Monday, November 19, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak


Well I think Zak's portrait is complete! I will leave him overnight and may make minor tweaks. The scan does not show the graduations in tone as well as I would like. Some areas look a little choppy in the scan, but if gives the general idea. I think the dark background is throwing the balance off a bit for the scan.

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak- Update #4

Zak is very near completion, just a few more tweaks in his fur better match his color pattern and texture. The blanket also needs to be lightened in a few areas so it does not look so flat.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak- Update #3

I have added a few more layers of graphite pencil to Zak's fur and will add more still but needed to get the background established first. The blanket has been drawn with 4B graphite pencil and I will either use charcoal for the background behind his tail or 6B graphite pencil, will see how it progresses.

I definitely need to get his eyes drawn in, cats just do not look right without their eyes!

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Christmas Gift - Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait of Zak- Update #1


Several layers of 2B graphite pencil have been added loosely, many more to go!

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

Graphite & Charcoal Cat Portrait


This is the graphite sketch of a cat name Vartz that I have just started. It is a 50th Birthday gift for his person and it is a rush job so not sure how many posts I will do of him before he is finished due to the time. I darkened the graphite sketch so that it is easier to see online it is much lighter on the paper. I added more detail in the sketch than I usually do as he has so many stripes in his fur and the photo is a little dark so I don't want to get lost as I go.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Exploring Conte

I have been taking a bit of a break from commissions and have been exploring new mediums for the past month. Oddly enough, I have never tried conte or chalk in the past. I stumbled across an artist who does amazing portraits in both oils and conte and charcoal. Her name is Marina Dieul and you can see her work on her blog at http://marinadieul.blogspot.com/

She manages to capture such emotion and strength in her portraits and her conte and charcoal portraits only use a few colors to achieve a full range of tonal values. So as soon as I saw her work I ran out to the art store and purchased some conte and started playing. Well, for such a simple medium conte has such a huge range of tonal values and possibilities. Now, how to achieve these ranges, that is not so simple. I have been using similar methods that I use for my graphite and charcoal portraits and so far, am quite please with the results.

Combining the conte with vine charcoal produces a nice range of tonal values and, depending on how and when you combine them, different results can be achieved. Vine charcoal seems to produce the softest results which I prefer and depending on how it is blended (ie blending stumps, cloths, fingers etc.) a full range of blending can be achieved. I use the same methods for blending the conte and have been playing with several shades to achieve smooth transitions of color. The conte that Marina recommends is Carres which can be purchased at most art stores and has several colors to work with although I prefer to stick to a very limited palette of earth tones, especially while I am still trying to learn the medium. I will post some of my sample exercises and eventually a sketch or two once I am happy with the results. So far, I have just been doing basic blending/drawing exercises, spheres, lines and blending to get a feel for the medium.

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Sunday, July 24, 2005

Graphite & Charcoal Materials Tutorial

Drawing Surface
My favorite drawing surfaces are smooth or medium bristol board and arches hot pressed watercolor paper. The watercolor paper provides more tooth for the graphite and charcoal to settle into.

Pencils
Any artist grade pencils will do. Experiment to find a brand that you feel comfortable with. I generally use F for the initial drawing as it erases easily without too much damage to the paper. I also like to use mechanical pencils as well as regular pencils as they maintain their shape well.

Charcoal

Again any artist grade charcoal that you can find will work well. The degrees of hardness ranges from HB (hardest) to 3B (softest).

Erasers

I use mak tak as a kneaded eraser. You can buy it at any stationary store. It is used for tacking pictures to walls but it works perfectly for lifting graphite and/or charcoal from drawings and for erasing.

Blending Stumps

Soft paper felt with double pointed ends used for blending. If the point wears down you can use sand paper to repoint.

Tortillions

Soft rolled paper with pointed end used for blending

Chamois

For the smoothest blending and to lift off extra graphite or charcoal.
Tissue PaperFor a rougher blending effect and to lift off extra graphite or charcoal.


Miscellanesous

Tracing paper to draw original artwork on, transfer paper, masking tape for holding template in place, drafting brush to remove eraser and graphite residue, chamois for blending

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