January 08, 2010

Charcoal Demo

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Anya. Compressed charcoal on rives paper.



1) Construction drawing. Being careful here allows for a confident stroke when I start using the compressed charcoal stick.


2) Establishing landmarks so as to not loose the drawing as the charcoal gets pushed around in later stages.


3) Value block in.


4) Smoothing values and touching up the drawing with the corner of the charcoal stick.


Wow, what a mess. This is one of the reasons I don't specifically encourage my technique. There are dozens of ways you can apply the medium. It's the principles of value (light and shadow), structure, edges and composition that really matter.


5) Final touch up with a kneaded eraser and charcoal stick.

56 comments:

klecks said...

it is always interesting to look behind a work of an artist.
thank you for sharing.

César Samaniego said...

wow, thanks for sharing!!

Villard said...

I love you.

Arto Isotalo said...

Nice demo, thanks!

René PleinAir. said...

Wow, thanks!

You know what's funny?

If you look carefuly you can see the lady sniggling behind the charcoal smudged hand. :-)

Ganesh Ghale said...

thank you Nathan for sharing.

really an inspiration and guide to charcoal.

*I've to get better at that construction stage though.

billspaintingmn said...

This is helpful Nathan. You give freely to us, thank you.
I'm eager to try this approach.

Jesse Hamm said...

I love these step-by-step demos.

When you're working in charcoal, do you try to keep the side of your hand from resting on the page, or is it best to draw normally and fix resulting smudges later?

James said...

Thanks for taking the time to document and upload the steps. It adds so much. I thought the shadowed face looked challenging.

Your work is beautiful.

Jeliza said...

Thank you! I've been following your blog because your charcoal work blows me away, and when I met compressed charcoal & subtractive drawing last year, it was LUV. (messy love. I always get hands that look like that, though not yet *results* anything like that.)

Is the underdrawing just regular pencil?

Adam said...

Delightful!

I do enjoy when you post your demos. Seeing your process is very helpful to aspiring artists.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding. You have incredible talent, and it is amazing that you would take the time to share your technique with us. Thankyou Nathan :)

ti-igra said...

This is fantastic!!!
This is very cool, great job! :-)
I so love this picture!
You - the real talent! Thank you :-)

strattonbrazil said...

Very impressive. For anyone who hasn't seen Nathan work, not only does he do these with finesse, but he does it extremely fast--almost naturally.

Kendra Melton said...

Oh man, that face popped out of no where with so much depth and form. So nice. Wonderful inspiring work as always!!

Mr. said...

I'd love to see a video of you at work, and to see your process firsthand.

Excellent drawing as always. I was a bit surprised to see such a large space between mouth and chin, but in the end it works perfectly.

I need to work more on structure. Drawing a circle is simple, but then what's the relation between that and the length of the head, top to bottom? Is the top of the sphere the top of the head? The bottom should correspond to the bottom of the nose? And how do you get the eye placement right, especially when the head is turned or tilted? Is the head really five eye widths wide? - TASmith

Jason Scheier said...

it's astonishing! Love your process!

Don Gray said...

Superb! Great step-by-step--thanks!

Gregory Becker said...

I see that it is messy but for me that is a small price for that result. I can spot your work out of a thousand drawings. You dont even need to sign your work, your style is your signature. Btter yet your result is your signature.
Thankyou for the demo. I have learned so much from your contruction lines.
You should do a video on light falling across a subject a various angles in charcoal. I'd buy it.

robin said...

Wow incredible..!

rad sechrist said...

Amazing as always!

Rajeev Mohan said...

Superb as always Nathan

Marcos Mateu said...

30's Hollywood glamour served on a beautiful platter!

sophan said...

genius of epic proportions!

Darkmyster said...

Very interesting technique you have here. Love the way it turned out for sure. You are a brave man for doing this for sure.

gieffe74 said...

Your charcoal works have a great intensity...I love them

Charlotte said...

I agree with those who say you should release a tutorial video demonstrating your technique, you are a master at what you do and many would benefit from your lessons, including those who can't actually attend your classes. Please think about it. This is a fine drawing, by the way, very passionate and beautiful.

Frans Kusuma said...

Nathan, are you planning to do a charcoal demo live in one of the workshop you have in future? I would love to see it very much :p.
You are awesome, as always!

adebanji said...

Incredible!

Antonin said...

amazing work and brilliant demo !

XAV said...

I'm breathless. I love how graphic it is.

Nikola said...

Better than a photograph!

RK.Karthikeyan said...

extraordinary work, impeccable. i love the shading and highlights, depth is beauty full, nice subject and composition, thanks for the WIP.

Daniele(Danka)Montella said...

Simply amazing!!!love it!

gieffe74 said...

Nathan, can I ask you the size of the drawing? I found very hard to use compr.charcoal on small ones.

Have I already said that your wroks are fantastic?

I wish I were you...

Sergikan said...

Awesome as always, but don't be so dirty, man

lifeartist said...

You make it look so easy! What brand of charcoal and what degree of softness? I teach drawing at my community college and I want to know so I can make a recommendation to my students.

Michael Mercer said...

I'm just posting this comment because I feel left out if I don't.

Aaron said...

that's friggin magical!

Felixantos said...

wow!!!!!!! excelent work!!! you are a master of draw!!!!

Michael Dooney said...

The accurate construction drawing underneath these tonal heads is very cool to see. I'd love to see what kind of underdrawing you use for a whole figure sometime.

Tony Shasteen said...

Your charcoal work is amazing. Such an inspiration!

Joe Bluhm said...

I don't know what post to put my first comment on, here... but WOW. THANK you.

Søren Bendt said...

that is just great. the presence in that picture is simply stunning.
dang!

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Bima Aria Shiddiq said...

great technique...

and awesome demo... thank you very very much!

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your works are truly amazing, and really inspiration!

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