OCAD Studio: Chalk and Charcoal Portrait Drawing Part 1

This series of lessons will walk you through the complete process for drawing a portrait in charcoal and white chalk on toned paper.

The first session will focus on getting an accurate block-in of the basic shadow shapes and darker tones that make up the drawing.

Materials:

  • Toned paper
  • Charcoal
  • White Chalk Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Sanding Block
  • Sharpener
  • Drawing Board
  • Easel
  • Begin with the biggest proportions; height of the head, width of the head, body etc.
  • Sketch these in very lightly with soft lines that will be easy to erase.
  • Keep correcting things until everything is setting in the right place.
  • It is important that you don’t rush the early stages.
  • Once the major proportions are in place you can start to find dark shapes (shadows).
  • Sketch these in lightly using straight lines.
  • Don’t add too many curves or details yet – as these tend to be less accurate.
  • Finally, once all the outlines of the shadows are sketched in, you can fill them with a single tone.
  • Keep working lightly at this stage as you may see some bits you need to correct once you’ve added the tone.
  • You online need two tones at this stage – the tone of paper and the shadow colour – that is all!

Task 1 Learning to Observe

OBSERVATION

One day students were asked to copy a Picasso drawing upside down.
That small experiment, more than anything else, showed that something
very different is going on during the act of drawing. To everyone’s surprise the
finished drawings were so extremely well done that the class were asked, “How
come you can draw upside down when you can’t draw right-side up?”

 

The students responded,
“Upside down, we didn’t know what we
were drawing.”

 

You have two brains: a left and a right. Modern brain scientists now know that your left brain is your verbal and rational brain; it thinks serially and reduces its thoughts to numbers, letters and words…
Your right brain is your nonverbal and intuitive brain; it thinks in patterns, or pictures, composed of ‘whole things,’ and does not comprehend reductions, either numbers, letters, or words.

 

Drawing is not really very difficult. Seeing is the problem, or, to be more specific, shifting to a particular way of seeing. You may not believe me at this moment. You may feel that you are seeing things just fine and that it’s the drawing that is hard. But the opposite is true.

Broadly speaking, except for the degree of complexity, all drawing is the same. One drawing task is no harder than any other. The same skills and ways of seeing are involved in drawing still-life setups, landscapes, the figure, random objects, even imaginary subjects, and portrait drawing. It’s all the same thing: You see what’s out there (imaginary subjects are “seen” in the mind’s eye) and you draw what you see.

 

What is the purpose of Upside Down Drawing?

The purpose of this kind of practice is to force your left (thinking) side of the brain to give up identifying what you draw. So, even if you have a little voice that tells you the name of features or things, – ignore it! Instead, focus on a specific line and concentrate on its direction and where it lies in relation to the lines
around it.
If you do have trouble with matching things up as you come to the end of the drawing, this is because it is out of proportion. That doesn’t matter, just connect it all as best as you can because the benefit remains.

So begin by trialling this technique and drawing this horse, upside down:

You will find the horse, and the more challenging Picasso line drawing, on this following resource so you can print them and then copy what you see. To make things even easier, draw a grid over your image and also onto your page- then you can copy each square in turn…but remember, upside down.

Click here: upside down

I’m sure when you are more aware of using the right side of your brain, you will find your observation skills significantly improve. Remember that everything you need to know in order to draw the image is right in front of your eyes. All of the information is right there, making it easy for you. Don’t make it complicated. It really is as simple as that.

Tips

If you feel confused by a large picture, try placing paper over the picture and just reveal one portion at a time. You’ll only need to do this once or twice. When your confidence builds, you won’t even notice the whole picture, you will
only be seeing the lines you are copying. This may not work for everyone… do what feels right for you to ‘simplify’ what you are seeing.

At some point, the drawing may begin to seem like an interesting, even fascinating, puzzle. When this happens, you will be “really drawing,” meaning that you have successfully shifted to R-mode and you are seeing clearly. This state is easily broken. For example, if someone were to come into the room and ask, “How are you doing?” your verbal system would be reactivated and your focus and concentration would be over. This is also true if you have the TV on in the background or music playing with recognisable lyrics.

Copy the picture just as you see it and don’t be tempted to turn it the right side up at any time. You can start anywhere on your page that you
feel comfortable with. It’s fine if you wish to erase. Sometimes our judgment is a little bit out

 

Simple isn’t it? This technique helps to set you on the path of seeing the way an artist sees! That, in turn, helps you properly illustrate whatever you want. Upside down drawing develops your ability to see only lines and shapes and their relation to each other which is the ultimate aim for all artists 🙂

 

During our next tutorial, we will also look at ‘The Grid Method’ which will help many of you learn this technique quicker and be even more successful 🙂

Keep an eye on our Facebook Page to tune in to our live session Coming Soon!

 

 

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

 

 

Drawing a Moody Chalk + Charcoal Landscape – Part 4

In this series, we will be creating a moody tonal landscape in charcoal and chalk – it’s a really fun exercise, as we will be working from our imagination as much as from a reference.

In this final session, we will be using hard charcoal and white chalk to finish off the piece and enhance the luminosity in the scene.

  • Use a hard piece of charcoal to add the finest branches and suggestions of leaves.
  • It will need to be kept sharp enough that these fine lines and transitions are possible.
  • You can also use the kneadable eraser rolled to a fine point to remove fine highlights on the branches and create better sense of separation between the foreground and background elements.
  • Finally, you can use a sharpened white pencil to add in the brightest glows within the sky.
  • This should create a better sense of atmosphere and luminosity.

The materials you will need are:

  • Toned paper
  • Charcoal
  • White Chalk Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Sanding Block
  • Sharpener
  • Drawing Board
  • Easel

Task 4: Graphite Still Life

Task 4

Graphite Still Life

 

This tutorial is mainly going to focus on the preparation of your still life art work.

Taking photographs and exploring your subject before taking on a drawing is very important. 

Why spend time producing your own photography? Not just grab an image off the internet to copy?

Firstly, you have to think of your own development and creating unique art works. Taking inspiration is great, but then applying that knowledge and setting up your own compositions is important for how you see your art evolving in the future. Plus, you need the objects in front of you to create a better observation drawing…the photo is just an additional tool to prep the outcome 🙂

 

Things to consider:

Composition

  • Rule of odds
  • Rule of thirds
  • No clutter
  • Frame the image well
  • Range of tone
  • Range of forms

Ideas for objects

  • Cans
  • Crushed cans
  • Shells
  • Fruit and Veg
  • Shoes
  • Toys / Lego
  • Origami
  • Ornate objects

Have some objects ready to take photos of and preparation will be discussed in our upcoming live tutorial. When the tutorial has happened, a clip will be posted below for future reference 🙂 Enjoy

Join our Facebook Group for LIVE lessons and friendly art community – see you there 🙂

Why not have a go at this and post your artwork for me to see. Maybe I or the community can offer support, encouragement and helpful feedback.  – share your work on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM – POST  using our hashtag #ONLINECOLLEGEART

Drawing a Moody Chalk + Charcoal Landscape – Part 3

In this series, we will be creating a moody tonal landscape in charcoal and chalk – it’s a really fun exercise, as we will be working from our imagination as much as from a reference.

We will be refining the midtone elements further in this session.

  • Begin by working through the darker mid-tones in the drawing.
  • Create a more gradual transition from the darks to the mid-tones and try to keep smoothing things out as you work.
  • Then you can start to add lighter sections of branches and leaves in front of the lighter sky.
  • Keep these sections fuzzr for the time being – we will be sharpening things later.
  • Finally, you can use the eraser to remove sky-holes in the foliage. This is a quick way to make the transparency of the leaves more sophisticated.

The materials you will need are:

  • Toned paper
  • Charcoal
  • White Chalk Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Sanding Block
  • Sharpener
  • Drawing Board
  • Easel

Drawing a Moody Chalk + Charcoal Landscape – Part 2

In this series, we will be creating a moody tonal landscape in charcoal and chalk – it’s a really fun exercise, as we will be working from our imagination as much as from a reference.

This session will be spent refining the looser sketchy drawing we created in part 1.

  • Begin by pushing the darkest tones as dark as they can go.
  • Then use a sharpened piece of charcoal to soften the transitions between tones.
  • You can also use the point to fill in patchy areas and create a smoother tone to work over in future passes.
  • The final thing you can do is refine the details (trees etc.) so that they begin to feel more developed and realistic.

The materials you will need are:

  • Toned paper
  • Charcoal
  • White Chalk Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Sanding Block
  • Sharpener
  • Drawing Board
  • Easel

Drawing a Moody Chalk + Charcoal Landscape – Part 1

In this series, we will be creating a moody tonal landscape in charcoal and chalk – it’s a really fun exercise, as we will be working from our imagination as much as from a reference.

This first session will be spent getting the basic shapes in places using a very sketchy application of the charcoal.

The materials you will need are:

  • Toned paper
  • Charcoal
  • White Chalk Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Sanding Block
  • Sharpener
  • Drawing Board
  • Easel
  • Begin by lightly sketching in a rectangle that will form the outside boundary of your drawing.
  • This can be any shape you like.
  • Then use the charcoal in a very sketchy way to start feeling out for the shape and groupings of masses within the landscape.
  • You can also start to search for smaller details (like the droopy pines in my piece).
  • Once the basic shapes are in place, you can start to reinforce and deepen the tones by going over in gradually passes of gradients.
  • Finally, spend some time adding in some more specific details (like trees or patch or rivers etc.) to give the landscape some more unique characteristics.