on 18 x 24 sheets, of bond paper at top, and Canson Sketch paper on the two below.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
This was a 2 and 1/2 hour study L- , using hard compressed charcoal on 22 x 30" 90 lb Maidstone paper.
I did a bit of light brushing of the tonal areas afterwards, to settle some of the surface texture, without totally losing it.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
On the Sunday, I went the TSA to do some sketching during the day. L- was working. On an oversight, I forgot to pack my little box of various charcoals. I had some of the rectangular `super black' charcoal with me, so I started with that. The top image is a 10-minute study, using that on 18 x 24 Canson Sketch paper.
I observed that I was lacking materials, and one of the other drawers loaned me a stick of Conte compressed charcoal, from an old box she had. The lower two are 15-minute studies on sheets of the same paper, using the Conte charcoal. I liked the texture of it quite a bit- it wasn't a deep black, and had a hard but creamy texture like a cross between General's charcoal and Nupastel. I was intrigued enough that I sought some more for myself.
I was a bit disappointed when I took out some of the new Conte charcoal. The texture was more waxy, the pigment blacker, and the sticks far more brittle than the one from Sang's much older box. It reinforced my sense that Conte's quality has materially changed in the last few years, and not for the better. Too bad, as they were a `gold-standard' art material company for decades. But now package redesign seems to be getting more emphasis than content. I'd be happy with vintage packaging, if I could depend on what's inside to perform really well.
To be fair, it is possible that time alters the nature of their charcoal binder, and my new stuff may come round to behave like the older stick in 10 years, but I doubt it, somehow.
Friday, January 27, 2012
These are two 15-minute studies above, and a 20-minute one below.
The top one is on 20 x 21" Strathmore paper, the middle on 18 x 24" Canson Sketch paper, and the lower one on 22 x 30" 90 lb Maidstone paper.
All are done using hard compressed Nobel charcoal.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
On the Tuesday night I checked out the monthly more erotic-themed Keyhole Sessions session. They were working with a black-and-white costume theme that evening. I tried out a material I hadn't used before, Koh-I-Noor Nero drawing sticks, which are like a deluxe coloured pencil.
From the top, these are a 15-minute study of the empty stage, a sheet with 1-minute studies of S- , a 10 and a 15-minute study of S- , two 10-minute partial studies of S- with M- , and a 35-minute study of A- & M- .
The Nero material is nice, and finer than charcoal & conte in texture, but it took a while to build up, so my drawing was slowed down. It is brittle as well, so using it on it's side rather than in its intended holder meant that it broke easily when trying to do dark shading. It's a material I might try again, but not one I fell wildly for.
The top six studies are on 18 x 24" sheets of bond and Canson Sketch paper, and the bottom one is on an 18 x 24" sheet of 90 lb Maidstone paper.
The poses offered a few out-of-the-ordinary challenges. The last long one had a little potential, but the drawing is a bit awkward, and the composition placed oddly. It's not often one gets to draw people in such close proximity. A more partial composition would likely have imparted more of a sense of intimacy.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
On the Sunday night, I got in for the last 35 minutes of M- working. These are a 10-minute study above, on 18 x 24" Canson Sketch paper, and a 20-minute one below on a 22 x 30" sheet of 90 lb Maidstone.
Both are done with hard compressed Nobel charcoal.
On the Sunday morning I came in for the latter part of the TSA's session. C- was working there as well. These are two 10-minute studies above, and three 15-minute ones below. The 10's are done with hard compressed Nobel charcoal on 18 x 24" sheets of Canson Sketch paper. The lower three are done with the same charcoal on 22 x 30" sheets of 90 lb Maidstone paper.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Friday, January 20, 2012
These are two 15-minute studies above, and a 20-minute one below. All are done with Nobel hard compressed charcoal. The top and bottom ones are on 22 x 30" sheets of Maidstone paper, while the middle one is on 21 x 29" Strathmore paper.
With the topmost study, I was figuring that the rhythm of curved shapes I was seeing would be intensified by the closer cropping. I miscalculated the placement vertically, as to how much foreground would be there, and the blank fabric isn't interesting enough to carry that much of the image.
That, I feel, is one of the big challenges for this year. I have a good paper I'm somewhat liking, I have a good connection to the touch of my drawing, and can readily draw someone full-figure as needed. Now the challenge is to make interesting images out of what the poses presented offer.