Mixing Charcoal and Graphite

Spock needed more intricacy to describe the complexity of his face so today I began mixing charcoal and graphite into this drawing and it’s working really well.

The problem that I’m having with charcoal is that it sort of skids across the top of the page hitting all the upraised ridges and not dropping into the troughs of the paper. Even though I have my charcoal pencils sharpened to a dangerous point I still can’t fill in those tiny gaps.

You can see this difference in texture on the right side of Spock’s face, to the right of his nose. Under his right eye is charcoal and graphite with a nice smooth texture then a bit further down it’s much more rough.

In addition to the texture, the charcoal goes from black to super black and lacks the subtly that graphite can achieve. Yet graphite could never rise to the deep dark of charcoal with as much ease.

I determined that the combination of them both would unite their two strengths and provide me with ranges I could never reach before.

Detail to show complexity with mixing charcoal and graphite

The challenge here though, is to be careful with how much graphite I put down and where I put it. If you put too much graphite on the page it flattens the page, burnishes the graphite and prevents the charcoal from ever sticking there.

This was the issue with a lot of my previous Fandom Fitness drawings. I was starting with graphite first and then when I wanted to darken with charcoal I couldn’t do it. The charcoal wouldn’t stick.

Spock drawing in charcoal and graphite

Previous Spock Posts

Daily Composition

I’m slowly getting better at these. This is the first daily composition with a figure that I like. Not because the figure is great, but because I feel I captured and communicated what I was thinking well.

Yesterday was the first day in over two months that I’ve been inside a store. With kidney disease and a kidney transplant I have to be extra super careful as I’m taking immune system suppressing medication.

I’ve never experienced shopping during covid-19 yet so the differences were a bit of a shock. I wanted to capture the separation of human interaction through necessity and invention.

daily composition in gouache

What I love most about these daily compositions is that I’m constantly thinking about them throughout the day. I don’t get out much so finding subject matter is difficult. Which leads to every interaction becoming that much more important.

Because of this I’m practicing much more presence than I ever have in the past. For every interaction, situation or happening I experience I try and give it/him/her all my attention.

Modeled Painting in Gouache

Honestly I could spend a lot more time on these. I’m falling into that slippery trap that most every artists falls into of thinking that I “Know this already” and don’t need to work on it.

Every aspect of art is too complex to learn and keep in your head forever. Each skill you learn needs to be honed and worked on often or it will rust and deteriorate. One of the reasons why daily art is so important for me.

As I write this, I’m thinking of starting an oil painting so I don’t get rusty in that area also. So much creativity, so little time! 🙂

modeled drawing in gouache

Daily Gestures and Warm-up

I’m posting in reverse order that I actually completed today.

The more I do these gestures the more I have an urge to do a figure painting. I did many in the past from images downloaded from New Masters Academy. (I highly recommend taking their courses)

What went well?

Lots of art today. Loving the Spock drawing.

What didn’t go so well?

Some sleep challenges so my energy is not the best it can be. I just ordered my Oura ring to help with this. I CAN’T WAIT TO GET IT!

What did I learn and/or how can I do better?

I figured out that mixing charcoal and graphite works really well as long as I start with charcoal and be very careful about how and where I build it up.

Session Details