Thursday, February 19, 2009

Charcoal Drawings

By Charlie Reese

There are many different media used for art and artists have more choices in tools than ever before. However, many creative people like to stick to the standards. Charcoal drawings offer depth and interest that many other approaches do not. This is especially true for portraits.

Charcoal is ideal for creating portraits for a number of reasons. If you use the medium correctly, you can build a face that looks like a photograph. Advanced charcoal drawings of people almost appear to be three dimensional. Following are some tips to help you get started in creating lifelike charcoal drawings.

Think in terms of depth and shadow when working with this type of medium. Charcoal drawings make the most of contrasting light and dark. You can accomplish a lifelike piece of artwork if you build and shade in order to create depth and shadow. This is the foundation for your work.

You also want to think in terms of building and layering as well. If something is light in shade it will appear closer. You can make parts of the charcoal drawings really stand out if you layer different shades to build up those parts.

For example, when you work on a persons nose, you can make the bridge and the tip lighter then gradually darken the area of the nose that connects to the face. Charcoal drawings are ideal for creating the illusion of depth through shadow because the medium blends so easily.

The amazing thing about using charcoal as a medium for art is that it is so pliable. One dark line can be blended into a whole spectrum of shades if you work with it. You can blend with pencil but the effect isnt nearly as dramatic as it is with charcoal drawings. The medium is very forgiving, too. You can easily erase or blend mistakes away.

I love working with charcoal because of the realistic effects. However, I also love this medium because of the dreamy quality that charcoal drawings have. The blends and shadows blur the lines making the piece look very realistic but they also work to create a slightly blurred image that appears to be an apparition.

One word of caution: if you dislike messes, skip delving into charcoal drawings. You can expect to make a bit of a mess and your fingers will wind up pretty black even when you use blending sticks in your work. This really doesnt bother most artists because art is pretty messy all the way around. - 16651

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