Due Diligence Lessons 5 – 6

We’re on to Lesson 6 I think, and my lack of knowledge bit me in the, uh, backside today.  Rose wanted us to do a graduated scale on toned paper using chalk and charcoal to create the entire range.  My first attempt was an epic failure because I tried to do the whole thing with soft vine charcoal.   I modified it using a couple of my compressed charcoal pencils and it didn’t look much better.  I now realize that I have to take all my charcoal pencils and do a graduated scale for each of them to figure out which pencils I want to use, and what gives me the best representation of a ten-step scale to use in a drawing based on the way I draw, so here’s my homework for the night!  In due time I will also do one for my graphite pencils.  It is great practice and will take my work to a higher level when I train this subtlety into my fingers.

The first four blocks of this grid are empty because they would contain gratuated white chalk except for #4 which would be plain paper.


These past few weeks have driven home just how ignorant I am of the use of charcoal in drawings.  It never occurred to me that vine charcoal would only be used for initial marks and sketches because it is so powdery and easy to remove.  I finally know how to sharpen vine charcoal correctly, using sandpaper and shaping it into a long taper.  This, in fact, isn’t really sharpened into a long enough point.  It should be longer.

I also need to revise my drawing from Class 5, there’s too much going on with my shot glass, too much detail.  Here’s the before:

There is the addition of a shot glass to the original composition.  No, I’m not drawing the duct tape holding the glass down, or the skewer to the right.

And here’s the after:

I’ve limited my highlights to a certain section of the glass to reduce the detail.

It’s amazing that there is so much to learn in such short a time.  I used to think 12 weeks was a long time, and this is a mightily compressed class!

  • Figuring out how to work with vine charcoal.
  • Figuring out which charcoal is used for what.  I should have figured that out sooner.
  • My sight-sizing is getting much better.  The addition of new glasses (for vision) made a huge improvement.
  • Remembering what measurements need to be checked again, and checking everything at least three times.
  • Ellipses I’m starting to get the hang of.  I understand the theory behind them and that is a huge step in the right direction.
  • Shading with charcoal I haven’t been working on as you can tell from the above image.

My focus right now is sight-size accuracy.  I want to get it down on the easy stuff so that when we start statues next Thursday I’m in a good place.  I already notice the difference in ease of drawing when I start a new painting, and this process will continue to improve!


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