Portfolio Pages

Monday, March 11, 2013

Why Charcoal Reminds Me of Fulling Wool

Why does charcoal remind me of fulling wool?
Drawing with Charcoal, like fulling {felting} a knitted item, is extremely forgiving. And both hide a multitude of sins!

Yep, we recently experienced the medium of charcoal in my Drawing class. I've decided I rather like it.

I knew of charcoal drawing implements but I didn't know from whence it came.
"Vine" charcoal used in drawing is from grape vines!
There is even a knot in one of the vine/charcoal sticks I received from the teacher.
Cool, huh?
The teacher gave us a half-sheet of Grey Canson paper for our first charcoal drawing.
He had us cover the paper in charcoal.
No, seriously - scribble allllll over the paper.
And then we smeared it around with a paper towel.
Fun start. I liked it.

He had us draw an apple, and then a cone. And we visited shading a bit more.
The Cone became a....well, a jigger. Then we were to add a box and a window....corrections and highlights effected via paper towel (and a special grey highlighter/eraser-thingy made just for charcoal).
The teacher augmented this a little so I can't
take all the credit for this drawing.
I was pretty tickled with how easy it was to correct/remove/shade with charcoal.
My clueless strokes looked rather good - almost as though I'd done that apple shading on purpose.
Kinda fun.

We sprayed a fixative on the drawings so they wouldn't smear. Because, as you'd expect, charcoal smears wonderfully.
And yes, I did to to Target one day after class {with a smear of charcoal running from my left cheekbone down to my jaw} to purchase a very inexpensive spray fixative alternative to the high-end artsy kind.

I purchased my first-ever can of hair spray. {wry grin}
The DH was mildly excited with the purchase of hairspray too.
He says you can use hair spray to avoid corrosion on car battery contacts/cables. ;-)

Homework: Charcoal Still Life on a full sheet of Canson Paper with a border.

Does the subject matter look familiar?
Yep, I drew the same bottles/cat statue on the bottom shelf of the IKEA baker's rack/plant stand that I outlined in graphite for a previous homework assignment.

I did try to include the Christmas Cactus leaves on the right side of the drawing but I couldn't quite figure out how to do it in charcoal. (They were unrecognizable as black spikey blobs).
But hey, didn't I do an excellent job of rubbing out my cactus-leaf drawing attempt?!?
{grin - the teacher did comment on shading in that corner being a little too dark...}

I have to confess, I liked that drawing more before I applied the white-pencil highlighting. I think I over did it some. Ah well.

The last charcoal drawing assignment was to place 12 hand-sized, complete cones on a full sheet of (pink) Canson paper.
The teacher quickly altered the assignment to allow other shapes and some creative drawing. I felt challenged enough with basic shapes and shading (but there is one spot of whimsy in my drawing...enhanced by the teacher.).
Did you see it? {hint-it's upside down}
We've moved on into perspective with graphite (pencil) now.
But I'm hoping we'll revisit charcoal drawing. I think it is kind to rookies.  Not unlike the fulling wool. Both charcoal drawing and fulling wool seem to flow well, hide mistakes, and finish magically.
Charcoal is the "felting" of the drawing world. {wry grin}

1 comment:

  1. These are great! You have the charcoal mojo! The charcoal mojo fairy doesn't visit everyone, I do hope you'll hang these in your home. My fave is the Still Life of bottles from your actual real life. The bottles seem to be singing.