Tuesday Night Drawing

Basically last drawing tonight was the same as last week, since a few people didn’t show due to weather and many needed more practice with values. I welcome the practice with my drawing, for me the values part is just fun times! Maybe a half hour on the drawing and twenty minutes on the values. I think this week is a bit of a regression in that I didn’t get the plethora of lost edges I got last week, but I think the overall drawing is slightly stronger (and yes, that bottle looks wonkier than last week’s wine bottle on purpose!).


18×24 charcoal

3 Value Drawing

Tuesday night, and that means drawing 101! This week we were allowed a shadow value, to build on what we did last week with a single highlight value on charcoal-toned paper (I cheated and used shadows, woops). So this is a bit longer drawing, maybe a half hour after two false starts and helping out my neighbor who is really struggling but a nice character.


After reviewing last week’s drawing, I saw where the teacher was talking in demo about losing lines at the junction of values, so I tried to incorporate that a bit in this one to get a feel for it. Most easily seen in the upper right where the light cloth overhangs the box, no lines, just the light value against the mid-tone of the background. Of course, we’re supposed to do that /next week/ so again I’m one week ahead, heh. But it led to a nice discussion on chiaroscuro and sfumato, both of which I’m interested in.

This is again a toned background, 6b charcoal rubbed out with a chamois. Then 2b charcoal for roughing in objects, 6b for shading and both white and kneaded erasers for highlights.

It’s a bit rough with only 3 values to work with, but I did try to stick more to the instructions this time and didn’t blend anything out…

Pencils? Pencils!

Dig this fancy method to sharpen pencils! A bit tricky to get right, the short one on the bottom broke but my second time I nailed it and it’s the best one. The idea is to have a taper from the painted portion through the wood all the way to the tip. Thus you can use the tip or various widths of the side for lots of flexibility. Cool! Already feels a lot more natural than a ‘normal’ pencil or stick of charcoal.


I used a sharp pocket knife. For the first two I used sandpaper to finish the taper (still has too much shoulder, though). The stubby one I did just with the knife and it came out pretty decent.

Working on a toned background

Tues night, drawing night. I forgot to take pics last week of working on negative space, sorry! This week we worked on working on a background we toned with smudged charcoal, using an eraser to generate the light values. I got yelled at for using a little bit of shadow tone this time 🙂 What can I say, values is my wheelhouse and my line work still sucks bad.


About 10-15 mins, Charcoal on newsprint.

Drawing Transfer and Value Blocking

I remembered to take some WIP shots! Not as many as I wanted to, but hopefully enough to get the idea across. Oil painting is a super difficult medium to learn, but for every 50 bad strokes, I’d get a good stroke that’s making me fall in love with painting with oils. It’s so buttery and nice, there’s just a feel as things slide into place that is really cool.

Started the evening transferring the drawing. I covered the back of my drawing with a soft charcoal, then taped it into position on my canvas. I used a knitting needle to trace the outlines of the drawing, I guess burnishing? The charcoal sticks to the canvas as so:


Then I go over those lines with thinned burnt umber to establish the drawing on the canvas, as the charcoal would wipe off. I forgot to clean up the excess charcoal you can see between the lines and my initial white was grey…took me a minute to figure out why!


Then I got into a groove and forgot to take pics. Sorry! First I laid in the shadow blocks with thinned burnt umber. Then I blocked in the lighter areas of the skin with white, though I messed up and thinned it too much (I messed up a LOT but I learned even more, so it’s all good!).


The last step I was able to get into tonight was the final step of the value blocking, where I soften the lines where the values meet up. At the same time, I’m starting to refer back to the model rather than my drawing. I hold three brushes, one clean and dry to soften with; and one each for the brown and white. This is where oils shine, the amount of open time to push and pull and slide things around. You can see where I got caught at the end of the session moving paint around the model’s left eye. I significantly reshaped the eyes and lower lip, as well as the hairline and shadows on the forehead to match the current session.


I was getting a little discouraged as I struggled with the unfamiliar medium in the 3rd pic, but as I got the slightest bit more comfortable and started fixing and tweaking and some areas started to come together, I ended on a definite upbeat note, excited for the next session.

It’s a really nice bunch of students and the instructor is completely amazing. She can give me two or three short pointers that get me through the trouble spots. Some of the other students didn’t believe I’ve never painted in oils, or on canvas, or drawn portraits…until clean up time. I had no idea how to wash the brushes or really anything on how to clean up.

Refining the portrait drawing

Second portraiture class. Adding shadow volumes, just roughing them in to transfer to canvas. This drawing will just be a guide after the transfer step. Also adding and changing some detail, since the model got a new haircut this week.


Then finishing up the torso, adding in more detail and final proportional tweaking. It’s not quite where I want it to be, but frankly I’m kind of blown away that it turned out as well as it did. Last time I drew a human face was in the 80s! I credit the instructor, I just did what she said. And really, most of the people struggling in the class think they’re too advanced to listen to the basics and every fault in their drawing is due to not following her instructions.


Next step will be to prep and prime the canvas with a mid-value earth tone (look at me with the lingos!) and transfer the drawing to it.

Eye studies and Fast sketching

First up a bit of home study for the portraiture class. Really struggling on eyes, so I spent an hour or so working on eyes from a book on chiaroscuro. Mostly focusing on defining the structure around the eye and the lids.


A couple of the better sketches from Drawing 101. These are 18×24, conte. The thing I like about this class is how loose it is, really low pressure and rapid fire drawings. These two were longer 5 minute drawings after lots of 2-3 minute drawings. Draw, spin the table of still life, draw, etc.



Oil Portraiture Rough Sketch

My first night of the Intro to Oil Portraiture class. We learned how to eye measurements to create a rough drawing that will serve as the basis for future drawing and eventually the portrait. Live model, HB pencil, 14×17.