Friday, 29 July 2011

Charcoal

In a fit of madness, I decided to try out drawing with charcoal. Well, it is like watercolour: impossible to control, and quickly turns into a powdery mess. The drawing also tends to be extremely fragile compared to a pencil drawing: the slightest accidental touch, and your carefully placed line is smeared all over the paper. I am astonished at the way in which classically trained artists can use it to produce highly detailed and precisely naturalistic drawings. Perhaps practice will make perfect.

I do like the medium's rich, velvety blacks and grays, and its essential simplicity: it is the one drawing tool you can easily produce yourself (and indeed, until fairly recently, artists did burn their own charcoal instead of buying it). The drawing process itself is also an exercise in simplicity and minimalism: stick of charcoal, paper, eraser, and nothing more. In the old days, artists used a piece of old bread as eraser; these days we have a thing called a kneaded eraser that can work miracles in forgiving our artistic sins.

Without further ado, here's the powdery, murky, messy horror that resulted from my first excursion into this medium; it is about size A5:


This is going to take some practice...

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