|Minotaur quickie sketch|
powdered charcoal, charcoal pencil
Let me start by saying I love the internet. Social Media, while still massively flawed in many ways, does make it so easy to share information instantly and start a conversation with a ton of people. A few weeks ago I put out a call on Facebook for input on charcoal brands. I've been loving the charcoal lately and now that I am getting more comfortable with it, decided I needed to do some serious testing of the different options to up my game. Namely I wanted to find a charcoal with a smoother and more consistent application than what I have been using. I got some great suggestions and immediately took advantage of all the Dick Blick back to school sales and free shipping to fill out my burnt wood collection. Charcoal is a very tricky mistress. She's messy and flexible which is what makes her fun but a little hard to control sometimes.
So in the spirit of art and the scientific method: I bring you Adventures in Charcoal! (feel free to hum some dramatic music)
Here are a bunch of my new (and some old) toys I will be playing with :
|It's like Christmas! I must have been very, very naughty to get all this coal. |
The new players:
I really wanted to play with some of those big sticks, so tried out a quick experiment with the Nitram charcoals right away with this self portrait below.
18 x 24
nitram charcoal on 300 series Strathmore charcoal paper
Right off the bat I noticed that the Nitram holds onto the paper better than a typical vine charcoal. Often I prefer the 300 series charcoal pad from Strathmore because it has slightly less tooth and so I can float the charcoal on top a little easier, move it around with a brush or chamois and erase to white. The flipside to that is building up darks gets tricky. But with the Nitram I can build it up a bit thicker, get some darker colors and still erase. It doesn't go on quite as smooth as a soft vine charcoal but is still pretty consistent. Plus the larger. firmer sticks really lend themselves to filing into useful shapes which I will discuss more in a later post.
Over the next several weeks I will be experimenting with all of these more and posting my results. So please stay tuned and let me know if you have your own tips and tricks!