Monday, 28 May 2012

Day 28: challenge

Ayala created a challenge within the challenge. And that is to do or use something that you haven't yet done or don't use very much.

I didn't have to think too long about what that is for me ....


I've been wanting to try out making a charcoalsketch on top of a coloured background for a while now. But for some reason, I didn't do it yet. Probably because of my dislike for charcoal.

So I thought today's the day! If I don't do it now, it may never get done. "Vooruit met de geit" as they say in Dutch (which means something like: take the bull with the horns and go for it"...)

I always have pages in my sketchbook where I use up al of my leftover paint. So I took one of these pages, made the form of a face, and went over it with white charcoal. Then I took out my black charcoal pencil. Some of you might say that charcoal pencils are not like the real thing. I don't mind. I hate all that black smudge on my fingers. So I use pencils.

Believe me, they smear as much as "normal" charcoal....

There were some things to get used to.

First of all: charcoal pencil is not like graphite. Meaning: softening the pencilstrokes with your fingers is not done. At least: not if you don't want to smear everything around it too.
It's hard to make a subtle shadow. Charcoal is VERY black....
If you use a blender stump you can't use it for anything else. Unless you clean it of course.
You need a special kneadable eraser for it (which I don't have, since I'm not such a huge fan of charcoal).
If you blend it on top of white charcoal, you get, well ... , grey. Which I should have known of course. And I really don't like grey ...
When I was finished with her eyes, the bottom half of her face was (almost) gone. That is because all the charcoal of her face was sticking on my hand...
And on the rest of the page ...
And on the  table I was working on ...
And on the sleeve of my jumper ....
I didn't work on the background anymore,  for fear of smudging her or making her disappear altogether.
I think she will disappear gradually out of my journal. So I didn't take any risk and scanned her right after finishing her.
Then I had to clean the scanner ...

Let me just say: I still don't like charcoal ...

I probably did all kinds of things wrong. Using it in the wrong way, as if it is a pencil. Which it isn't, really.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind getting my hands dirty. I paint a lot with my fingers and spray paint all over my workplace. But I do have a problem with the black dust from charcoal.

And also: I really like what some people create with charcoal. For instance Gretchen, one of the participants in this challenge. That's one of the reasons I wanted to try it out. But I guess it's just not for me.

Glad I finally tried it though ;-)

Here she is: done entirely with white and black charcoal. She looks a bit apprehensive. Probably not looking forward to disappearing in the near future ...

Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow!


  1. Good on you Denthe... for trying something new... and I think she is FABULOUS!!! another pretty little girl... that I sure do hope doesn't disappear off the page... must admit I am not a charcoal fan either... but it is effective over a painted background... if you don't mind all the

    Jenny x

  2. You did a freaking fantastic sketch with something you don't like. :) I suggest you seal your charcoal so it won't disappear on you. If you don't have the fixer in a spray you can use hair spray. Preferably the one you used in the 80's that makes the ozone layer thinner. :))

  3. Hi there! thankyou for stopping by my blog, it was greatly appreciated, I popped over to give your blog some love, and was so taken with your drawing, your blog and art are beautiful
    xx Courtney

  4. HaHa, I know exactly what you mean about the charcoal Denthe, I feel the same way but at least you had a go, which is more than I have done so far! and your drawing has come out very well with lots of detail, I cant see any smudges at all!

  5. I think she is lovely! and the background is beautiful as well! I love working with charcoal but the mess is a pain, I usually spray my work with a fixitif so it doesn't smudge and come off on everything. Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving feedback too, I love to get feedback :)


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