Tag Archives: subtractive drawing

Stuff I Draw With

27 Sep

I’m doing some subtractive drawings on card prepared with two coats of acrylic gesso and overlaid, when dry, with compressed charcoal. It means I have to be a bit inventive with drawing materials, which include aluminium oxide paper, wire wool, a craft knife and bits of rag. Great fun.

Here’s the small one, based on the sketch I made at a life drawing session. I hope to finish it tomorrow and start on the huge pieces I’ve stretched onto the wall next week.

Back And Raring To Go!

24 Sep

I’ve had five whole days away from the computer. The RSI problem came back with a vengeance and coupled with a nasty lurgi, I decided to take a bit of a break from t’Internet. I’ve still been busy in the studio though, developing some plans for a series of larger scale subtractive drawings. I stretched some sheets of Fabriano Accademica onto the studio wall and gave them two coats of acrylic gesso. I rubbed in compressed charcoal over the surface of two of the sheets and coated the third with graphite, smoothing it over with a rag dipped in turpentine. Then I transferred one of my life drawings to a smaller bit of charcoal-coated card to do a practice piece before committing myself to the larger paper. I like this technique very much; the resulting drawing is rather like a mezzotint.

This shows the stretched paper coated with compressed charcoal either side of the piece I covered with graphite, before it had been smoothed over with turpentine.

Still Deads

20 Aug

I spent the day at Swansea Print Workshop doing a short course in subtractive drawing with the new artist-in-residence, Aoife Layton. Pretty hard going, partly because it’s very different to the way I normally scribble, using a fine pen into an A6 sketchbook. Today we used A2 cartridge that had been prepared with three coats of rough gesso. We had to coat one with charcoal, rubbing it in well with our hands – lovely and messy! The other was coated with graphite block which was then wiped in with a rag soaked in white spirit. We used an odourless one, but there isn’t a satisfactory alternative to white spirit.

Then we had to begin to remove the black pigment with various drawing materials such as sandpaper, wire wool and craft knives. We had a variety of objects to choose from for our subjects including a large sweet jar full of dried corpses of lobsters and crayfish. I used some of these, Still Deads rather than Still Lifes. The top drawing is the charcoal one, the bottom, graphite. I think the one below looks like some strange crustacean Danse Macabre.

When I was in school, we were taught to always fill the page with a drawing, but these days I prefer to position the image carefully within a space, isolating and emphasising it.

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