Tag Archives: charcoal drawing

Getting Physical.

25 Apr

Drawing over prepared paper.

Getting this studio, almost a year ago now, has transformed my life. I’ve been so productive, my output has increased dramatically, my work is going in directions I’d never imagined and I’m making enough art to get into exhibitions all over the place. In the past, working from home and fitting my art in around a job, meant that for years I didn’t develop significantly or produce enough work to sell. A lot of people don’t realise that being an artist is being two different things – a manufacturer and a retailer. You have to make the art; then you have to get it out there and sell it. It’s not easy and I’m still in the early stages.

And it’s very physical. Because lots of people do art as a hobby they often make the mistake of thinking that it must be quite nice to sit around all day and potter with a paintbrush, but when you’re working at an easel all day, or at a printing press, you can be on your feet for 6, 7, 8 hours, using shoulder and arm muscles over and over again. They need to be exercised regularly so they don’t seize up. I do some small workouts with little dumbbells, a Wrist Ball and Chinese balls, when I remember, to keep my arms, hands and shoulders fit.

I’m working up a series of large drawings from smaller ones I did at life drawing group. They’ll eventually become the template for full-colour reduction monotypes too. Here’s one I started today, working in charcoal onto Fabriano paper previously primed and coloured with acrylic paints in yellow ochre, permanent rose and pthalo blue. It’s coming along nicely but still quite a way to go. I’ve left the hands til the end because they’re the hardest. I’ll work up four or five drawings and then book a few days at Swansea Print Workshop to create a batch of monotypes.


Wrinkles! [caution – male nude]

2 Dec

Chalk and Charcoal: male nude.

It’s nice to work with a veriety of models of all ages, fascinating to see the human body going through different phases. This is an experienced older model whose body wrinkles up beautifully. I know that goes against what’s currently our culture’s idea of beauty, but I like it – great to draw a body and face like this. It’s just a quick sketch using chalk and compressed charcoal onto a large sheet of brown parcel wrapping paper. I know it’s not archival quality paper, but sometimes it’s nice to use something really cheap because it frees you up, you’re not inhibited by the cost of a pristine new piece of artpaper. It’s also nice to work on a darker ground, white can be inhibiting. I think I might work this up as a 3 colour monotype sometime.

A Monumental Man

19 Oct

Chalk and charcoal drawing: male nude.

Life drawing was a regular item on the curriculum when I was at Art College and I’ve kept practicing, going to local groups and classes for many years now. It’s good to work with different models and to be inspired by the techniques of artists in the group and I link the life drawing to my anatomical studies of Felicity, the skeleton I borrowed who lives in my studio, standing in a window overlooking the street, scaring passengers who look up from the bus stop below. I like understanding how the mechanics of bones work under the skin. This drawing of one of our older male models was done in chalk, compressed charcoal and conte crayons onto brown wrapping paper. It’s pretty large, about A0 and I’ve barely managed to fit the figure into the space. Egon Schiele had the same problem, so I’m in illustrious company. This model is short but otherwise monumental and I think I’ve captured a sculptural quality in this drawing, which is very much like him.



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