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.


  1. Interesting to see how other artists work, I haven't seen a diagonal grid system before.

  2. That's funny about the finger cot. I don't know if you buy them from an art supplier or not, but I have also seen them in drug stores (in the section where they have laxatives and suppositories)- Don't ask. lol! But I wonder if they would be cheaper there than buying specifically for art.


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