Timed sketches


(1 minute/5 minutes/15 minutes). Caroline used charcoal and pastel paper. Pastel paper gets the best from charcoal as it has more ‘tooth’ giving stronger tonal values. Why timed sketches? The time limitation makes you really look. Concentrate on the line. Look at shapes, the major shapes, and corresponding shadows. Time restriction limits being tentative. Bold strokes. Do not look at trying to make a representational drawing, in the time allowed, rather to create an impression.

Example One:

The 1-minute drawing will be rougher but more expressive. Longer drawing times allows more detail. NB: Not seeking to create the ‘perfect’ image.

Example 2

Cross hatch with charcoal and darken background areas – this can be very expressive.

Draw a vertical line and then create shape (two halves) to represent vase. To bring the object forward ‘colour’ the background black – this will make object stand out.


Example 3

  The 5-minute drawing allows thought about details, for example shadows under the cream of the cakes. Study the light and dark – isolate the lighter areas. Charcoal allows blending with fingers or rubber. Look for tonal values. Initially get shapes down first and then shadowing. There is a balance with getting more details recorded but avoiding ‘fiddling’. Try to keep the drawing ‘loose’ – remember not seeking perfection.

Example 4

  The 10-15 minute – keep in mind this remains an exercise in observation. Extra time allows for more study particularly seeking out the horizontal and vertical shapes. Use a pencil to measure what is higher, lower and distances. Once shapes established start blocking in tonal values. Think of the picture as a jigsaw where each shape reveals the whole. Charcoal drawings can be used to emphasis the mood rather than a representation alone.