I started working with a new midsize New Wave Art palette a few months ago. It was so gorgeous when it arrived that I hesitated to use it.
Teaching assistant extraordinaire, David Dwyer,
A year after beginning my first charcoal drawing, I’ve been inspired to write a series of articles on charcoal rendering for students who are looking for some concrete answers to help them get started.
Rendering is the second stage in the drawing process, after the block-in has been completed, during which the artist uses value to describe form. Creating a finely rendered drawing in charcoal requires high quality materials and finely honed technique.
My interest in art and painting started at a very early age (I have, in fact, a painting (my aunt saved it) on the wall of my office that I created when I was just 3 years old, and it’s actually pretty good, all things considered). As I grew up I continued to draw, paint and experiment with sculpture. My high school art teacher (the renowned naturalist painter, Robert Bateman, no less!) encouraged me to pursue a career in the arts.
When laying eyes on a finely-rendered charcoal drawing, one's first reaction is often awe. Once the awe settles, one's second reaction is often how on earth did the artist do that? While infinite factors play in to creating a beautifully satisfying drawing (proper measuring, composition, gesture, form, light...), it is imperative to set these factors into motion with the proper materials; and when using these materials, one should prepare them in an exacting manner; and for a finely-rendered charcoal drawing, it behooves one to have finely-sharpened charcoal.
For the simple task of creating your own drawing board, it is best to first consider the size of the paper that you will be using for the drawing. For Fabriano Ingres thicker paper, which is 19 ½” x 27 ½”, it would be best to select a surface that is approximately 2 inches higher and wider (21 ½” x 29 ½”). I usually purchase a ½”x 30”x40” piece of black Gatorboard from Daniel Smith, as it is light, sturdy, and can be cut into smaller pieces without the use of power tools.