November 17, 2011
I chose this piece to draw because the head dress would be challenging to accurately render from direct observation. Rather than the strong single light I would use in the studio to illuminate a subject, the museum has two equal lights above and set at the same distance from the piece. On a very symmetrical sculpture this casts two almost identical shadows that create a very deep shadow where they overlap. A 3/4 profile view seemed favorable.
I cut a piece of Canson bristol vellum and taped it to a slightly larger sheet of card stock held in a clipboard. I put down a few loose strokes of vine charcoal.
I smear the charcoal with a paper towel and indicate as accurately as possible key measurements. An elderly gentleman watching me make these initial marks told me that if I continued to take so long between strokes I’d be his age by the time I finished the drawing. I told him the next fifteen minutes would be more entertaining and he stuck around to watch.
Indications of height and width
Using straight lines to draw shapes
I begin to lift out tone with a kneaded eraser.
I switch to a darker piece of charcoal and finish shapes.
Back to the kneaded eraser to lift out lights.
Still using straightlines to draw shapes. The gentleman watching me for the past 45 minutes told me, “now you’re getting somewhere” and “I like how you use that putty” referring to the kneaded eraser.
A little into the second session. I am now using a 4b graphite pencil to render after softening the charcoal by lightly dabbing with a Viva paper towel. Unlike most brands the Viva towel does not have a patterned weave or embossing.
I use a blending stump to push some of the graphite into the paper surface which has loosened up nicely after all of the lifting with the kneaded eraser. The back and forth has broken up some of the paper fiber which creates a subtle texture that I like.
A close up. Clicking on any image will also show an enlargement.
Using 5b and 7b pencils I finish rendering. In this case I work from top to bottom and will then use an HB to make adjustments to the background and a sharpened white chalk for highlights.