Day 29: A charcoal sketch, in progress
So I mentioned yesterday that part of my headless chicken running around this last weekend involved checking out an art fair, namely LIC Arts Open going on here in Long Island City. Boyfriend and I happened to arrive just as the preopening art auction, which raises money to help fund the fair, was reaching full swing. Never participated in an art auction before, but I’m happy to announce we walked away with this piece that we both loved for a mere $30!
The other many, many things we took home included these gift bags, which were littering the floor of the main hall and were free and up for grabs. I pretended to be gracious and only took one bag at first, but at the encouragement of my neighbor who invited me to the shindig, who assured me that they needed to get rid of all the gift bags THAT night, I went back to took FIVE more. You know what? I’m not ashamed. AT ALL.
Look at that beautiful wrapping paper! And the cute journal! And all those watercolor pencils! And the paints!
But the thing I ended up being most excited about were these charcoal pencils.
I’ve never worked with charcoal before, so I was pleasantly surprised that they come encased in wood (yay to clean…ish fingers), also that I’d just acquired a bunch of them, for free, in four different colors (if you can’t quite read them in the photo: white, peat, burnt earth, and black). Score!
To my surprise, working with charcoal came easy to me, with the heavier saturation (at least compared to color pencils and watercolor) and the need for blending technique that comes with such a dusty medium. In hindsight, I probably should have guessed that this would be the case, given that one of the first mediums I ever learned to color with was soft pastels (I find this to be sort of unusual in itself). Charcoal doesn’t seem too far off.
One thing I’ve drawn pretty much more than anything else over the course of my lifetime is horses (though oddly enough, I’m always drawing them facing left). I figured it would be best to stick with a tried-and-true subject when messing around with an entirely new medium, so I went with it.
My progress so far:
…which is based on:
I’m both pleased and disappointed.
My pleasure comes from two aspects, mainly that
- I’m always drawing anatomically oversimplified horses, so it’s good to force myself to think in much more detail about the proportional makeup of horses.
- Also, I’ve always been terrible at drawing horse hair. If I say so myself, the white’s doing a decent job of highlighting the strands enough to show natural movement.
I was going more for something like this:
You know, where you use white to highlight just enough form and let the base black canvas do the rest.
I’m not sure why I thought I could pull this off, seeing as I’ve never tried anything like that before AND I was attempting it, for the first time, on a detailed-as-A$$ sketch.
It’s odd, I generally count inconfidence as one of my greatest flaws, and then I go and get cocky about shite like this. I’m weird.
More to come.
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BTW, I really did cook up a new batch of the jjambbong from Day 26. It’s still not quite there yet, but I think this might be because I ran out of grapeseed oil and had to substitute sesame oil, I used the wrong mushrooms, and my red pepper flakes are, as I mentioned before, old and have lost a lot of their fresh potency and flavor. Will retry again once Boyfriend and I finally make it out to the Korean market.
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For you charcoal artists out there: Is charcoal like watercolor, where you have to start with the lighter colors than move to the darker? Would love some insights.