Drawing Darkly

25 Feb


I spent some time in my studio today, starting a ‘manier noir’ style drawing. It’s a type of reductive drawing, working from black to white, rubbing away areas of charcoal to reveal the highlights. It’s the very first of a substantial body of drawings and original prints I have planned.

I prepared Fabriano Accademica paper with gesso and when it dried, I rubbed it evenly all over with compressed charcoal, using my hand to get a smooth black surface. I ‘draw’ into the charcoal with steel wool and very fine sandpaper. This technique results in a subtle but dramatic chiaroscuro.

Manier noir is an alternative name for the printmaking technique mezzotint, where an engraved metal plate has the highlights smoothed away with a steel burnisher.

13 Responses to “Drawing Darkly”

  1. thearthouse123 March 7, 2015 at 10:32 #

    I like this style of work, I can remember embarking on my first life drawing class many moons ago and attempting this method, I found it very relaxing. Can you tell me why you gesso the paper .

  2. paperstew February 26, 2015 at 18:36 #

    Makes me want to pull out the gesso and charcoal and get crackin’! I really enjoyed that workshop.
    The image already has the feeling of a powerful piece (even before reading about the subject). Great choice of materials for this work. 🙂

    • Rosie Scribblah February 26, 2015 at 23:48 #

      Thanks Gale. Do get the gesso and charcoal out. You did some lovely work in this technique 😊

  3. Ric Upton February 26, 2015 at 09:07 #

    Like these Rosie, very sculptural.

  4. allesistgut February 26, 2015 at 08:34 #

    Great drawing but a little bit spooky, too. 😉 Have a lovely day.

    • Rosie Scribblah February 26, 2015 at 13:33 #

      Thanks. It’s s dark subject. It’s based on drawings and photos I made when I visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a couple of winters ago, there was thick snow on the ground and it made the whole place look very spooky. Rain and snow coming your way, I’m afraid, unless it all falls on Belgium first 😀

  5. anna warren portfolio February 26, 2015 at 06:13 #

    Its a beautiful image Rosie, such subtlety of form.


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    […] French for ‘in the dark manner’ but I like to call it Drawing Darkly. Here’s some information about it […]

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