Focus on Form

Another still life drawing with focus on form, and for this one I tried some different techniques in working up the values.

The Subject


My wife has no shortage of figurines, we have a huge bookshelf devoted to them, luckily they are all mostly figurative and they all make good subjects.



30 minutes into the drawing and I started with the block-in of the major shapes. Even though my strokes here are large and do not reflect the exact contour I still try to be a accurate as possible. One of the troubles I’m having here though is the extreme roughness of the paper, I think it looks terrible when working with smaller details.


1 hour into the drawing and at this point I have picked up a couple of bristle brushes and I’m moving the charcoal around and seeing how I can manipulate it with a brush. One thing I did figure out was not to use my fingers. As soon as I smudge the charcoal with my fingers the rough texture of the paper more apparent and the smooth tones are destroyed.


I really liked how using the bristle brush on the background really smoothed out the charcoal. So I decided to smooth out the entire drawing and get rid of the paper texture all together. Throughout this whole process I’m reminded  constantly of oil painting. I would work like this with oil all the time, smoothing out a painting, removing all hard edges then working back into it was always refreshing.


1.5 hours into the drawing and I decided to stop here. I realized that I could have saved myself a lot of time by just brushing out the entire paper right after the initial block-in then working into the drawing. I had all the major shapes in close accuracy right at the beginning all I needed was a better way of refining the shapes. I’m constantly amazed at how well this process works.


The Setup


Session Details