Working with charcoal

In the past I had only used charcoal for very quick sketches at life drawing classes, but over the summer I started using it for portraits. I became totally hooked on it, trying to find out all it can do. Putting on, lifting off, broad strokes and tiny marks. I enjoyed drawing this portrait of AJ because of the strong light and shade, the contrasting textures in his coat and hair, and his thoughtful pose.

Trying the Sktchy app

Over the past few days I have been trying out the Sktchy app and enjoying it very much. There are masses of photos to choose from and some are very good subjects for painting and sketching. This was drawn with coloured pencils on toned paper – I love the way there is warm light from one side and cool light from the other.

Bananas four ways

Same subject, four different approaches. Top left is watercolour pencils with fine ink lines – you need to be very careful about noticing if the paper is wet or dry as the colours are much stronger on damp paper. Bottom left is Pigma brush pens in black and two shades of grey – I find these very clumsy and it’s my least favourite of the four. Top right is a cheap black felt tip pen which is not waterproof, so when the lines are touched with a waterbrush you get instant shading – I liked doing this one, and I will definitely try it again. Bottom right is a drawing in fine pen with a raw sienna watercolour background added afterwards.

One line sketching

I’ve been enjoying the summer break by trying a few different approaches in my sketchbook – it’s always good to loosen up and get out of your routine.  Recently I have been doing some one line sketches.  Literally one line – if you lift your pen it’s over!  The interesting thing is that they look like they were drawn by someone else – less careful, a bit wonky, but more energy perhaps.