Friday, November 28, 2008

How to create a charcoal portrait 3

Thanks Simon for your comments. These are usually fairly quick exploratory sketches, not worrying too much about either likeness or expression - they are mainly about pose and composition. If I did however, chance to get the "perfect expression", I would hope to recognise it and be able to replicate it in the final painting. The client and I both agreed that sketch 2 was not the "correct" one; the sitter is a very lively 92 year old who despite her physical frailty is mentally very alert, enjoys talking to people and is very aware of what is going on in the world. We both felt that sketch 3 expressed this better.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How to create a charcoal portrait 2

This drawing is another preliminary sketch for the finished painting. The materials and techniques used are the same as in my previous blog. Here, I have gone for a three-quarter length sketch as her arthritic hands were an interesting feature. Altogether I felt this pose produced a more reflective portrait.

Monday, November 24, 2008

How to create a charcoal portrait

This is one of a series of charcoal studies done in preparation for a finished oil portrait.

Materials: Smooth cartridge paper, willow charcoal, medium and soft charcoal pencils, compressed charcoal, black conte stick, soft cloth and a putty rubber.

Method: After establishing an initial outline, the area of the head was rubbed over with willow charcoal and smoothed with the cloth. The position of the main features was established before softening and lightening the mid-tones. The details in the eyes and mouth were built up using charcoal pencils. For the darkest tones, I used a combination of either conte crayon or compressed charcoal. The highlights were lifted out with a putty rubber.