Welcome to my Art Blog! I paint or draw most weekdays and sometimes finish a painting a day. I fondly call them my "Postcards from Paradise" because it's such a beautiful place the Lord made here for us.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Using Compressed Charcoal

(left) "Arc"
Charcoal and chalk on 
rust colored Canson paper, 11"x7.5"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Although I usually sketch with willow or vine charcoal and occasionally use charcoal pencils for detail, I'm trying out some sticks of compressed charcoal.

I have used it in the past but it has been awhile. One can get nice darks with the stuff, but it is different than using the natural charcoal.

Natural charcoal (such as willow charcoal) is carbonized wood, having been burned over heat with incomplete combustion. Compressed charcoal sticks are charcoal powder mixed with binder. The amount of binder determines the hardness of the stick.

For my use, willow charcoal is an easy medium for sketching the model, especially in quick poses. I can make fast changes with only a swipe of my hand or the end of my shirt (one more advantage to wearing black.)

However, the compressed charcoal is useful, especially when building dark areas. Using it feels much less careless, so it's good to not be rushed. It works well for those longer studies. The charcoal pencils (another compressed charcoal product) are nice for detail, too, especially on smaller work.

These drawings were both drawn with compressed charcoal sticks and charcoal pencils. White highlights were added with the white sticks and pencils.

 (left) "Looking Up"
Charcoal and chalk on 
grey colored Canson paper, 11"x7.5"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


hmuxo said...

These two charcoal drawings are outstanding, Diana. A perfect medium for this kind of sketch!
Love them!!!

suzanneberry said...

your figure work is masterful!!!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Thank you, Hilda and Suzanne!

Karen Bruson said...

Beautiful. Love that bottom pose.

Diana Moses Botkin said...

That was an interesting one to draw, Karen. Thanks!

mary maxam said...

I haven't worked in charcoal for quite awhile, but this is a great review. Your sketches are quite beautiful!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Mary, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed this.

Diane Hoeptner (hep-ner) said...

Beautiful work, Diana!! ....and I didn't know the difference between charcoals, thanks.

Jane Hunt said...

Diana - these are wonderful ! I was just in Potosky and got to finally see your work at the OPA show. Looks great online - even better in person!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

I'm very glad to be able to share with you, Diane.

Thank you for telling me that, Jane. I'm so happy to hear from you!