In this exercise I was instructed to ‘Use charcoal, a putty rubber and pick two objects with shiny reflective surfaces. Decide on the size of the composition, use A1 or A2 paper so that you can do bold strokes. Try to fill the paper with your objects showing the reflected light and shade of one object falling on another and try to leave very little background space.’
I went out and purchased a few objects specifically for this exercise, after putting them together in pairs to see how they reflected off each other I settled for what I think is some kind of sieve and a ladle. I chose A2 for the composition because my drawing board wasn’t big so an A1 size drawing board will be my next purchase. The brief said to leave very little background but I wanted to show some of the handle of the ladle and the shadow that it cast but to be honest I could have shown a lot less and made the objects bigger.
I sketched an outline with an H3 pencil then as instructed I drew the basic pattern of shadow first with sweeps of charcoal. I did try hatching but the charcoal seemed to leave too darker marks on the paper even trying the charcoal at different angles, this may have been down to the smoothness of the Carson paper that I used.
I tried to stay away from smudging the charcoal as it said nothing about it in the brief but when I did resort to smudging my finger took too much off so I used a stump that I forgot I had. It was great for smudging the charcoal without taking too much off as well as drawing solid outlines. I think if I had used A1 sized paper I could have probably had a better chance of completing the drawing using hatching.
I did start off with the darker tones on the ladle but just on the inner shadows to make sure I was drawing the correct shape (hopefully in time I’ll get more confident with charcoal) and then once everything was fine I switched to the mid tones and then built up to the darker tones.
For the lightest tones and the light reflected from the bendy lamp I used a putty rubber to erase the charcoal. I bought a couple of Conte knead-able erasers which were much better quality than the ones I bought when starting off the course which stuck to everything in the Bangkok heat and left debris on the paper.
I enjoyed the exercise and proud of the result but I am still lacking the confidence with charcoal. I seem to still have a lot more to know about the different types of charcoal, if time allowed I would have liked to have done this again on an A1 sheet of paper to see if I can do the whole exercise without smudging.