Still Life in Charcoal Demo by Caroline Marsland 6th. March 19

Before starting the drawing, Caroline gave a few tips on working in charcoal:

  •   Sandpaper the paper for dramatic marks
  •   Use good textured paper
  •   Think … Where are my darkest shadows going to be?
  •   WORK BIG!

Blocking in very lightly, Caroline sketched out the group of bottles. Using light strokes to plot the work makes it easy to erase, should it be necessary.

Working dark to light she used heavy marks to start with, noting that wonky lines and random marks make it more interesting.

Using a small piece on its side, dark areas were blocked in and the fiddly bits (little shapes) were made using the end and the edge of the charcoal. At this point Caroline suggested working quickly, so there is “no fiddling”!

To make the image livelier, the background was strengthened, using strong lines and shadows.

Hatching is another useful technique to introduce texture. An eraser can then be brought in to remove parts of the darkest areas, in this case to give the shine on the bottles. Chamois leather can also be very effective instead of an eraser.

Thanks to Christine Elsdon for the notes and photographs.

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