Thursday, November 19, 2009

Child Portrait, step-by step, in charcoal #2

I'm sorry this is not a good quality image, it was still on the easel. You can see I've refined and softened the skin. Still working with vine charcoal here. By the way, the finger cots are not used now because once you get a lot of charcoal on the page, they tend to pick it up, so I have switched to a maul stick.
Ordinarily, I don't like portraits of small children with open mouth smiles, because young children have gaps between their teeth that create a snaggle-toothed look. But this little boy has nice close teeth. This is not really a finished portrait, but a study for a larger oil I will be doing next.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Child Portrait, step-by step, in charcoal

I like to begin portraits with a charcoal study. Actually I was this far along before thinking my blog readers might be interested, so I'm sorry I didn't take some pictures earlier. You can see the grid lines I used for placement, and you can see I massed in the shadows using soft vine charcoal. I sort of work back and forth with the charcoal and an eraser, putting in darks and taking them out, till it gets to where I want it.

Here is the set-up in my studio. There is the image on the computer screen. I like working from the computer because it is so easy to enlarge the image. Any artist who has tried to work from a photograph, even 8" x 10" size, knows what I'm talking about. As you can see, I made it easier on myself here by converting the photograph to black and white.

For you trivia buffs, I know this looks like a condom... It is a finger cot. I like to use my pinky finger to steady my hand, and this keeps skin oils off the paper.