In this series we will be working from a sculpture in the Met Museum collection in New York. This is a great exercise for learning traditional drawing techniques in charcoal. The MET is a great free resource for artists who want to copy from high quality images and references.
In this first session I will show you how to get started with a light and loose block-in of the main shapes and shadows.
You can download the original image I’m working from here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collect…
These are the minimum materials you will need:
- Drawing paper
- Soft willow charcoal
- Kneadable eraser
- Begin by (very lightly) sketching in the basic outside proportions of your subject.
- Try to hold the charcoal as far back as possible – because this will help you to keep your lines super light.
- Once the outside proportions are in place, you can start to make some light notes for the placement of major features and forms (eyes, nose, mouth, chin, ears etc.).
- This is a good time to make corrections – because there isn’t too much to change yet.
- Keep re-working these lines and shapes until they lock into place well. This will save you a lot of hassle later in the drawing.
- Once those shapes are in place you can begin to lightly shade in the ‘shadow’ shapes.
- Shadows are any part of the subject that doesn’t receive direct light from the light source.
- In this drawing – most of the right side of the sculpture is in shadow because the light is streaming from the left.
- Finally, spend some time correcting the shapes of these shadows until they seem to capture the right likeness and expression of your subject.