View Full Version : Basic 102: Class 4 - WILDLIFE IN CHARCOAL

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06-18-2006, 05:41 PM

Greetings folks. For those who donít know me, Iím that little avatar stuck perpetually at the top of our great little forum: the eye of Horace, the purveyor of all things artÖOkay you got me, Iím merely a mod, greasing the cogs of our little forum from behind the scenes, along with our fantastic array of mods, guides and members.

Our great maestro JayD, the true sage amongst us, has asked if I can take the running of this class. In my usual last minute style, not helped by a recent accident (Iíll just say Iíve a new found respect for Stanley knives, and thank god I can still count all 10 digits!), Iíve fashioned together a class in the good old medium of charcoal and chalk. From the pre-lesson introduction by Jay, it seems some of you are Ďscaredí of charcoal; Iím not entirely sure why, but I hope by the end of this tutorial I will make it one of your new best buddies. ;)



Normally I draw portraits more than other subjects, with particular attention to eyes, eyes being the defining feature that makes or breaks a piece of work. This time I wanted to put a spin on the portraiture side of things, so have gone for the intense gaze of an owl.
The photograph on which I will base this, is by a Matthew Hull, with license rights for usage in commercial projects.

Of course, if youíre prepared to give the medium a try, by all means choose any subject matter you like, itís really only the techniques and medium I want to demonstrate here, subject matter is largely inconsequential.


Iíll start with the paper. Iím using Canson mi-teintes, which is a fantastic paper for pastel drawings, and therefore responds pretty well to charcoal and chalk. One of the bothersome things about pencil drawing, is starting on a white surface and building up all your tones without any real reference to values (unless you have one of those graduation value charts from white to black). A tint gives you an instant mid-tone, which means now all you are primarily concerned with is shadows and highlights Ė the interesting interplays of light, without which nothing would be worth drawing.

Vine Charcoal
Charcoal is amazing stuff. Itís incredibly versatile, remarkably cheap, is fantastic for the beginner, for reasons Iíll explain in a moment, but also lends itself as a beautiful professional medium which can create the most detailed of drawings if so desired.
If youíre relatively new to art and have so far been endeavouring with a pencil, nowís the time to pick up some vine charcoal Ė not only will you love that childhood sense of making a satisfying mess (vine charcoal is mucky stuff!), but the freedom of movement is expressed in its bold strokes. Thereís less need for nitty-gritty details, instant blacks can be made just like that, itís extremely blendable so you can instantly remove those abundance of hard edges, and it is easily corrected and erased. Need I go on?

Vine Charcoal Powder
Iím always looking for ways of saving time, and a great way to do this is to grind down some vine charcoal on a piece of sandpaper, and keep it in a little pot. I used cotton wool balls, dabbed into my powder and then dabbed onto the paper to very quickly build up some very soft layers of tone. Itís used in much of the owlís feathers which can be put together in minutes if not seconds.

Charcoal Pencil
Not strictly necessary. I will be using it very infrequently in this demonstration, but the pencil can give you a little more accuracy and sturdiness, and is often a little more compressed and slightly harder to remove or correct than vine. A sharpened piece of vine charcoal does a very similar job.

Very similar to the charcoal. I have this white chalk in three forms: in a stick, which is a little like using the vine stick charcoal, but less brittle Ė itís much easier to create broad sweeping movements with the medium in this form. I also have the stick ground down into powder and using a dedicated piece of cotton wool (donít mix the blending tools used for charcoal with those used with chalk, as you risk contaminating your whites). Lastly I have the chalk in pencil form, although strictly speaking itís a Faber-Castell Pitt pastel.

Cotton Wool Balls
As mentioned above, I prefer to keep one ball for black charcoal and the other for the white chalk. Sometimes I will blend with my finger, but fingers lift a lot of the charcoal Ė cotton wool gives a very delicate touch, which is great for smoothing edges, or laying down initial areas of tone if dipped into the powder then dabbed onto the paper.

Blending Stump
This is a common blending stump. I use one end for charcoal and the other end for chalk Ė itís better for reaching smaller more detailed areas. Although I am using blending tools, be careful not to overdo it, and blend everything you see.

Putty Eraser
This takes up the charcoal very nicely, and you can either use it as a corrective tool for any mistakes, or as a drawing tool, to mark say areas of feather (in the case of our owl), or to lighten tones which I used for the iris of the eye for example.

06-18-2006, 05:42 PM

My personal approach, although it will vary from drawing to drawing, is to focus on one area – draw that correctly before moving on to the next area. The eyes are the unmistakable focal point to this drawing, and it is where more time will be taken, and the hardest edges added to contrast against the softness of the feathers.
It was Richard Schmid (alla prima oil painter) who switched me onto the idea of creating one part of a drawing that is drawn accurately and carefully, because once you have that, you can use it to measure and build out upon for all other parts of the drawing or painting.

Vine charcoal is very forgiving, so if you lay down some lines that seem to be in the wrong places, you don’t even need to reach for the putty eraser – a clean finger will remove most of it.

I begin by drawing the most dominant eye of the owl. The vine charcoal breaks up a little over the texture of the paper, and goes down very black. To achieve lighter shades and values, blending is the best way to go, either a finger, tissue, cotton wool, stump etc. will take the edge out of the blackness to give you any graduation you need, and will also fill in the paper’s honeycomb texture.
Once I mark in the eye, I take a cotton wool ball and with the lightest of touches take out all those hard edges until I’m left with something very soft. I then re-evaluate the photograph, determine where the darkest darks are, or the hardest edges, and proceed to put them back in. Some of the chalk is used to put in some of the highlights, and I also use my putty eraser to break up the even tone within the iris itself which is reflecting elements of the world beyond.

With my focal more or less complete, I’m not looking for competition by rendering each and every feather (not only because of the time involved), what I want is more of an impressionistic technique. The cotton wool does this job supremely well and extremely quickly. Dip the cotton wool into the powder, dab onto the paper and follow the tones to some degree as seen in your source photograph (or even better – work from life; perhaps not with wildlife though, as they have a tendency for not staying put!). The more powder on the cotton wool, the darker your values. The more you dab at your charcoal, the lighter your values. You can always use a clean part of the cotton wool to further lighten areas, or simply use your finger or an eraser. Once the soft tones of the forehead are in place, I use the white pencil in little flicking strokes to suggest some of the feathery strands that capture the light.

The adjacent eye is created in the same way as the first, but it is less in focus, so I blend a little more and ensure there are no hard edges. If you’re wondering what is a hard edge? Here’s a simplified explanation: Imagine a cartoon. You outline an entire object or character, whether it be Mickey mouse or a Pokemon creature, with a line. You can do the same with drawings and it may suit your style, but too many of these hard edges really pull in the eye and can be distracting if overdone. Stick with many soft edges, and just a few hard to suggest the outline of a form, and if you strike the right balance, you end up with a much more interesting drawing.

Take a quick field trip to find out more about edges, both hard/soft and lost/found:

The lighter areas are added in the same way as the dark. I use a piece of cotton wool, dipped into my white chalk powder and dab it onto the paper. To increase the intensity of the whites, either the stick or pencil is used.
Once the eyes are completed, the rest of the drawing is done within a matter of a few minutes solely using the cotton wool dipped into the powders and applied to the paper to create very soft areas that might suggest feathers. Just here or there, I will add a little flick from the charcoal or chalk pencil to put subtle edges to the feathers.

And there you have it! They may generate a little more mess than your average pencil, but without a doubt charcoal is quick easy and fun. The biggest problem is storing your finished drawings. If you can get hold of some glassine paper, I would cover your charcoal work with that. If you’re in a country where glassine sheets aren’t so easy to obtain (like here in the UK), tracing paper seems to do a very similar job. You might also consider buying fixative and giving it a light spray, although don’t expect fixative to protect your drawings by itself – I’d still recommend the glassine or tracing paper to lay over top whilst in storage.

06-18-2006, 05:42 PM

Finally some links that may be of some use:

Combining charcoal and graphite for realistic drawings:

Drawing with charcoal and brush:

Charcoal and pastel, shading fruit

I shanít be setting any assignments, but Iíd really encourage all those who have kindly taken the time to follow the class, to go buy some vine charcoal. Itís super cheap, as is cotton wool, and if youíve never worked on tinted paper Iím sure youíll enjoy the experience. Iíve yet to see an art shop that does not supply tinted paper suitable for charcoal, or you could place an order next time youíre shopping online!

Mary Woodul
06-18-2006, 06:50 PM
Gavin, a magnificent write up! :clap: :clap: :clap: I am so excited about your class and now reading about white chalk made me jump with joy because I have a set of a 12 pencil tin of Faber Castell Pitt pencils and didn't know how to use it.

I'm off to find my subject!;)

06-18-2006, 07:00 PM
HOOT-HOOT!!!!:clap: :clap: :clap: I just love these Classes.
Thanks so-o-o-o much Gavin!

Your demo drawings are FABULOUS!!! Going to read your write up.

06-18-2006, 07:18 PM
Thanks Mary and Judi!
Mary, does your Faber Castell Pitt pencil collection include some earthy reds? I love drawing with these ones. :)

Off to hit the pillow. Getting late here in pommy land.

Anita Murphy
06-18-2006, 07:19 PM
Gavin - FAB class!!! :clap: :clap: WOw you make it look so easy and I'm sure its not. I need to go dig through my paper supplies and see if I have any coloured ground. Can I do somthing simple like a piece of fruit first?????

06-18-2006, 07:29 PM
w00t cant try this class out..
i have to hurry and catch up lol
:) Good job!

06-18-2006, 07:38 PM
I think this will be my subject - he is so adorable (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=50939&size=big&cat=515) -have been holding on to him for a WDT-but I think he is on call here.
I have some toned paper made for charcoal-so I will use that. I have some Mi-Teines-but seems to be lost at the moment.

I like that idea Anita :thumbsup:

06-18-2006, 07:51 PM
I'll call my suppier tomorrow morning and get some vine charcole. I have the mi-teines. This really looks like fun.

Mary Woodul
06-18-2006, 09:56 PM
Thanks Mary and Judi!
Mary, does your Faber Castell Pitt pencil collection include some earthy reds? I love drawing with these ones. :)

Off to hit the pillow. Getting late here in pommy land.

Yes Gavin, the tin does have the beautiful earthy reds, a brown and a dark grey. Some say Pitt Pastel and others say Pitt Oil Base.

Do you sharpen these, with an exacto knife? I used the charcoal one once, tried to sharpen it and it started breaking.

I have my reference! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/RefLib/showphoto.php?photo=58589)

06-18-2006, 10:54 PM
Gavin, Bravo--a super demo to be sure--I appreciate you taking on this class!!

Robin Neudorfer
06-18-2006, 11:54 PM
Of course, if you’re prepared to give the medium a try, by all means choose any subject matter you like, it’s really only the techniques and medium I want to demonstrate here, subject matter is largely inconsequential.

Does this mean we can do something other than wildlife? Would a still life be exceptable? Or an interior view with light and shadow?

Katherine T
06-19-2006, 01:40 AM
Gavin - in the UK I order my glassine online from Heaton Cooper http://www.heatoncooper.co.uk/ - you find it under pastel grounds - which is in the paper and grounds section. They're very reliable suppliers who pack well.

06-19-2006, 06:39 AM
Wow! Great class and a beautiful drawing of the owl, I love the soft finish that the charcoal/chalk has given it.

A few questions,
Is there a difference between willow and vine charcoal or does it just the name and depend what country you are in?
Cotton wool buds ...do they work as effectively as cotton balls or are they too harsh?
The paper (mi teintes) ...I have no idea what it looks like and it's something that I don't think I will be able to get hold of, I do have some pastel paper in a mid tone but it seems quiet harsh/textured ...is this what the mi teintes is like?

Cheers :)

06-19-2006, 07:11 AM
Anita: Absolutely, please try any subject matter you like, and don't worry if you don't have any coloured paper, you can just use paper and charcoal for the time being to get used to the medium. Look forward to seeing the results.

Pugdoglover: Is that can't try this class out, or can't wait to try this class out! hehe! :D Freudian slip?

Judi: That should work well! It looks like my Nan's donkey, who very sadly had to be put down last week (the donkey of course, not my nan!). I used to ride her when I was a kid, it's a shame, but these things happen. :(
Don't worry about specifically using mi-teines as any tinted paper will do.

Midge: Great to have you onboard - have you used vine charcoal before?

Mary: I use a stanley knife - always cut away from yourself - 3 weeks later and I still can't use my thumb. :'( And no I didn't do it sharpening pencils! :D
The oil based ones are good, but you can't really correct any mistakes with these.

JayD: Happy to help!! :)

Robin: Absolutely, please choose whatever subject you're happiest with. Charcoal and chalk works great with extreme contrasts of light and dark so an interior view with light and shadow ought to work a treat.

Katherine: I was in their shop last summer and have been a few times in the past - it's a good place, and Grasmere is my favourite village. They are about the only place I've seen that sells glassine, but Heaton Cooper's prices are a little higher than most, and when I placed my first order with them, goods arrived damaged, although they did kindly and quickly replace them. They even gave me a link to my website, so I've got to give them a big thumbs up!

Impetuous: Thank you.
Vine Charcoal is made from willow, as is all charcoal, so there's really no difference. I saw some being made in Victorian artist/art critic John Ruskin's Garden, simply by burning pieces of willow in an open fire, and you could buy it from his house, but it was difficult to draw with and came in really thick chunks - worked better ground up as a powder.
No need to buy mi teintes - any tinted paper suitable for pastel or charcoal will work. Mi Teintes, has a textured side (which I used) and a smooth side. If you are after more detail, the smooth side is better, but the textured side has more tooth to hold the charcoal and chalk.

06-19-2006, 07:54 AM

Thank you for a very nice demonstration on how to work with this medium. I love working with charcoal, but always had a bit of difficulty getting the result I imagined - very much like your drawing....seeing your demonstration on how you do it, will help me a lot to get that result.

I am off to go and find my vine charcoal, I only have the big chunks and the pencils. I have the normal white charcoal pencil (which I bought in a set) will that be suitable, instead of the chalk? Silly question but is the chalk the same as those that are being used in a school or is there a difference :confused: I know, but hey that is what's so nice about these classes you learn all sorts of new things :D. Have a reference in mind but have to go and find it first, will post it soon...

Thanks Mary

06-19-2006, 08:13 AM
Ok so I am back and found what I want to do - I know it is not exactly wildlife;) but who can resist an adorable face like this :D



Anita Murphy
06-19-2006, 09:30 AM
who very sadly had to be put down last week (the donkey of cause, not my nan!).

Whew! You had me worried there for a moment!

06-19-2006, 10:18 AM
Just last week, I found some vine charcoal in an old paint box of mine that I hadn't opened for years. The paint was a loss but the charcoal seems fine.

I have cotton balls. Is that the same as cotton wool?

I have the mi tientes paper, which I hate for pastel work anyway so may as well try it with charcoal.

I have a white hard pastel. Will that work for the white chalk?

Now I've got to find a reference pic.

06-19-2006, 11:16 AM
Hi Africanart Mary (sorry I have to use a double-barrel naming convention here so as not to confuse with our moderator Mary.) : You know I've never used a white charcoal pencil, and I've never worked out how charcoal can be white, but yes, I'm convinced it will do the same job and you won't need anything further. Your subject matter is wildlife, albeit a domesticated version. :) That soft fur will work well with charcoal.

Anita: That would have been worrying!

Melisa: I think you're all set to rock n' roll! By all means, use whatever paper you prefer - what is it about the tientes you don't like? I've not done a huge amount of pastel work, but it's pastels that tuned me into the paper brand. I've tried Daler-Rowney before and absolutely detested it.

06-19-2006, 12:10 PM
Melisa: I think you're all set to rock n' roll! By all means, use whatever paper you prefer - what is it about the tientes you don't like? I've not done a huge amount of pastel work, but it's pastels that tuned me into the paper brand. I've tried Daler-Rowney before and absolutely detested it.

I don't like the mechanical looking texture of the hexagonal side and the other side just won't hold enough pastel for me. I like the really soft pastels and tend to lay them on pretty thick. It looks like it might work great with the charcoal, though, because you aren't using it thickly like I do with pastels. It's good quality paper, just doesn't work well for what I was trying to use it for.

06-19-2006, 12:28 PM
Thanks Gavin, you know now that I think about it I also can't figure out why they call it white charcoal, but anyway I got some (drawing) white pastel as well I am sure that that would be good too.

Domesticated they are...fur scary but hey could only try.


Don't worry about calling me Africanart...even I get sometimes confused, not sure if somebody is talking to me or to Mary (moderator) and any other Mary that might sign up here. :lol:

06-19-2006, 09:02 PM
Mary! Dogs Rule!!

06-19-2006, 09:06 PM
Hi Gavin!!!! fantastic lesson im definitely in .. i just have to find a ref pic.. im thinking maybe a lion... i havent done anything much with charcoal yet but i love getting dirty so it should be fun.. im amazed at the soft effects you have been able to achieve !!!

Anita Murphy
06-19-2006, 09:08 PM
Dogs Rule!!
Phooey! :cat: :cat: :cat: :cat: :cat: :cat:

06-19-2006, 09:10 PM
I saw that, Anita!!! OH LOOK!! In your signature--Sheltie Snacks!!!

ps--you do know I own eight cats....

06-19-2006, 09:42 PM
JayD I am with you...they do rule...this one was called Lady Jane for a reason :D she wanted to be pampered just like a real LADY. She was mine, but unfortunately we had to give our two away before we came over. They would not have adjusted very well here. They where trained to protect us, and they where especially protective over our daughter. The male - Fang would have had the dogs here for breakfast :D so it was sad to have given them to another family but they will always be in our hearts (reason why we still did not get any other babies (dogs) again, still pining after our other ones:crying: any way here is a picture of Lady Jane's partner Fang. You got to love them that's all I can say.

Anita I love cats, but back in the day in my household the dogs ruled - I had a pitch black cat (she gave birth on my lap):eek: , my dogs chased her one week - end when we where not at home right in to the road infront of a car, needless to say she did not make it:crying: I was not happy with them for a while. Another reason why I still don't have a cat either...still pining for my black cat.



Anita Murphy
06-19-2006, 10:38 PM
OH LOOK!! In your signature--Sheltie Snacks!!!

06-20-2006, 03:07 AM
Hi Gavin,

Great lessson, fantastic owl...........I'm in and have made a start. Gotta keep my spot on the front bench! :D

Still in the early stages. I'm not sure if you're suppose to paste as you go, but since I won't have access to the scanner again for a while I thought I'd better load it up now even though I haven't had a chance to try any blending yet.

Since I'm in the tropics I thought a tropical theme would be appropriate - too warm for all that fur here!

C&C really appreciated


06-20-2006, 04:30 AM
Haha, looks like we're teetering on a dog vs cat war!
Let's bring them together in harmony. :heart:

Melisa: I take your point, it's either quite a lot of texture or no texture, I guess it all depends on personal preference. The unison pastels (which I like) are wonderfully soft and beautiful to work with, although they do break up over textured surfaces.

AfricanArt (aka Mary R) : I think they just called it white charcoal as a marketing gimmick, after all white pastel's have been around for ages, but I hadn't even heard of white charcoal until about a year ago, here on WC.

Naomi: I can tell by your signature you like wildlife! :) Maybe you'll find love for a new medium and they'll be an extra little square in your signature line, to fit a beloved charcoal wildlife piece of art. :thumbsup:

Brad: G'day mate. Please post, post, post - the more the merrier, and I've got to say, you're off to a fantastic start. If you try blending, go with a really soft touch to begin with, because you'll find that charcoal disappears very easily. Really looking forward to seeing how this progresses, you've got a good strong drawing which now only requires shading. Be sure to keep us updated.

06-20-2006, 06:31 AM
thanks Gavin.. yup wildlife is my first love and i think i have found my first victim hmm or should i say subject.. i have been eyeing this pic off for awhile thought it would be nice to try with charcoal

Mary Woodul
06-20-2006, 06:53 AM
Gavin, great picture! Long ago I had a Cocker, two cats and a howler monkey that slept like that. The Cocker would bathe the kitties. I no longer have any here in the city but I have ten ranch cats that live on the roofs because of the dogs but this one sort of looks like he rules.


06-20-2006, 06:56 AM
wow awesome pic mary !!!! he definitely rules the roost lol

Mary Woodul
06-20-2006, 06:58 AM
I think the one that rules is this one. Just posting a start to see if I'm on the right track. Do you need the reference photo, Gavin?


Mary Woodul
06-20-2006, 07:00 AM
Thank you Naomi, you have a great one to work with there, too.

Anita Murphy
06-20-2006, 07:27 AM
WOW Mary! Looks like you figured this one out!

06-20-2006, 07:30 AM
looks awesome so far mary.. im hoping to get started on mine tomorrow...

06-20-2006, 07:53 AM
Mary, that looks like my cat, Torc!! Not the leopard. The leopard looks fabulous!

06-20-2006, 08:38 AM
I'm going to try. I have a hard time convincing myself I am ready for more than Basics 101, but need to push myself. I have found two pictures of racoons, one a good pose, the other good shading. Will see what I can do.
I love the look of charcoal drawings, but am not happy while I am making a mess and getting dirty. No other way, I'm afraid, to tackle charcoal.

Mary Woodul
06-20-2006, 10:49 AM
Thank you Anita, JayD and Naomi!

Brad, sorry I didn't comment on how good your frog looks, it was pretty early in the morning.:)

Hi Connie!:wave:

06-20-2006, 11:00 AM
Looks like Mary and Brad have already made impressive starts! I still haven't decided on a ref but have a couple I'm considering. I subscribed to the thread but haven't gotten any notices when people have posted so I'll have to remember to check back.

06-20-2006, 12:25 PM
Hi everyone:wave:

I haven't been around in ages, so I hope it's o.k. for me to jump in. I've been going to school and also trying to learn how to paint, so there hasn't been as much time for drawing. But, I definitely want to try to fit this one in. I've always wanted to play around with charcoal and I love to draw animals, so this class seems like a perfect fit. I've had this photo from the RIL in my collection for awhile and have been wanting to tackle it in some way, so I think I'll do that now. I have to go out and buy some vine charcoal so I can get started.


Mary, that looks beautiful, so far!


06-20-2006, 12:53 PM
Mary - Lovely start - beautiful creature, the Snow Leopard.

Brad - Lovely drawing - looking forward to the finish.

Gavin - I wasn't confident about where I was going with this so I have gone with your photo reference so at least I'd know what I was aiming for. Besides, I love owls. No vine charcoal, I'm afraid. I wish I had some as I suspect I could get a finer line than I can with the pencils. I've used Derwent Charcoal pencil Dark, Derwent Pastel Pencil Chinese White, A Peel & Sketch Charcoal pencil - good for turning into dust too! And a trace of Cretacolor Sanguine chalk pencil. Paper is an Italian tinted paper called Rigacci - nice shades, little tooth. I found this really hard but surprising quick. Maybe it's the intensive two weeks of sketching I did in Class 3. Anyway here it is. I think I've covered more of the paper (mid-tone) than I should have. Personally I'm quite pleased with the result since I hadn't used any of the pencils before. HATE getting my hands dirty:eek::D Maybe I'll have the courage to try another reference before this class is over. Thanks for a great tutorial.
By the way - it's a photo, not a scan. Getting a bit late in the afternoon for photography here too.


06-20-2006, 02:22 PM
:eek: Hate to post this right below Robyn's gorgeous owl!

This is harder than you made it look! This was not the best color of paper for this subject, but the best I had. I made a start and got stumped so I went ahead and scanned it as that usually seems to make the mistakes jump out at me. I do see some things I need to fix, but other than those I'm not sure what to do. Should I cover more of the paper with a midtone charcoal, or leave the paper as the midtone? It looks very unfinished to me with so much paper showing on the forehead, but that is all midtone value.


06-20-2006, 03:06 PM
Melisa - I will wait for Gavin's official opinion, but I reckon you've done exactly what you should have done. The dog is GREAT :clap::clap::clap: It's a lovely drawing, beautiful expression you've captured in the eyes. And the skin FEELS real. I'm the one who covered too much paper.:(


06-20-2006, 03:20 PM
Robin - I love your owl nicely done.

Melissa - I think you have done it :clap: helps me a lot looking at it, started mine as welll but got it all wrong but looking at others I think I'm getting it:D


Mary Woodul
06-20-2006, 04:39 PM
Melissa and Robyn, fantastic work as far as I can see. We will wait for Gavin's C&Cs but you both seem to find your comfort zone with this medium.

06-20-2006, 07:01 PM
Back for a frog update...........

:eek: Wow, the drawings coming up so far are fantastic. Gavin - I can feel all that elbowing on the bench now.

Robyn, love your owl and Melissa your dog looks great. I'm with Robyn the expression you captured in the eyes is a real winner.

Mary really looking forward to the next snow leopard post, wasn't game to try all that fur myself.

Gavin, I've got a bit further with the treefrog. The wet look is hard work, but I think I'm getting there. I'm really enjoying the medium and am surprised at just how much control you can get with a bit of patience. I'm having trouble getting thin tight lines and really black blacks, any suggestions?


06-20-2006, 09:06 PM
Hey Gavin! :wave: Great job you are doing here-it is all so appreciated. I'll be jumping in in a day or two-need to make headway on a commission.

Wow Brad-he shines!!!!! I love your frogger!!!

Mary-Ohhhh such a beautiful ref and the work you are doing is simply marvelous!!!!

Naomi-Love your ref-I did that ref in charcoal in class 12-and we worked with medical swabs-which was great for the texture of his mane. A medical swab is cotton swab-only 10 steps up as the cotton does not fall/fray off and you can use it 'forever'--at least till the drawing is done---and then some. They sell them in the pharmacy area of the drug store. 100 for $1-if you are interested.

Melisa-Oh such a glorious dog!!!! (DOGS RULE!!!!!!!!:thumbsup: :thumbsup: )

Robyn-Great owl---the texture is wonderful!!!

Don't forget to rate this thread ALL!

Anita Murphy
06-20-2006, 09:10 PM
WOW look at these amazing animals!
Looks like some people have been practicing in private!

06-20-2006, 09:17 PM
Brad - That frog really has a slick, rubbery look to his skin that is just perfect!

06-20-2006, 10:58 PM
brad i missed your frog before :-( its looking gorgeous and you have captured that wet look you are going for very well!!! looks all slippery lol

Robyn - love your owl especially those fluffy feathers at the front great rendering gorgeous eyes as well !!!

Melissa - wow your dog is really special so expressionate.. he makes me sad looking at him lol i love his cute puppy eyes and adorable nose and muzzle!!

ok here is my start so far im loving playing around with the charcoal

Oh and thanks Judi for the tip on those medi swabs i will keep my eye out for them !!!!! they sound great lol cause my cotton wool buds keep falling apart lol


06-21-2006, 01:46 AM
hi guys another update :-) gavin i am having so much fun with this medium and technique i found using a paintbrush helpful to put the charcoal on as well... i love how you can be a bit looser with the charcoal... i think you have a convert !!!!

06-21-2006, 03:32 AM
Mary - your Cheetah is looking beautiful and sleek
Robyn - Great! the small feathers around the beak look so soft
Melisa - Gorgeous soulful expression in the eyes
Brad - The frog looks great, you have really nailed that wet look of the skin
Naomi - Looking good so far, very magestic

This is mine so far. I tried hard to do the way you suggested Gavin and start with one area but I got really confused and it felt more natural for me to map the whole thing out.
ref pic was from the library here at WC

Off to do some more!

06-21-2006, 03:39 AM
thanks impetuous i like yours so far got the gaze happening right from the start!!!.. i have to work as a whole as well otherwise i get lost lol and esp with the ref you have picked it is easy to get lost on i did the same cat in cloured pencil awhile back a challenge indeed lol cant wait to see your update

06-21-2006, 03:59 AM
Naomi - Well done with your lion. You are achieving lovely whispery softness and depth in the mane. I couldn't get enough control for that - maybe a paintbrush is the answer. Now I'm going to have to find another reference because this class is already so much fun.

Brad - Your frog is too real. I've had a phobia since childhood and have trouble even looking at a photo. I was peeking at your early post out of the corner of my eye because I was enjoying your drawing - now he's all slippery and far too real! So, fantastic effort - now will you put him away!:D

Bec - Lovely cat's eyes - impatient for more!


06-21-2006, 04:06 AM
okay my last post for the night lol.. im supposed to be going out to the movies.. but im dying to finish this pic lol having to much fun... do any of you guys ever find it hard to ge out of drawing mode once you start lol.. i walk around like a zombie for ages if i have been drawing for awhile lol
ok heres an update still a bit to go
Naomihttp://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Jun-2006/76807-lion3.jpg i can never seem to get the colour to look true to the image grrr lol

06-21-2006, 04:58 AM
Naomi: We have a convert to the charcoal religion! You now have to shave a stripe down the middle of your hair, wear platform shoes and dance whenever there is a full moon! Or you can just be one of those on the sideline converts, who enjoy the medium without the rituals. ;)
Seriously. I like your choice of subject matter, and your paper tint suits it well. For long hair like this a paintbrush (especially a stiffer hogs hair brush) is perfect. I used to always go in for tight realistic drawings, and I still like it, but over the past couple of years, I'm really appreciating the looser approach a whole lot more. Just check out one of my favourite artists - Richard Schmid (http://www.richardschmid.com/) to see how 'loose' can still be very realistic, and leave a lot more to the imagination.

Mary: Wow, look at his eyes, he does look like a roof watchguard cat.
I also like your drawing subject matter - you're welcome to post to the reference if you like, but unless you're going seriously wrong, there's no need, and I think you're off to a cracking start.

Connie: It doesn't matter what level you're at, it's just important to join in - everyone's on their own path, set at their own pace, and the only important thing is to practice, practice, practice, learn, experience and improve. Hmmmm, I guess if you're ultra careful, you could use this medium without making a mess - I tend to make a bigger mess with oil paints or pastels.

Anne: Of course you can 'jump' in - we've only just begun, but folks can join in whenever they like!
I love the pose, and hope you get hold of your charcoal very soon. ;)

Robyn: Way to go! The pencils have done the job - it's a slightly different approach - a little more drawing involved and harder edges throughout, but the tones are lovely.
I used photography too - I used to scan, but it can make a bit of a mess on the scanner, and the scanner struggles with the highlights sometimes. Not that photography isn't without it's difficulties, as you can see from my photos, trying to get the correct white balance, photograhing indoors on a bleak day, isn't easy!

Melisa: I like it! I like it a lot. I actually like the colour of the paper, and maybe you're used to taking a tighter line, or have this desire to replicate more of the details or value in your reference, but I would actually be tempted to stop right there. Of course the choice is yours, but I like it as it is, and any further working could seriously end up as over-working the drawing.

Brad: Excellent, he's now starting to stick out from that tree as a solid three dimensional form. I like where it's heading. I think the wet look is simply down to the correct placement of those white highlights - without the chalk there's no way you'd achieve it. And he is looking wet"
If you want the really dark blacks, either try less blending, or buy yourself a cheap can of fixative. Give it a light spray from a distance of 30cm, leave it a few minutes - if necessary spray again, and you should find your next layer of charcoal goes down much darker without removing so much of the previous layer.

Judi: Looking forward to it. ;)

Impetuous: You have to do whatever's the most comfortable with yourself, but if you are feeling brave, it's good to take yourself out of your comfort zone and try something different, but naturally one step at a time, and I think trying the medium is a big step in itself.
Your initial drawing is looking good - the features all seem to be in the right place. If you blend it out just a little, and build up, it's going to look great.

06-21-2006, 05:57 AM
Okay, I'm calling mine done.
I had no cotton wool to blend so had to make do with a soft brush, an ancient stump I found in the bottom of my pencil box and trusty old fingers!
I did for the first time ever use sand paper to get a fine tip on my vine charcoal ...awesome tip (and you can save those precious dust bits to use again)
It's a bit scrappy/messy ...I couldn't get that smooth polished look by blending and I'm not sure if it was because I didn't use the cotton wool balls, or the texture of the paper.
I am so glad that I had a go at this ...in fact it may be my new favourite way of drawing! Next I want to have a go on the smooth side of the pastel paper to see how much of a difference it makes.


06-21-2006, 07:31 AM
Who needs a smooth blended look when you have that! Wow, you didn't a superb job impetuous! :clap:

06-21-2006, 08:15 AM
Hi All,
I am too scared to try this myself after having made a mess in my office once, but what a great class and postings.

Gavin, excellently done in all aspects.

Class, awesome talents.

06-21-2006, 08:54 AM
Hi There

Firstly - all of you have excellent drawings here:clap: :thumbsup:

Well let's just say that I have single handedly managed to turn my "domesticated wildlife" as Gavin has put it, into wildlife. It was a struggle, I got it with the eyes then completely lost it after that. I think my focus mechanism is on it's last breath ..... probably trying to let me know I need this upcoming holiday, which makes me wonder should I even bother taking my sketchbook...anyway getting of track here...:D

As I said got it with the eyes, then something went wrong when I went down to the mouth and other areas, then when I was done I noticed my proportions are completely off as well. It is FRUSTRATING :mad: because I have used this technique with other projects in Pastels and I have even used it with charcoal (the piece in my signature) so I am giving up...for the moment anyway, just wanted to post it to let you know that I have tried and maybe get some help from you guy's then I am going to try it again later...probably when I get back from vacation.

So here goes...:cat:

Mary R


06-21-2006, 09:20 AM
Mary - I think he looks pretty good! That's a great nose and noses are hard (for me anyway). I think the mouth lines go out at more of a horizontal angle than they do on the original, which makes the muzzle appear wider. I'll bet if you changed them to a more vertical angle, you'd be very happy with it. Either way, you've caught his "happy look."

Impetuous - Beautifully done kitty. I love the way it seems to just appear right out of the paper.

Naomi - Looking good! I did this same ref pic a couple of years ago in pastel. Or maybe it was colored pencil. My SIL begged it off me and now I can't seem to remember which it was, LOL. Anyway, yours is looking great.

Mary Woodul
06-21-2006, 11:12 AM
Melissa, I can't get over your dog, I just love the expression.

Brad, what a great shiny texture you have achieved on your frog. It looks great.

Naomi, you really have the knack for working with charcoal. That mane is astounding.

Impetuous, that cat is adorable and so well rendered.

Mary, Nice expressive lines on the dog.

Gavin, I love this class and the medium. Thank you for doing this. We know you are a very busy man, that probably works more hours than you should.;)

Here is another update but I'm afraid Iv'e got too much white on it now and I can't seem to render the impression of plush fur.:o


Not a very good picture either, now that I see it.

06-21-2006, 11:22 AM
Mary (mlelevier)- Oh, what a beautiful face on this!
Thank you for the compliments on my pooch pic, Mary and everyone!

06-21-2006, 06:55 PM
Hi all, thanks for the comments on the treefrog :)

I didn't get a chance to play with it last night, but just wanted to say that the work everyone is posting is fantastic. :clap: I think you're all too hard on yourselves.

The way the technique in each posting is so different is giving me heaps of great ideas - I think I'm a convert as well.

Great class Gavin

Anita Murphy
06-21-2006, 07:16 PM
Can someone lend me some energy and time so I can join in? :crying:

Mary Woodul
06-21-2006, 07:41 PM
Thank you Melisa!

I can't seem to get my whites right or maybe I overdid it.:confused:


06-21-2006, 07:47 PM
mary i think you are being too hard on yourself!!! i love your cat especially his fluffy paws i think you are rendering the fur really well !!!

06-21-2006, 09:25 PM
Guys, I am in the middle of writing a huge marketing tome for my company which is due next week so I have been spending the last couple of months mired in research. I am following the classes and I have to say you guys are blowing me away--I LOVE that tree frog and Mary, Mary Moderator, there is nothing wrong with your widdle kitty.

Mary, I like your dog--probably may still need some work but the face reminds me of the great Al Lewis (granpa munster--and this is a compliment by the way). It is loaded with heaps of character. Hey Dog Vs Cat--could this be Armarygeddon--the clash of the Mary's!!!

06-21-2006, 09:27 PM
..and speaking of cats--impetous--that is a great crop!!!!

Naomi--the king is coming along nicely. I cannot wait to see it finished!!

06-21-2006, 09:33 PM
Robyn, I like your version of Hoots the Owl--you really went into a lot of detail. I remember this marvelous artist that I knew as a theatre major in college who attended a make up work shop that I also attended and her make up project was this incredibly detailed owl on the face that had everyone cowering behind their make up brushes. Irene Corey, the instructor for this workshop actually did not like it as a make up but liked it as art because the detail would be lost on stage but honestly NO ONE wanted her to remove that make up. It was sad to watch it disappear under the cold cream. This reminds me of SKY's owl--a work of art.

Melisa, it may have looked harder but you certainly pulled it off. Look at those eyes. If I had a problem, I think I would go to that dog for advice. He looks so wise. Wonderful!

06-21-2006, 09:34 PM
Sula, again that tree frog is magnificent!!

06-21-2006, 10:08 PM
ok i think i am finally done on this pic lol... but i may see something i want to change in a day or so lol.... i had so much fun working in this medium im going to find another ref pic and do another one!!! http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Jun-2006/76807-finishedlion.jpg hmm after posting i see i need to blend a bit more on the face lol

06-22-2006, 01:39 AM
ok im finally happy with the lion lol did some more blending and finally got the scan to llok like the colou it is in real life lol.. one of these days i will get a digital camera lol either that or read the manual for the scanner program lol.. hmm i think i will hold ou for the camera lol....
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/22-Jun-2006/76807-finishedlion1.jpg thanks everyone for your comments and Gavin i might see you out next full moon lol i love this medium thanks for introducing me too it.. ok off to find another ref picture lol...

06-22-2006, 01:54 AM
Hey Naomi..........Great lion, the fur looks fantastic, :cat:like you could really get your fingers knotted in it.

I'm very impressed with the white highlights on his nose. Did you have to spray fixative to get it so white, or just build it up slowly?

06-22-2006, 05:51 AM
Hi everyone,

Finished off the treefrog (I think). Robyn....Time to look away.:D

It was mostly detailing the tree - which I don't think worked quite so well, and ended up being a bigger job than I realised.

I had a lot of fun with this one and have started looking for a new ref already. May be some scaly skin next :wink2:


Mary Woodul
06-22-2006, 06:36 AM
Good morning all! Thank you Naomi!

Naomi, that is an incredible lion and I can't get over how you achieved the fine hair.

Brad, another very skilled artist at this technique. The highlights of wetness is just superb on your frog.

I really love this technique,I will have to hunt down some other beasty.

06-22-2006, 08:41 AM
Brad wow you have done a fantastic job on the frog!!!!! he looks so wet and slippery and alive i love it !!! great detail on the branch as well.. thanks for your comments on my lion i ha lots of fun with it... the white highlights i did by starting off by using a cotton bud and placing them where i wanted them then gradually building up more layers with a paintbrush loaded with white chalk then used the chalk to lay in more detail added layers slowly then fixed at the end and applied another couple of layers.. its amazing how much the mi tientes would hold after the fixative like working fresh all over again.. this was even on the smooth side.. i could have kep going but i wanted it to look a bit looser than my usual stuff...
Mary your more than welcome!! i love your kitty you should be proud!!! as to the fine hair thankyou its amazing what a pointed kneaded eraser can do lol

Mary Woodul
06-22-2006, 08:52 AM
Guys, I am in the middle of writing a huge marketing tome for my company which is due next week so I have been spending the last couple of months mired in research. I am following the classes and I have to say you guys are blowing me away--I LOVE that tree frog and Mary, Mary Moderator, there is nothing wrong with your widdle kitty.

Mary, I like your dog--probably may still need some work but the face reminds me of the great Al Lewis (granpa munster--and this is a compliment by the way). It is loaded with heaps of character. Hey Dog Vs Cat--could this be Armarygeddon--the clash of the Mary's!!!

Ooops JayD, I forgot to thank you for your comment. I shouldn't post at 5:30am.:o

Naomi thank you again and I will keep in mind the pointed kneaded eraser.

06-22-2006, 10:28 AM
This racoon is finished, I think. I had two major problems. I am sure I have some vine charcoal, but couldn't find it and used compressed charcoal, both black and white. I wonder if this gets as dark as vine charcoal, certainly couldn't get a sharp point or detail. And the paper, Strathmore Greyscale, is 9" x 12", too small to start with eyes that have any expression. I think I should do another, this time just the head of an animal. I am not sure whether I used the color of the paper, shown at the top of the image, enough.
I am particularly impressed with the expressions that are shown on the animals posted so far. The shinyness of the frog is a wonder to me. Mellisa, that dog looks so convincing, whether that is his true color or not. Love the lion and leopard, good fur and mane. The cat crop gives a special version of the familiar face.
I have a question about fixatives - do you use them regularly to finish off a charcoal drawing?

Anita Murphy
06-22-2006, 10:53 PM
Every time I come and look at this class I sneak away feeling guilty at not having started yet!

Mary - your leopard is breathtaking!

Connie - I love the racoon - he looks like he's been caught red handed!

Impetuous - your pussy cat is superb!

Naomi - Fabulous job on that mane!

Brad - that frog is so ready to leap straight off the page - fantastic!

Robyn - Beady eyes!!

I'm hoping to start this this weekend - my charcoal arrived today! So now I have no excuse!

PS Hope I didn't miss anyone out!

06-23-2006, 04:23 AM
Reinhard: Ah, are you one of these office artists, who draws in their break times? I can imagine that charcoal wouldn't be too favourable if you start getting charcoal smudges all over your equipment and paper work. :) Thanks for stopping by.

AfricanArt: You sound like you're being far too harsh on yourself, the proportions are really not that far out - what you may have found difficult is achieving the tones in the fur from the photograph because there's very many light subtle areas and less extremes, the darker areas only lie with the eyes, nose and mouth. What may help to define that form a little more, is when you put in the few strokes to suggest the fur - say for example the white strokes at the top of the head - I would draw them in a more circular curved formation to follow the rounded form.
Off anywhere exciting for holidays? Be sure to TAKE your sketchbook! No artist should go away without one! I'll be off myself in a couple of weeks, driving all over France.

Mary: I can tell you're enjoying yourself. :) Very nice drawing, and lots of soft edges in the body which is good and doesn't distract from the head. It's difficult to judge your whites, because photographing charcoal and chalk is hard - the light refracts from different angles depending from where you're viewing it. Sometimes I've done drawings that looked fine as I drew it, but then I saw it from another angle and seen that the whites were too extreme. You may be able to reduce the effect with an eraser if you're careful.

Naomi: Another one enjoying themselves! What a lovely job with that mane, the softly softly approach works a treat. I'm looking forward to seeing the next one - do you have something specific in mind?

Brad: Nice work dude! I really like this piece - you know how to use lost and found edges to define your forms and the smooth body really pops out from the texture of the tree.
Scaly skin works well - I did a demonstration of an alligator a year or so ago using charcoal and white pastel, and the medium really seems to suit those reptilian textures.

Connie: What a cute little critter. I've never seen a racoon in life. Compressed charcoal usually goes down pretty dark - it can be harder to achieve the subtle values because of this, and you can always sharpen it down on a piece of sandpaper, or rub it vigorously on a piece of paper until you have a sharper point.
Some people swear by fixatives and will always use them, others will never use them, because they think they spoil the finish of a piece. Several coatings will help protect a drawing, but don't be surprised if the surface can still be removed with the touch of a finger.

06-23-2006, 06:49 AM
Gavin - I was hoping to be back in class with another drawing - but major disappointment, I couldn't get willow charcoal here locally - ended up buying a stick of compressed charcoal but it is no better than the pencils. So I'll just have to admire everyone elses work:

Mary R - i think Melisa is right, the mouth seems too wide, apart from that it's a gorgeous dog. I'm looking forward to your holiday sketches.;)

Judi - TY for liking my owl.

Naomi - Lion is beautiful, his mane is wonderful.

Bec - Your cat is exceptional! So little charcoal saying so much. I think you've done this before:thumbsup:

JayD - TY for your very kind words & great story.

Brad - The glimpse of Frog i caught looked too, too real. I'd love to have been able to study your branch. I look forward to your next drawing so I can linger and admire it. Please not a Cane Toad!:eek: I promise, I'm 'normal' in every other respect.:p

Connie - Love our racoon (and your self-portrait in the other thread). As Anita says, he's got that look of being caught in the act.

Mary - I don't see a problem with the whites - your snow leopard looks so soft and his feet are great. A real beauty.

Anita - Waiting, waiting......


Mary Woodul
06-23-2006, 07:09 AM
Gavin, thank you! Yes. I think this is a medium I will try often, in fact I am doing the JayD's image of the WDT in charcoal. It is not living wildlife but as a landscape it is, so I will post it here when finished, also.:)

Connie, cute racoon and nice expression!

Anita, thank you!

Robyn, thank you! Hope you can do another one, your owl is fantastic.;)

06-23-2006, 09:29 AM
Robyn - you're joking! I thought the stuff was everywhere! You'll have to find a willow tree and make your own. ;)
I'm not really advocating that everyone goes and chops down their local willows for a few sticks of charcoal. ;)

Mary! Great to have a convert. I really think the best thing an artist can do, is try every medium out there - well most of the major ones anyway. pencil, charcoal, pastel, sanguine, watercolours, acrylics, oil paints etc, because not only do you get to practice drawing lots, but you learn new techniques and ways of doing things in one medium that can often translate to a degree or teach you something new about another.

06-23-2006, 09:42 AM
[quote=Zarathustra]Robyn - you're joking! I thought the stuff was everywhere! You'll have to find a willow tree and make your own. ;)
I'm not really advocating that everyone goes and chops down their local willows for a few sticks of charcoal. ;)

I'm sure to be able to get it in Arezzo or Cortona - just need to get there. I did think of making my own!:D Be easier than trying to explain what I'm looking forward in Italian.:(

06-23-2006, 10:50 AM
Are you an Aussie living in Italy? In the land of art and culture, I'm surprised they don't just hand it out to everyone for free! Castiglion Fiorentino looks fantastic.

06-23-2006, 11:03 AM
thanks gavin im loving this medium i found a gorgeous pic of a snow leopard im thinking of doing that next but still thinking thinking lol i love this medium so much i probably will have a dozen of them on the go lol... hmm by the way what is sanguine? im very new to the art scene so im still working out what everything is and how you use it lol

06-23-2006, 11:05 AM
oops i forgot to say thanks robyn and present for your comments.. robyn wow i thought italy would be an art capital lol fancy not having willow charcoal lol.. i live in a small country town with hardly any supplies but we have that :-) hope you can find some soon !!!
Connie love the startled expression on your racoon!! are you going to do another pic as well?

06-23-2006, 11:34 AM
Oh, I love the lion, the leopard and the frog! Everyone is finishing up so well. I've got major internet problems at the moment but I have a quick question to ask before I get kicked out again:

What do you do when the local color is white? I didn't draw my own pooches because they have a lot of white in their coats. Would you use the white chalk for those areas? Or only in areas where the values are the lightest, regardless of the local color? I know how I would paint them, with a palette of several colors, but with only black and white to choose from I am not sure how to go about it.

06-23-2006, 12:02 PM
I looked up the Italian for 'sketching charcoal' but not the word for 'Willow' - I'm a bit slow with my Italian, hence the locals think I'm 'A bit slow'. lol I act out most things I don't know the Italian for- you would have enjoyed seeing me do 'willow charcoal':lol: Yes Gavin, CF is a beautiful place - that's why I'm trying to learn to draw/paint it.

With two white dogs, I'm interested in Melisa's question too.


06-23-2006, 12:11 PM
Hey Mary! Grrrrrrowl-that is gogoeus!!!!!

Impetuous Your cat is wonderful!

Brad-I am in love with your tree frog!

AfricaArt-Looking good!

Connie-He looks great and so caught in the act!

Naomi-He turned out just grand!

Anita-I am starting mine now too.:o

Hey Gavin!

06-23-2006, 01:23 PM
Hi everyone,

I just had a whole post all prepared and it got lost in cyberspace. I have to remember to always copy my posts before I try to send them!

I love your cat, Impetous! Great eyes.

Mary R., your doggy looks great, so far!

Mary, your leopard turned out very lovely! He looks so soft.

Naomi, fantastic lion! Love the mane.

I love your frog, Brad! He looks really shiny and wet.

Connie, I really like your racoon. He looks mischievous.

I hope I didn't miss anyone.

I decided to finally tackle mine last night. I spent about an hour on it, but decided I wouldn't finish it because his paw is too close to his head and he looks a bit deformed. I may try another one though. I'll just post what I have here. Thanks for the great class, Gavin!



06-23-2006, 04:49 PM
Melisa - there is no set rule that you have to use toned paper. If your subject has lots of white, why not start with a white paper?

06-23-2006, 04:53 PM
Hey Anne!:wave: Great to see you! I love your lion with his stare right at us.

06-23-2006, 06:51 PM
Finally got to start on this-Yay!!!! And much to my delight I found my Mi-Teines!
Also found in the charcoal supplies the brown/red/tanish hued charcoals.

Doing the baby burro I had selected originally from the RIL. I was going to switch to a ferocious bear-but could not find a good ref.

Working on his mane and neck. http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jun-2006/37258-Baby_Burro_started.jpg

06-23-2006, 07:23 PM
Hi Judi:wave:

Thanks for the comments. Your burro looks great so far! I can't wait to see how he progresses.


06-23-2006, 10:22 PM
G'day everyone,

Started a new one. This is a portrait of our pet turtle 'Eric', a truely noble beast :D . Just got the basics in so far.

Robyn, hope turtles are OK.

:eek: I'm still amazed at the quality of the posting by everyone. Jude and Ann your lion and Burro's are both off to great starts. Afraid I'm still not game to tackle all that fur.....maybe next time.

Anne I'd try taking the paw back on your lion if you don't like it. I've been amazed at how much of this meduim I can take back off the paper without it showing. I completely rearranged my frogs throat at one stage.

06-23-2006, 11:32 PM
Brad-I can't wait to see your turtle progress!

Posting a lil more-working on his face now and more to do there.

Anda G
06-24-2006, 12:15 AM
Hi, everybody! I've been looking at all your wonderful drawings. They are so good. I've been wanting to jump in, so here's mine. :D I worked on it a couple of days here and there. Not finished. I got the picture from the RIL. 9 by 12 inches Bienfang charcoal paper toned with charcoal. General's chalk pencil, white charcoal, conte pencils. Vine charcoal for beginning sketch. Came right off.
I wanted to quit and toss it a couple of times, but I figure it is a learning experience. The chalk is not as nice as the charcoal or pastels. Too chalky. :D Wants to not blend/stick. I didn't spray this. Maybe I should, I dunno. :( :confused:

Comments welcomed, please.

06-24-2006, 04:40 AM
Hi all,.........an update for eric the turtle.

Not working as well as my first. I'm having trouble keeping the blacks black enough to bring out the third dimension. I'm beginning to think the papers too dark, but will keep at it.:confused:

Judy, your burro's looking great, love the texture of the fur and Andagail, what a cute squirrel. Everyone else has been trying a brush to get that furry texture. Did you try that as well? I haven't been game to tackle fur yet :D

Mary Woodul
06-24-2006, 06:46 AM
Hi All!:wave:

Connie, love your racoon.

Anne, nice looking Lion, he looks so friendly.:rolleyes:

Judi , you impress me, you are so good at every medium you tackle. I'm glad you decided on the burro, it's cute.
Anda, beautiful colors on the squirrel.

Brad, what a gift you have at redering reflections. I like the charcoal on that paper and the eye is stunning.

06-24-2006, 08:13 AM
TY Brad-and Mr Turtle is looking great!! It would be wonderful if you would consider doing WIP's out in the main forum.

TY Mary.:) I am glad I kept him too. Hopefully post more tonight.

Anda-Your squirrel is looking good! I especially like his fluffy tail!

06-24-2006, 09:58 AM
Connie - Just saw your racoon. Very cute fellow! I missed him before. I think we must have posted at the same time. Thanks for the tip on white paper. Sometimes, I miss the obvious! :)

Brad - That is a very dark paper, but from what I can see it looks great. Looks like he is smiling! :)

Anda - What a cutie that squirrel is! I started to try a squirrel but the fluffy tail scared me off. So much fur to do! I used a hard white pastel instead of chalk, and it went on very smoothly so you might prefer that to the chalk. But the chalk looks great on your squirrel, even if it was a pain to use.

Judi - I'm so glad you are still doing the burro. When you posted the ref pic, I was instantly in love. Looking great so far. Can't wait to see it finished!

Anne - Love the lion! The paw does not look awkward to me. Maybe it does to you because you are comparing it to the photo, but on it's own it looks just fine. Love that face!

06-24-2006, 10:29 AM
I wasn't going to post until I had another drawing - but couldn't contain myself! lol

Anne - Lovely lion. I see what you mean about the paw - but it's so cute. To me he looks like he's just entered The Jungle Bar and is ordering a beer! lol

Brad - Turtles are more than okay! I love the way you capture the light and agree with the request that we see more WIPs from you in the main forum.

Judi - Such a cute little Burro - and beautiful use of colour, line and texture as usual. Looking forward to more.

Andagail - Great furry tail on yoru squirrel. I think a bit more charcoal would really make him pop - but let's see what Gavin says.

Now I'm going to wrestle with the problem of white dogs. Am thinking mostly white chalk on a grey or blue support with touches of charcoal. We'll see...


06-24-2006, 02:51 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/24-Jun-2006/65063-owl.jpg Hope this is okay for me to join also...i have limited supply of charcoal (one pencil:p ) so added with conte, and little graphite...wasnt sure what else to do with him...so here it tis.....wonderful work being done so far...connie...quite captured his mischievious look...anne...great job on the eyes and his look of power....judi...this is going to be wonderful..as always:o anda...very lovely soft colours,,,,,brad...terrific workk on his eye and i agree wonderful work on reflections....c and c's will be appreciated.....tyree

06-24-2006, 04:43 PM
Everyone here has such amazing drawings! From the owl to the leopard..the frog is darling and so realistic...that burro makes me want to reach out and pet it.

I've experimented a bit today and tried a first drawing of a lemur. I broke all the rules and didn't use the tinted paper as the mid tone. Its hard to break the habit of not filling in all the tones. The photo isn't great and I'll try a scan later. The paper is Mi-Tientes - a sort of pale brown colour which looks almost grey here. I used the textured side and have to say that I don't like that side at all. I'll try again with the smooth side and see what comes from that.


06-24-2006, 06:33 PM
Naomi: You shall be a future leader in the cult of charcoal - I sense it!
Sanguine is a type of red chalk - it's the sort of material the old masters would draw with.

Melisa: If there's a lot of white, I'd be tempted to do a charcoal drawing on white paper, and use the paper not the chalk. ;)

Robyn: Must be terrible when people think that of you. The Brits can be awful for misunderstanding somebody's less than impeccable English as a sign of low intellectual ability, yet when they go abroad they expect others to speak English, and when they don't comprehend, they'll just repeat themselves, but louder, as though the problem of communication was just one of volume! How long have you been learning to speak Italian? I have to learn French, but I don't know where to start or how long it will take to grasp the basics.

Judi: Greetings! :D Well done on finding your paper! They do red and brown charcoal? I'll have to research it one day, but I'm sure it must be a chalk derivative, or pigments must be mixed in to create an artificial form of charcoal. On the bits I use, you can see where the willow twig had little branchy offshoots.
Reminds me of my Nan's old donkey - poor old Katie. :( She had a long life though. Speaking of long life, in the news yesterday an Australian zoo owned giant tortoise died of a heart attack, aged 175, weighing in at 23 stone!
You're making great progess - keep us posted with your updates. ;)

Anne: Thanks for joining in - lions really seem to suit this medium, so I've got to say, a good choice in subject matter, and for an hour's drawing you've done a fine job. :)

Anda: A new face, thanks for joining in. How did you find the Bienfang paper in the end? I'm not familiar with this brand. I love squirrels, and there's plenty around these parts. If you find chalk too 'chalky' feel free to substitute it for white pastel, but I wouldn't use an oil based one.

Brad: Hey, this isn't that older than old tortoise I was talking about earlier. ;)
It's coming along nicely. The two contrasts between the dark charcoal and white chalk are great for modelling three-dimensional forms, and I can tell by the time you've finished, this is going pop out of the paper.

Tyree: Please do join in! The more the merrier. :) How did you find the combination of graphite and charcoal? You have to be careful in which order you use it, because one does not work well on top of the other. You've caught the intensity of the gaze very well.

Jeanette: Not everybody's a fan of the textured side. When I did my Frankestein's Monster portrait, it was on the smooth side of a piece of Mi-Tientes - much better for detailing, but I like the textured side too, because you can work more loosely without getting hung up on details. I like your lemur very much.

Anda G
06-24-2006, 09:53 PM
Hi, Gavin. I'm glad to be here. I like the paper. It has a light texture just right for charcoal. It will hold a couple of layers. Plus, it was cheap. I found the squirrel in the RIL from Ginger Lee. I might add to the total by taking pictures of the squirrels in our yard. :D I know we can't have too many squirrel pics. :lol:

tyree, I love your owl face. It is so bold. You seem to be very sure of yourself. I strive for that level of confidence. Thanks for your nice comment.

robynsin, thank you. I used black and sepia conte to add the darks.

mmdm, thanks. I quit using the generals white charcoal stick and went to the white and yellow chalk pencils. They seem to work better. I am trying not to use the pastels and to learn how to use chalk.

Hi, Judi! Thanks. He was the least threatening of all the wild animals. :D I love your burro. It's not just a study, it's a complete work of art. My cousin would like to have it. :D

Hi, Mary, and thanks. I tried to tone them down a little.

sula, thank you. I haven't used the brush this time. Just stroking in the direction of the shape of the body. It's like a big hairy sheet draping over a bald squirrel. If you know what I mean. :lol:

Here's my update. I am trying to keep up with everybody. :eek:


06-25-2006, 01:45 AM
Hi everyone,.........Last post for Eric the turtle.

He's not really much different, I just tried to get a few extra skin details. Found myself fiddling and not getting anywhere, so I figure it must be done. Thanks for your comments on him :thumbsup:.

Jude & Robyn, ....Definately intend to do some more posting in the main forum. I'm really enjoying seeing the other works go up and getting feed back on my own. It's actually becoming a bit addictive :D. Now I just need to do some more pics.

Anadagail,....Your squirrel is looking great, that fur is really looking dense and fluffy now. I guess it must be time I had a try at it.

Tyree & Jeanette...... Nice to see some new beasts and such good drawings as well :clap:. I really like the rim lighting effect on the lemurs fur and the soleful sort of gaze from the owl.

06-25-2006, 06:15 AM
Andagail - Apologies on my stupid comment earlier about increasing the darks, I thought you had finished your squirrel! I see now you actually said 'not finished' - now I see you have a lovely, deep, furry finish!:o

Tyree - Lovely design in the way you've captured your owl. I love those three colours together.

Jeanette - Your lemur looks great to me - beautiful eye and soft depth to the fur.

Brad - Eric the turtle is 3D. How do you do that?!

This is my first attempt at drawing Dermott our Old English Sheepdog ... still a way to go.

06-25-2006, 06:24 AM
QUOTE: Robyn: Must be terrible when people think that of you. The Brits can be awful for misunderstanding somebody's less than impeccable English as a sign of low intellectual ability, yet when they go abroad they expect others to speak English, and when they don't comprehend, they'll just repeat themselves, but louder, as though the problem of communication was just one of volume! How long have you been learning to speak Italian? I have to learn French, but I don't know where to start or how long it will take to grasp the basics.

Gavin - Actually the Italians are really patient and kind to me. I've been here a year, arrived with no Italian, have recently had two weeks of classes and am about to get a regular teacher. I am ashamed at how little I have progressed with my studies - I blame Wetcanvas! lol :p You probably have the greatest motivation to learn French - with a girlfriend there. Part of the trap for me is the number of expats here - I spend far too much time speaking English. When our furniture arrives from Australia we will finally have a television. I've really enjoyed not having one, but I'm told it will really help my Italian.


06-25-2006, 10:09 AM
Tyree - Lovely, dramatic owl!

Jeanette - Love the expressive eye and the soft furry ear of your lemur. I have an internet friend who is lemur crazy who would adore this. I don't like the rough side of the Mi Teintes, either. Too mechanical looking for me. I think you would like the other side a bit better.

Anda - Your squirrel looks even better now, in his final stage! Great warm colors in there.

Brad - Your turtle friend is simply perfect.

Robyn - This is going to be fantastic! What a gorgeous dog. The eyes are already so soulful. I'm curious to see how you work with all the white. A good lesson for me.

06-25-2006, 01:08 PM
ive missed some comments ...so here goes....robyn...that owl is truly realistic...and what a cute pup!!!! melisa...love the simplicity and what a look!!!! naomi....very powerful looking...as he should be!!!! impetous....great gaze...lovely work!!!! mary r...very very good lines to your drawing....mary....wow..stunning....jeanette....nice lovely plush fur!!!! anda... that reddish brown colour is now popping out...good touch!!!! brad...that white just stands out with that dark paper....great work on his eye...so intense....hope ive got it caught up now...and thanks for nice comments....tyree

06-25-2006, 03:58 PM
Hey Gavin-LOL-probably is chalk. :o No longer have the wrap as I bought it a while ago-but I do like the colors a lot.

TY Melisa and Robyn-I think he is cute too.

Robyn-Love your poochie!

Tyree oh Queen of Darks-Looks Hoot-hoot!!!!

TY Brad-glad you will post more-inspirational your work is!

Jeanette-Love you lemur! I want to try the smooth side now-as you all say you can get more detail-which I love to do.

Anda-Wow-your squirrel is so lively and colorful now-I think the additional work really finished him off quite beautifully!

Posting near done-trying to get more in there but the charcoal overlaping chalk gives me trouble as some are not so intense now:( Lesson learned. Need to work more on his mouth/snout area.

06-25-2006, 04:31 PM
Everyone is busy here, and you did great!
I got the same trouble as some of you, too much chalk. But results are interesting is not it?

Using charcoal is not so easy:crying: , and I took a set of pen as replacement :p (Sanguine, black chalk and black stone on mi-teintes paper for soft pastel)

I will try two chalks tomorrow black and white, the paper will do the mid-tone and show you what I can do :wave: .

06-25-2006, 04:51 PM
Tyree & Judi thank you.

Melisa - You are a great confidence booster. Thank you:o As for where I'm going with all this white - I'm not sure I'm really conscious of trying not to cover too much of the paper, but Dermott is a very white dog (well when he's just been groomed, as he was when this photo was taken). The battery in my digital camera has just died so I have plenty of time to work it out before I can post again. lol

Judi - You may be having trouble but it doesn't show. Still loving the texture too.

Yabby - You're the one who's busy! How many drawings do I count?:lol: I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with the midtone paper. These are all terrific, as usual, my favourite is the fox.


06-25-2006, 05:46 PM
Mary R - love the German Shepard he/she has a very "pleased to see you" face

Mary - your big cat is gorgeous, lovely expression and big soft paws

Naomi - The mane is awesome ...looks so soft and those few whiskers are really effective

Brad - The tree frog looks so smooth and shiney, the whole thing jumps out of the paper, awesome! Love the fish too, especially his beady eye

Connie - love the cheeky racoon, he certainly does look as though he's been caught red handed

Anne - Great lion, I actually love the way that front paw is curled.

tyree - your owl looks very watchful ...very piercing stare!

Jeanette - love the lemur, it's so soft.

Andagail - looking good so far

robyn - really like the soulful expression in the eyes

Judi - very pretty little donkey, looking great so far

Yabby - great drawings, you have been busy! love the way you have captured the sly look of the fox

06-25-2006, 06:05 PM
For the WDT this week JayD had an image that seemed perfect for charcoal so this is charcoal and chalk on grey Mi-Teintes.

06-25-2006, 06:22 PM
Judy........that's an awesome drawing :eek:.

Did you take any pictures along the way of how you did it?

06-25-2006, 06:46 PM
TY Brad! No-it took me less than an hour and I just wanted to do it-wasn't sure if it would turn out.
I just started in the upper left and increased intensities as I moved to the right. Did not use chalk till the end!
Basically draw-smear-draw-smudge.:D I liked the simplicity of the work involved.

06-25-2006, 07:21 PM
wow everyone has been so busy!!!!! time to get my butt back into gear lol

phoebe cat - i love the depth you have created in your mane and such a great pose !!!

Judi - your donkey is coming along really well i especially like the short hair on the face very nice

Brad - your turtle is awesome you have that wet look down pat fantastic lots of depth well done !!!

Anda - gorgeous squirrel very fluffy

Tyree - great eyes on your owl very serious gaze happeneing there!!

Jeanette - i LOVE the softness to your lemur really really beautiful!!!!!!

Robyn - Wow i am in love with your dog already so gorgeous !!! love the great eyes and nose.... cat wait to see hime finished and the hair is coming along fantastic !!!!

Gavin - thanks for your comments im already thinking of entering a charcoal piece in an our towns art awards at the end of the year - i think i have finally found a perfect match in a medium for me lol... thanks for the links as well i checked out that artist and they are great i especially loved the figures...do you know of any other places to learn more about charcoal work?

well im hoping to get the start on my next picture today im looking forward to starting another one... ok talk to you all later in the day

06-25-2006, 07:36 PM
judi i love your wdt charcoal very nice you have the tones done beautifully

06-25-2006, 08:01 PM
The borrowers have been busy at my house. I still can't find the vine charcoal (or a dozen other things.) I did try sharpening the end of the compressed charcoal with sandpaper, but though it looked pointed enough, the eyes are very rough. So many people have posted animals with excellent eyes, I feel sad that this lovely wolf doesn't have that distinction. They should glow. It is from a WDE hosted by Slaturza last December. I have used a brush to blend, trying not to lose all the fur texture. I have a tendency to over-blend in my drawings.

06-25-2006, 08:50 PM
Yabby-those look great! I especially love the look in the eyes your wolf has!

Connie- Your work has a destinction all it's own! Always great to see! He looks so intent!

TY Naomi:)

Anda G
06-25-2006, 10:17 PM
Hi, everybody. I am getting impatient with the white chalk pencil. I find that I almost digging in to make a mark. :evil: Imagine a 4 year old coloring a picture with the pencil clutched in her fist. :lol:

Brad, thanks. You need to try it. It's as fun as hair.

Hi, Robyn. Don't be :o . I took it as a helpful comment. :) Your little dog is cute. I like how you complete the eyes and then go on. I can't keep from darting about and working on this and that.

Melisa, thank you. He's getting there. I am trying to make the background cooler so he'll warm up more.

Hi, Tyree. He's coming along. :) Thanks.

Hi, Judi. I think I justing about finished him off. I have some carrots and celery and onions and some thyme...:evil: :lol: Wow, your burro is so nice!

Yabby, I like your work. Your wolf is scary.

Thanks, Impetuous. It's just about there.

Here is my update. I think it's about done.


06-25-2006, 10:27 PM
yabby...i love those wolfs eyes!!!! judi...that landscape turned out wonderful in charcoal,,,terrific job!!!! your burro is coming along beautifully....connie...great hungry look!!!! anda....what a great finish to the little guy...turned out very very nice!!! tyree

06-26-2006, 06:23 AM
Before any comment - I present a two chalks drawing (charcoal and blank chalk)
It was diifficult to just think all the spots to follow the fur curves and draw them accordingly.:cat: The blank was a piece of cake


edit = mi-teintes paer 9x12"

To erase charcoal, you can use blu-tak gum (to stick paper and poster) it works fine also with colored pencils.

Mary Woodul
06-26-2006, 06:46 AM
Tyree, nice intense owl!

Jeanette, the eye on your Lemur is fantastic.

Andy, love the squirrel

Robyn, the Sheepdog, is coming along beautifully.

Judi, the burrito is just awesome you gave the fur such great texture.

Connie, the gaze of the wolf's eye is really there.

Judi, your rendered the snow scene perfectly.

Yabby, nice big cat!

From the WDT also but I couldn't get the snow like Judi did. Vine, powder and pencil charcoal and white pitt pencil on Strathmore grey pastel paper.


06-26-2006, 07:25 AM
Mary wow!! i love your Wdt i think you have the ice perfect and the grass is wonderful it looks so real!!! well done !!!
your have shown the great expression wolfs have in your picture pose is great and well done on your fur drections!!
yabby love your wild cat very nice !!! love all the spots they are hard to keep a handle on hey
Anda your squirrel has turned out wonderfuly you should be proud...

ok here is the start of my next pic its a snow leopard by crias in the ref lib... wow did i have dramas with this today lol after spending hours with the initial sketch i realised i had no bluey grey mi tientes paper left which i thought would gve a nice soft tone to this.. so i tried some fabriano rusticus which was the only paper i had in the right kinda colour.. grr s much harder to work wit than the mi tientes paper.. very hard to get it nice and smooth because of its texture.. i was going to scrap it and start again but i have decided to keep going... early stages still filling out the forms etc

06-26-2006, 09:06 AM
Wow, lots of lovely new things have been posted. Got a sinus headache that needs medicating, so won't stay to comment on each, but I've looked at every one and they all deserve compliments galore.

BTW, I know about WDE, but what is WDT?

And Naomi, don't you dare scrap that!

06-26-2006, 09:34 AM
okay here is another quick update still havent added any white chalk yet just working ou the depth etc... hmm i think WDT- is weekly drawing thread in the d/s forum.. maybe i have it wrong though lol i wouldnt be suprised... lol no i wont be scrapping it now but earlier it was very close to getting a big scribble on it and in the bin lol.... but im much calmer now and now which paper to use in the future lol.. ok time for bed now lol

06-26-2006, 01:19 PM
Sula-Brad : Silver frog is very wet and the snake is coming - good use of black and white chalk
mlelevier-Mary : Beautiful fur on you big cat.
Robyn : Nice feathers for you owl - good work
Melisa - The dog is just perfect - just enough chalk and no more
Naomi - you lion is a king
Impetuous : awesome domestic life cat
Connie - your racoon and your wolf are coming well - some darks perhaps?
Alfricanart- Your german dog seems a little distort (?) Hope to see the after holidays dog ;)
Phoebecat : Staring lion with charcoal fur. I need to do one ;)
Anda G - the squirel is ready to jump - very fluffy
Tyree - Strong owl
Judi - Baby donkey makes me want to touch it.
Jeanette - Lemur sofness - you catch it.

WDT is Weekly Drawing Thread in Drawing and sketching forum

If I remember well Connie ask to know if you can use white chalk all over and Gavin said that in some case he prefers to use white paper. I found a young Zebra and I kept the mi-teintes paper .I do not want to monopolize thz class but it is the last one before my holidays ;).....

Hope he will give some ideas to others ...


Mary Woodul
06-26-2006, 02:44 PM
Naomi, your snow leopard is so incredible. I can feel my hands going for that soft white furry paw. Gorgeous work!

Yabby, I love your Zebra and that eye is stunning.

I have to go get myself another wild animal from the RIL.:wave:

06-26-2006, 06:55 PM
Andagail - I came across two fairly tame squirrels yesterday - they were literally stood right next to each other and a rabbit on a patch of grass.
Brad - nice work. Will you be adding a background or not?
Robyn - You're getting into this. :) Your passion is showing.
Yes, I could do with speaking French as it's not really fair my girlfriend has to speak English all the time. I guess if I could speak French I would also have the opportunity to move there if I wanted - the UK's way too expensive for anybody who didn't get on the property ladder some years ago.
Yabbi - you've been busy! The same minimal colours suit all four of your first drawn subjects - good work.
You know, I almost did a demonstration using a zebra, you won't find a better animal to contrast those blacks and whites. :)
Judi - Love the landscape. It reminds me of one of those photographs taken with an infra-red filter. Excellent, and especially for the time you completed it in.
Connie - I haven't seen the source photograph, but I reckon you could get those eyes 'glowing' if you try making the upper lids slightly darker and introduce some of the chalks as highlights on the iris and pupil (even if these aren't present in the original photo). Most importantly, are you enjoying the medium?
Mary - another class job - it's interesting to see it alongside Judi's to see the different choices and styles, they're both very strong drawings.
Naomi: Fantastic! You really caught the 'softness' with just enough hardness in the eyes and mouth to bring in the viewer's eye. Really enjoyed this one. I'm really not sure you ought to add any white chalk, or if you do I'd be tempted to use just the smallest smallest amount - I'd hate to see such a nice drawing overworked, if it were mine I'd be so tempted to stop right now! :D

06-26-2006, 09:00 PM
Mary, I just saw your blog--WONDERFUL!!!

06-26-2006, 09:21 PM
Ok, I'm late to this party but at least I made it!!

Everyone is doing such a fantastic job and all of the drawings are soooo good!! Wow! Great job everybody!!:clap: :clap:

I think some folks said this was harder than it looked but much quicker than expected! Boy, is that the truth!! At least I had the materials needed but had to dust off the cobwebs!:D

I have NO IDEA what the heck I was doing when working on this guy,but enjoyed working with the vine charcoal!! If Gavin hadn't posted his owl wip, I'd still be looking at the paper, holding the charcoal and wondering what to do!!:confused:

I was all over the place as much as I tried your suggestion, Gavin, of working one area at a time--yeah...right!!! It just ain't happenin'!!

This hairy creature is from the image library and truly felt he was meant for this project!!


Mary Woodul
06-26-2006, 09:27 PM
Gavin, Thank you! I found another image, can't wait to start!;)

JayD, I was getting worried about you! Thank you, glad you liked it.

Leslie, what a fantastic drawing. The plasticity of the nose is incredible.

06-26-2006, 09:35 PM
Chisaii - I agree, he was meant for this project. I have to keep coming back looking at him. :) Great job!

06-26-2006, 10:06 PM
yabby...great contrasts on both!!!! naomi...how beautiful!!! great job on eyes and nose!!!! chisaii....such a soulful look...great work on that fur, and those sad eyes....tyree

06-26-2006, 10:07 PM
:eek: :clap: :eek: :clap:

06-26-2006, 10:33 PM
Namoi! your snow leopard is gorgeous!!!!!!

Yabby-love your leopard and zebra too! Slow down-you are making us look bad!:lol: :lol:

Anda-your squirrel looks wonderful. Love the colors!

06-26-2006, 11:22 PM
Mary, I am writing a paper, working on an article on Maxfield parrish, copying a parrish piece for the classical forum which I promised to Anita scrounging around for money so my daughter can continue her education. I've been busy so I apologize for being so scarce!--OH, and I am working on a portrait!!!

06-26-2006, 11:31 PM
thanks so much Mary!!! i really wanted to the focus to be on his gorgeous paw.. thanks also tyree and Judi!!
Wow Chisaii that gorilla is fantastic!!! i especially love his nose it wouldnt look like you had any problems at all pulling that pic off!!!
Thanks gavin.. i have been wrestling on how far to push him and how much white to add if any.. but only one way to learn hey lol.. i love the ref pic so much i would redo the pic if i screw it up lol.. and charcoal is so much fun lol.... well here is my next update.. i think im going to let it sit for a bit before i finish him up so i know what i want to do... anyways its a good excuse to go hunting for another pic lol

06-27-2006, 05:18 AM
Bec & Andergail thank you.

Judi - Your landscape is inspiring. I looked at the reference and ran a mile - too hard! and you achieved it in less than an hour:thumbsup::clap:

Mary - You too:clap::clap:, beautiful landscape. I love the softness of your snow and the lovely crisp grass contrast. And congratulations on your blog.

Naomi - thank you for your fantastic encouragement and great technical example. Your snow leopard is wonderful. Your lights as so realistic, I keep staring at it but can't work out your secret. :confused:

Yabby - terrific zebra - excellent muscle form showing through and a great eye.

Chisail - Your ape knocked my socks off! You make it loook effortless!

Gavin - I do have the passion but I still feel I'm missing the point with this technique. As you will see with the WIP below, I went right off the rails on the right hand side, white pastel going in all directions:eek: Still overworking everything. I'm about to redo it. I have learnt that there are no short cuts - if I want to draw a white dog in future, I am better off using white paper. Anyway I've dug my pit so I will keep trying to climb out of it.


06-27-2006, 05:20 AM
Chisaii: Glad you found time to join in. What do you mean you don't know what to do with the medium - you're using it like a pro! Lovely soft furry edges and the selective focus to the face, and a very contemplative face at that. What more could somebody ask for. Excellent job.

Naomi: I take it back, you didn't overwork it at all, but now I'm scared - would a new update be too much or will it be the crown on the jewel?! :eek: I'm really very impressed.

06-27-2006, 05:25 AM
Robyn: Not at all! I think working on white paper might have made things easier, but adding the white with pastel or chalk is not a bad way to do things. I think the latter method works better on darker tinted paper, because then the whites pop out from the surface; you've used a fairly pale tint (although this might just be from the photograph), which probably means you may have to introduce more shadows and dark areas between the fur to make it more distinguisable. What you've done at the top of the head with the drop shadow effect works very well. Please keep with this one, I'm eager to see it finished.

06-27-2006, 05:58 AM
thanks so much robyn... i love your dog please dont give up on him!!!! his eyes are fantastic!!!! and his cute little nose.. but wow those eyes very nice !!!
lol i dont know if its a secret but the way i have been working my pics up is very slowly... i use charcoal powder and paint it on with a paint brush.. the mi tientes seems the better paper for this out of the two i have used i keep doing this until i have the depth and the darks near where i want them then i use blutac and a kneaded eraser and a normal eraser sharpened to a point to drag off some of the charcoal depending on how much i want to lift.. thn i add details in with the vine/willow charcoal and charcoal pencil.. so far i havent put any white on the leopard its just charcoal and paper....
I cant wait to see the finish of your dog i think hes gorgeous!!!

06-27-2006, 06:29 AM
Gavin - thanks for propping me up!:lol: I'll keep going. And, by the way, I don't think there are many places left in the western world where one doesn't feel one is getting into the property market too late!

Naomi - I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. Thank you again for your encouragement but most of all the description of your method. I have been using a paintbrush but I can seem to get enough control of it - I will have another go. I really miss my mechanical graphite pencil when I get into trouble. I think your suggestion of the sharpened eraser will help me tremendously. :thumbsup:


06-27-2006, 08:49 AM
Mary, Melisa, tyree, Judi, Naomi, and Robyn, thanks so much for the encouragement but if it hadn't been for the wonderful projects everyone is doing, I don't think I would have even started!! I was a bit intimidated since the last time I used charcoal was back in college life drawing classes!! -- Well, I guess this is fairly close, just a little more hair to worry about!!:lol:

Gavin, I just have to say I had a GREAT coach!!

Seriously, when I first laid the charcoal down my hand was actually shaking! Since this was free hand I really wanted to get the proportions correct more than how the charcoal was going down, but once those eyes seemed to be spot on, I just jumped in!!

I'm rather pleased with this piece and may work it to give him more character, especially around the eyes, but for now, I'm looking for another ref pic since I'm having such a great time getting dust all over everything and making my cats sneeze!!:lol: :lol: :cat:

06-27-2006, 09:13 AM
Robyn - your more than welcome !!! what paper are you using?.. my lion was done on mi tientes and it was a breeze with a soft paint brush to put the values in.. i only needed my kneadable eraser for that one... the snow leopard has been much harder to work on because i didnt have any mi tientes and only had some fabriano artisticus and it was too textured to take the patinbrush as easily.. you can still do it but its much harder.. also the kneaded eraser cant be dragged as well on it hence the need for the sharpened eraser.. i use one of those click erasers that i sharpen with a razor blade.. i find also that you need to clean it after every other stroke so it will continue to pick up as much pigment as you want...
i love mechanical pencils also for graphite work... but once you get the hang of this it really is so much easier!!!!
Chisaii - looking forward to your next work as i loved your first!!!!

06-27-2006, 09:34 AM
I had to start another one. :) This is still in the beginning stages and hasn't got the darkest darks or lightest lights yet. It is supposed to be my dearest Bogie, but I haven't quite gotten the likeness yet. Scanning and viewing it onscreen usually helps me spot the problems so I thought I'd post the in-progress while I was at it. This time, I'm trying the smoother side of the Mi Teintes. I'm not sure if it is going to have enough tooth for this much charcoal and chalk, but we'll see.


Robyn - I can't see any problem with your pooch. Please finish it because I think it is adorable. Love the way you've done the little top-knot. It has a very 3-dimensional look.

06-27-2006, 09:52 AM
Chisaii: hehe, I've heard of people being anxious about drawing or trying something a little new, but you must have been really anxious! I'm sure your hand will be as steady as a rock in your next drawing. ;)

Melisa: What a wonderful start, there's a lot of character there. If you are using the smoother side and want to go darker, I'd buy some fixative. Give it a light spray from a distance of at least 30cm, wait a couple of minutes, spray it again, then try your next layer.

06-27-2006, 10:17 AM
Thanks for the tip, Gavin. I do have some workable fixative here. Now that I've scanned it, I can see the eyes are much too close together, and the nose and mouth are too low. I guess I am about to see just how much reworking this can take!

06-27-2006, 10:22 AM
Naomi - I didn't know what the paper was I am using - just a pad of tinted Italian paper branded Rigacci, however I now see it has an Ingres Fabriano watermark. It doesn't have the texture of mi tientes (which I've seen but never used). I will get some next time I go to the city. So your method should work on the paper I'm using. I recently managed to buy my first click eraser (love it!)

Melisa - Bogie is looking just great. Very nice drawing. I love his moist little bottom lip. Let us know what you think of the 'wrong side' of your mi tientes. Thanks for liking Dermott - he really appreciates it, he 's always thought he looks like a bit of a girl with his hair in that top-knot:lol:.

Chisaii - I loved you sharing the story of your shaking hand. thanks! Very much looking forward to seeing what you are going to do next.


06-27-2006, 12:26 PM
robyn....i love your pups foo foo top!!!! this is coming along beautifully....melisa...how cute...looks like hes pouting:lol: im thinking about starting a tiger.:eek: tyree

06-27-2006, 03:23 PM
Ok, I'm going to have to call this done because even with spraying it won't hold any more charcoal. The smooth side of the Mi Teintes, which I used, really is pretty smooth and something a little rougher would have held more. Still, I think I like it better than the rough side.

This looks a lot more like my little man. I am amazed at how much reworking you can do with this stuff. I completely moved his eyes and his entire muzzle and made his ears a little bigger and you really can't tell where the eyes used to be before. I wouldn't have been able to do that in graphite.

Maybe I will so Sophie next. She is the prettier Boston, but Bogie has the charm and character. And the brains.


06-27-2006, 08:47 PM
Bogie is too cute for words!! This really turned out beautiful!! Great job!

Well bah humbug to feathers and fur!! The hand was much steadier this time, but maybe that's not much help. Good thing this little one's mama isn't around cuz she'd peck me to death for making her little darling so dorky looking!! Hey, keep the laughter down back there!!:lol:


06-27-2006, 08:57 PM
Chisaii - Now that is a face with character! :D He looks very fluffy and feathery. What kind of bird is it? Thank you for the compliment on Bogie.

06-27-2006, 09:10 PM
I believe it's a baby vulture--not sure what kind tho! Came from the rl.

He's suppose to be looking upward but these things don't always turn out the way we want, do they??

06-27-2006, 09:44 PM

ok here is the finally finished snow leopard... it was so hard to know how far to push it but im happy with the result.. the only thing i will probably do after looking at it on the screen is add a few tiny stray white hairs on the paw and on his cheek lying on the paw.... then i am putting him away lol so im not tempted...

melissa i love your pup gorgeous expression !!! i bet he can manipulate really well lol

Chisaii wow another wonderful piece!!! i love your bird he is so full of character and so well drawn the feathers are amazing!! fantastic job

Robyn - i just picked up a piece of that paper myself as my local art store has next to nothing and it will be a couple of weeks till i go to the bigger one ( living in a small town) but i thought the smooth side of it looked similar to the smooth side of mi tientes so heres hoping...

06-28-2006, 01:43 AM
Chisaii - I can't find that bird in the ref lib. Do you know what you looked under? I typed in vulture, baby bulture, baby birds.

rasperry - I can't find the tiger picture either.

I would like to see the ref photo.

06-28-2006, 04:17 AM
Naomi - Fabulous finish on your snow leopard :clap:. Beautiful, fine, sharp detail. I'll be interested to see how you find the new paper. I will try the smooth side next time too.

Tyree - TY - Dermott no longer has his foo foo top. He has an Italian haircut for the summer that makes him look like an angry Kookaburra:lol: Poor think, he's had some really bad hairdos in his time. Looking forward to your tiger.

Melisa - I couldn't see what was wrong with Bogie before - but now I see what you were aiming for - lovely, lovely.:clap:

Chisaii - Your chick is just delightful:thumbsup: I love the colour and texture you've achieved with his feathers and he has great eyes.


06-28-2006, 08:37 AM
I think I'm going to call Dermott finished, unless Gavin gives me homework. I think it lost the early promise I was so excited about. Maybe it is because it is so hot here, my energy level is at an all time low. I think I might just sit back with an fan and enjoy everyone elses.

Acutally it looks like him so that's a breakthrough because I didn't use a grid, just worked from the photo on my computer screen. All that sketching must be helping:lol: Here's a hint someone may find useful. I just discovered it with this. Create a new layer in Photoshop and draw a diagonal line from top to bottom on the photo - a big X. It does help with placing the features but still results in a freehand drawing.

06-28-2006, 08:45 AM
Naomi, that cat is exquisite!! The fur is soooooo soft looking and the overall expression is priceless! Excellent, excellent!!

Chisaii - I can't find that bird in the ref lib. Do you know what you looked under? I typed in vulture, baby bulture, baby birds.

Found it. It was located under the Zoo section, it is by Crias and you can probably find it somewhere between pages 20-22 or 23.


Guess I had my eyes shut when I was working on this cuz it doesn't even look like the pic!:lol: :lol:

06-28-2006, 08:58 AM
Naomi - The leopard is amazing! So soft looking I really want to touch it. Good thing I can't reach it from here since charcoal drawings don't like to be touched!

Chisaii - I like your drawing so much better than the photo. It really makes me smile. Baby birds are such silly looking things, even baby vultures. :)

Robyn - I can't believe you don't love this drawing of Dermott! I think it is wonderful! I wondered at first if he would show up well enough on the light paper but I really like the way it worked out. The paper shows through the fur and the color looks very natural. I'd love to see one of him done with his new hairdo, too. :D

Thanks for the compliments on Bogie, everyone! And manipulation? Oh yes, Bogart is the king of manipulation. He is good at it and knows it! My other BT would never even think to try it, but Bogie does enough for both of them.

06-28-2006, 09:30 AM
Sorry Robyn, I didn't mean to overlook you. You've done a great job on Dermott! Like Melisa mentioned, the light paper just added to the overall look and it came out so well!!

Just how hot does it get in Italy? I thot Texas was about one of the hottest places around!

06-28-2006, 09:57 AM
Chisaii - it's 36 degrees centigrade here today that's about 97 Fahrenheit, it gets really hot next month! Probably not as hot as the extremes of Texas though. I'm used to high temperatures in Australia - i think I'm just getting soft lol. Thanks for your generous comment on Dermott. Like Melisa, I think your chick is much better than the photo.


06-28-2006, 10:00 AM
Melisa - thank you. I guess I wanted a bit more of the 3D effect Brad gets with his highlights. I'll have to keep working on it. I have another little white dog called Snowy - I don't think I'm up to the challenge of her just yet - too many curls!


06-28-2006, 03:29 PM
Here he is - The Angry Kookaburra! It would be cruel to paint him looking like this:lol:


06-28-2006, 04:40 PM
Chisaii - Thanks Chisaii. I like yours much better.

Robyn - Can you post the ref photo you were using to draw Dermott? He looks so sad with his haircut. He knows his crowning glory is gone. Hot here where I live in California. It has been around 104 degrees F. We just get something to drink and stay still.

06-28-2006, 05:10 PM
Oh my goodness, poor Dermott! He does look angry. I'm glad I am not the one who has to take him to get clipped. I sure wouldn't want to have that look aimed at me! (I'm not laughing Dermott, honest!) :D

06-28-2006, 05:58 PM
robyn i think your pic of dermott has turned out fantastic!!! those shadows you have introduced have really made him stand out!! i didnt realise you were from australia im in central queensland... but hoping to get back to new south to escape the heat lol... i have a ****su and a maltese and i have to shave them in winter as well.... gemma ( the ****su always sulks for awhile afterwards cause she knows she just looks weird lol poor dog she relies on her looks lol... Chisaii wow i love your drawing so much better than the pic you have given him character and life just love it !!!
thanks everyone for the comments on my leopard he was a lot o fun to draw besides the paper lol... ok let me hunt for the ref picture i will be back lol

06-28-2006, 06:16 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Jun-2006/76807-33717snowlepard.jpg ok here is the ref picture its by bazile in the ref lib.. for some reason i thought it was by crias lol oops gorgeous photo!!! it was just asking to be drawn

06-28-2006, 09:07 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/28-Jun-2006/65063-tiger_2.jpg worked on this last nite...im having a problem with slowing down with this charcoal,,,its alot quicker than my graphite.....need to slow down...i also couldnt see the detail from the picture i had to well...not sure if it was the picture or if it was me:eek: tyree

06-28-2006, 10:58 PM
Thank you rasberry. He is so gorgeous.

06-29-2006, 06:42 AM
Melisa - Dermott is a big baby and an utter coward.:lol:

Naomi - Thank you. I only realised yesterday you were an Australian too:thumbsup: I'm from Sydney most recently. I feel for your little dogs - they know they don't look great cllipped. Our Bishon Frise, Snowy, looks terrible without her coat, but she does like being cool and bathing becomes a treat.

Tyree - Great strong tiger with a lovely profile. You're obviously not timid with your charcoal like me. I'm still trying to hunt down the real willow charcoal. I often start with what I think is a good photo reference and when I really look at it, find myself having to guess so much detail. That's one of the reasons I'm trying to draw more from life.

Jeanne - Here's the photo of Dermott. Unfortunately I don't have any good ones with his full winter coat.


06-29-2006, 08:58 AM
omg robyn dermott is just gorgeous!!! i just want to cuddle him.. i completely understand how you feel about ref pictures!! i have the same problem i think wow what a great photo and then i try and recreate it and i realise how much detail is missing!!! from looking at your pic of dermott you did fantastic as the photo is not showing much three dimensionality at all so it makes it even harder to know where to put the shading in...

06-29-2006, 09:56 AM
Robyn - I am in love with your Dermott. Don't envy you having to take care of his long hair tho. I bet he knows how to get his own way. Those eyes. How could anyone not do his bidding.

I have a miniature schnauzer and she hates bathing. She goes to the groomer once a month and hates it. I have to tell her how pretty she is afterwards or she feels ugly and her personality is a little down. She is getting older and not quite as pretty and perky. I have done several drawings of her but from earlier photos.

06-29-2006, 12:28 PM
Melisa-your Bogie looks wonderful-those darks really brought him to life!

Chisaii-Love the baby vulture! Just too cute. Reminds me of Katherines 'bad hair day' thread you all had over in cp.

Naomi-Still wowing over your cat!

Robyn-LOL-love the photo of your 'angry' Kookaburra!:lol:
Your sweet lil Dermott in charcoal looks grand.

Tyree-He is great-looks like he is ruling the den, confident sort of fella.

Hope to get another one done over the weekend Gavin:angel:

Mary Woodul
06-29-2006, 12:42 PM
Wow, what great work! I'm falling behind and I have my jaguar reference but have had too many irons on the fire. Hope to start it today.

Thank you all for the comments.

JayD, hope I get to see the portrait!:D

Robyn, Dermott is just precious, the eyes are so angelic.

Melisa, you are great at expressions. Love your dog!

Chisaii, those feathers and eyes are outstanding.

Tyree, so glad you are over here with us. That is looking good.

Gavin, I'm dying to start the other one so I will have to find time today!:)

06-29-2006, 05:09 PM
Melisa: Sometimes I think mi-tientes would have been better to compromise by combining the rough texture on one side with the smoothness of the other, to have something with a little tooth, but not too much! Nevermind, there's other brands around, and I do like the smooth side, it just means you have to be a little more reliant on fixative. A lot of expression in that face.

Chisaii: A baby vulture, that's different - I like it, but I can't make up my mind if it's cute or sinister!

Naomi: What a fine job - it's hard to believe you've been at the art game for such a small amount of time, you carry it off like a pro.

Robyn: I used to hate receiving homework, so there's no way I can inflict it on someone else, even if they crave it.
This photograph is much better, you can really see the white fur against the colour of the paper, and it's not nearly as lost to the tone as it first appeared. It's difficult working from top to bottom with all those whites, because until the eyes, nose and mouth appear, you must feel like you're drawing an abstract mass of white fluff without any real definable characteristics. You perseverance has paid off. Well done.
Incidentally, I melt into a pool of liquid whenever the temperature gets close to 30C ! I don't envy you too much. Give me an icy English winter anyday! :D

Tyree: That's definitely charcoal for you - it's a quick medium! You have to be quite focused to use it slowly. Good job with your tiger - if you get the chance try one just in charcoal and white chalk using the tone of the paper as the midtone colour for your animal.

Mary: Have you made a start? We're all itching to see!!

06-30-2006, 10:13 AM
I finally am taking time to review this lesson, not as long as the first Basic Classes. They go on for hundreds of pages, though it would help me if I could redo that part. I wanted to add a suggestion JayD
gave us in the Basics class. He said to put a sheet of clear plastic over the scanner so the charcoal doesn't etch the glass.
Mary - Great pose for that leopard. Very majestic.
Robyn - You have so much tiny detail in the feathers of the owl's face. Very hard for me to do that. The picture of Dermott is actually better than the photo. You have put in just the right amount of shadows to shape him. So much of that is lost in photos. Love his expression, definitely happier before the haircut.
Melisa - I think your dog looks wonderful. It is always a temptation to do more, but this is just right.
Brad - that frog looks ready to jump. The wet look is so real. That must be a deep sea turtle, very dark background. Nice to see nonfurry critters done too. Another winner with the Boston Terrier. The detail gives him so much character, would love to meet him.
Naomi - yoor lion has a sad look, did not want his picture taken. Wonderful darks. I used you suggestion about the paint brush in my second picture and found it very helpful. The drawing of the snow leopard is almost identical to the photo. The texture is so real, the finish so smooth.
Impetuous - Those eyes glow, the way I wanted to do but missed. Hope he caught that mouse.
Mary - the mouth might be out of line,.but the eyes are terrific.
Anne - the lion looks great, hope you don't get discouraged. The paw looks okay to me, but charcoal can erase fairly well - no hope for me if it didn't!
Judi - baby burro is coming along as well as always. I know you work with several irons in the fire, but hope to see this one finished with a little more expression in the face.
Andagail - what a cute squirrel. Too bad they are pests in real life. But the tail is awesome. Love the colors. I'm not sure how conte crayons are made, they do work a lot like charcoal.
Tyree - I can't see which part is which medium, so it must be alright. The result is what matters and you got a fine face. The tiger has a sureness to it that I envy.
Jeannette - Your lemur has started so well, hope to see more. I understand your problem with filling in all the spaces rather than usng the tone of the paper. It is so tempting to do that.
Yabby - you blow me away with all your pictures, like the zebra best. The contrast is perfect for charcoal and chalk.
Mary and Judi - I love landscapes in charcoal and you both made this one special.
Chisaii - for a beginner in the medium, you started at a top level. Very good use of the blending vs strokes of charcoal. That might just be the most charming vulture ever. Made me laugh.

06-30-2006, 10:14 AM
WOW !!!!!! you guy's, I am gone for a week and it just piled up all these wonderfull drawings. Sorry I am not commenting on each one of your works, brain still on vacation...:D

Like I said you all have wonderfull work, inspired me to have another look at my pooch and see if I can get it right this time around, although I am not promissing anything soon because stuff piled up and I need to slog through it.

check in later.

Got woken up with a phone call this morning from my sister in law in
South Africa, with the news that I have about 6 commissions in Portraits. I did a portrait of her little girl...she showed it around and all loved it:D ...might be busy for a while on that:lol:


06-30-2006, 10:29 AM
Mary, the portrait is of my wife and she is going to murder me!

Everybody!!! Great work--I am still tied up so am just getting a chance here and there to come in a peek at the goodies. Gavin, its a great thing you have done here!!!

Mary Woodul
06-30-2006, 01:23 PM
Connie, thank you for your comment!

JayD, your wife will be more than happy when she sees the gorgeous portrait you will render of her.

Gavin, I'm afraid I'm in trouble with this because I don't know how to solve the colored fur problem. I know the paper isn't the color of the jaguar so I don't know if to just put in the spots or sketch in some of the reddish earth tone pitt pencil. I wouldn't want to overdo it. I'm posting the reference from the RIL but will check whose reference it is.


06-30-2006, 01:32 PM
Robyn--did you happen to notice that Dermott looks a lot like Doris Day?

06-30-2006, 01:49 PM
JayD - You are in so much trouble!!!!!!!!!!!:lol::lol::lol: You may well be licked to death.:evil:

Connie - Absolutely charming comments. You made me smile, not just for mine either, but for everyones. Thank you.:)

Mary - Your Jaguar is going to be wonderful. You're off to a great start - love the drawing already. I'll be interested to see what Gavin advises. I 'cheated' with my owl and used a touch of sanguine pencil - but also covered way too much of the mid-tone paper.l


06-30-2006, 02:01 PM
Mary Africa - Sounds like you're going to be mighty busy! Good luck.

Mary Mexico - You're off to an excellent start. It really doesn't matter if the paper isn't the tone of the subject, with these types of drawings, we're not really after recreating colours - think of it as a monochrome drawing on a tinted background - with only three effective colours, you can't possible go wrong with colour harmony, so I would refrain from introducing colour. That's just my personal advice and if you really want to add some pitt pastels, then I say go for it! ;)

Mary Woodul
06-30-2006, 04:15 PM
Thank you, Robyn!:)

Gavin, thank you! I think I prefer not to introduce any other color than the paper I would really be afraid of overdoing it.:D

06-30-2006, 04:20 PM
Mary I've just noticed the whiskers!!! Great whiskers!!!:thumbsup:


Robin Neudorfer
06-30-2006, 09:35 PM
It took me a while, but I have begun.
Here is Tasha (bad indoor flash, but you get the gist)... a wild one she is... not.

06-30-2006, 10:29 PM
Ive been having trouble getting online with W.C. so forgive the lateness of comments...melisa...what a beautiful job on Bogie..especially the eyes...robyn...Dermott turned out wonderful...everybit as cute as Doris Day!!! Your Tasha..is starting out great...love his pose and the job your doing on his fur!!!! naomi...wow...what a finish!!!! chisaii...what great character in your vulture...i too think it better than the photo!!!! gavin...thank you for your instruction and shall try the next one with just charcoal and white chalk...i get colour in my hand and go crazy:D mary...you are always so good with detail...good start!!!! tyree :wave:

07-01-2006, 03:18 PM
Tyree - Many thanks for kind words about Dermott, most appreciated. BUT TASHA belongs to RobinN - that's why she looks so fabulous!:lol::clap:

Robin - You've got the old 3D skill happening too:thumbsup: Tasha is just lovely. More please!:)


Mary Woodul
07-01-2006, 03:40 PM
Thank you Robyn and Tyree. Robyn, I think I got the whiskers too thick but I will have to learn to draw fine lines with chalk.

Robin, your work on that so far, looks incredible. I love the monochromatic look it has .

Here is my other little kitty. I saw a beautiful tiger face in the RIL, I feel like going for that one too.

Gavin, your class is so enjoyable, thank you for doing this.:thumbsup: :clap: :clap: :clap:


07-01-2006, 03:49 PM
Mary - I was particularly impressed with the whiskers around his mouth - I think they are perfect. He's looking great!!


07-01-2006, 06:55 PM
Under the influence of this class, I did a portrait for this week's WDE. (See what you have started, Gavin?) I have done some a little better, but this one is with the compressed charcoal in black and white and with red conte crayon. The child should have lighter tones, yellow sunlight and a happier face. But I finally talked myself into doing this by saying that I have to start somewhere. Now I think I could also use better technique, but here it is anyway.

07-01-2006, 09:28 PM
Connie and Tyree, thanks for the kind words! I admire you tackling the little girl Connie and you've done a great job! This charcoal stuff is addictive! I've been having a ball with it!

Mary Africa, congrats on the commissions-you're going to be a busy bee!

Mary Mexico, the jag is looking great! I had trouble with color too but make a greyscale of the pic and it helped a lot! The whiskers look perfect, seems very realistic!

Robin, Tasha is a beautiful subject to work on and it's looks terrific so far! Anxious to see an update on her! How old is she?

Need to go find some more pics and play!!

Robin Neudorfer
07-02-2006, 01:01 AM
You have been busy Mary. Love your cats. I think you are doing a wonderful job with the fur. I have been keeping Tasha mononchromatic because she has a silver gray coat. Maybe just some color in the eye and she is wearing a pink collar.

Robyn - Thank you. It is a fun challenge to work on a different type of portrait. Your fluffy puppy must have been fun to work on. Such a cute expression.

Connie - You have started in a very fine place. The little one has beautiful shape and form. I hope you are encouraged to continue to do more.

Chisaii - Thank you. I hope to work on Tasha some more this weekend. I believe she is about 2 years old. I want to give this picture to my third sister. She has been a huge support lately, and this is her pride and joy.

I need to go back and see who I missed. I hope you will forgive me tonight.
We have been out in 102 weather today. My brain is fried.

07-02-2006, 03:33 AM
Connie - I agree with Robin, you little girl has beautiful shape and form. Frame her!:clap:


07-02-2006, 11:22 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/02-Jul-2006/65063-goose.jpg i too like connie..did my WDE in charcoal and pastel....Im sorry robyn and robin...for giving the wrong credit due...need to wear my up close glasses more:lol: I still need to draw one with more of the pastel paper showing and will do that this week...gavin!!!!! tyree

07-02-2006, 11:45 AM
I was happy to accept credit:D

Beautiful goose. I love everything about it - reflections, form, texture :clap:


07-02-2006, 11:54 AM
Thank you for the lesson. I will try these techniques soon.

Mary Woodul
07-02-2006, 07:42 PM
Thank you Robyn, Robin, and Tyree.

Connie, another unique style of yours. I love the work you did on the child.

Tyree, I love your goose!

07-02-2006, 10:34 PM
Hi everyone,

Sorry that I just posted my work and then disappeared. I have been busy with a big, homework project. Thank you everyone who commented on my lion. I never got around to finishing him. Everyone's work has really been outstanding! I'll start where I left off and I hope that I'm not missing anyone!

Judi, the snowscape is terrific! That reference was way too scary for me.

Connie, I love your wolf! The fur looks great--very course as wolf fur is.

Anda, that is such a sweet squirrel! The fur looks very soft and fluffy.

Yabby, great job on the leopard and the zebra!

Mary, your snowscape looks fantastic too!

Naomi, your snow leopard really turned out beautiful! That soft fur is amazing.

Love the gorilla, Chisaii! He has such a great face--full of character--and that nose is amazing. Your vulture is great too.

Robyn, I love your dog! The fur and eyes are fantastic.

Melisa, your dog is great too! Such expression in those eyes.

Tyree, great tiger! Oh, and the goose looks fantastic.

Mary, another great drawing from you! I really love the jaguar's whiskers.

Robin, fantastic dog! Such depth and character.

Connie, you did a great job on the girl! I drew her too, but with graphite.

Thank you for the class, Gavin! I definitely will spend more time playing around with charcoal.


07-02-2006, 11:23 PM
Tyree, the goose is beautiful! We're all being converted!!:D

What can I say? I'm lovin' the charcoal and I'm totally fascinated with gorillas!! This is the busiest I think I've been for a while!:thumbsup:

Here's another go at this! Thanks so much for doing the class Gavin--the fires have been reignited!!


Just how long do these classes keep going anyway?

07-03-2006, 04:40 AM
Anne - Thank you very much. Good to see you back:)

Chisaii - Wonderful gorilla!:clap::clap:I love the expression in his eyes, but also the extraordinary realism of a piece that is still so painterly. Your work makes me realised how I haven't even begun to get the most out of this medium. Trouble is, I abandoned my watercolours months ago to learn to draw. It is very difficult to stay focussed in this candystore called WetCanvas:lol:

Gavin - I also would like to say thank you for a wonderful class:thumbsup:


07-03-2006, 07:13 AM
:clap: :thumbsup: Beautiful drawing! He looks so real!

07-03-2006, 09:25 AM
Tyree - Beautifully done goose!

Chisaii - Another gorgeous gorilla. He looks so real!

07-03-2006, 11:29 AM
Wow, Chisaii! The gorilla is amazing!


07-03-2006, 12:39 PM
Robin: Off to a cracking start - looks like all the hard work is done already.

Mary: Glad it hasn't been a torturous venture for everyone. :)

Connie: Another charcoal addict in the making? It can't be a bad thing! Glad you're having fun.

Tyree: Nice work on the 'Canadian Goose' (?), and with the reflections. If you do get a chance at another, try removing the pastel altogether and use three tones - the paper, charcoal and chalk and see how you get along.

Chisaii: Going from strength to strenth. What else can I say - Fabulicious! Can't think of a better medium for these gorillas.

Robyn: I think you made a smart move. I'm always amazed by how many people start with watercolours or even oil paints, and don't learn the basics of drawing first - learning to draw with a brush and not a pencil, as well as trying to get your head around colour strikes me as doing things the hard way. Glad you're enjoying the class. :)

07-03-2006, 05:29 PM
Chisaii - Looks like you could reach out and touch him and lose a finger or hand. Jeanne

07-03-2006, 08:58 PM
many thanks robyn, mary, anne, chisaii and melisa for your kind comments...chisaii...what an incredible face on that guy...the light on him is beautifully done!!!!! gavin...many thanks and will do that on my next one!!!! tyree:wave:

07-03-2006, 09:26 PM
connie...that was a difficult pose on this little girl, i think you captured her look wonderfully....tyree:wave:

Mary Woodul
07-03-2006, 10:12 PM
Thank you Anne, good to see you!

Chisaii, what incredible work on the gorilla.

Gavin, hope to work on another one tomorrow!;)

07-05-2006, 02:16 PM
Hey Mary, how's that new one coming along?? ;)

Robin Neudorfer
07-05-2006, 02:34 PM
I was able to work some more on the neck, the ear, and the left background. My goal is to finish this during the week.
Believe me when I say the paper is not two toned, weird lighting.
TASHA - Mi Tientes warm gray, 20x20

07-05-2006, 02:40 PM
Robin - Your sister is going to be thrilled! It is exceptional:clap::clap:


07-05-2006, 06:44 PM
robin...this is coming along wonderfully!!!! tyree

07-05-2006, 07:09 PM
Robin - I'm loving this already!

07-05-2006, 07:54 PM
Hey Gavin and All!:wave:

Mary-the cheetah is awesome!!!

Chisaii-another great gorilla!!

Tyree-Love the goose!!

Robin-the dog is to die for!

Connie-love the portrait-great job on the braids. You are right on the burros snout. Hope to work on him tonight.

If I missed anyone my apologies as I have been out of class for a bit.:o

Robin Neudorfer
07-05-2006, 08:32 PM
I hope you are right Robyn. It is always chancy to do something that requires wall space.
Tyree & Melisa - TY, I keep getting distracted by other things though
Judi - I am not ready for that...

07-05-2006, 10:51 PM
Robin, that is just plain--well, its a Tony the Tiger moment--its Grrrrr---reat!!! I hope to be back in action next week--big meeting tomorrow so I will know then so for now, folks, allow me to admire from afar!!

Mary Woodul
07-06-2006, 06:42 AM
Hi Gavin, I just started it and it is another leapord. I didn't know I liked them so much:D

Robin, your dog looks so keen!

Thank you Judi!:)

Hi JayD, we miss you!:wave:

07-06-2006, 08:05 AM
Jay - don't tell me you had to endure those Tony the Tiger adverts from over the pond too! GRrrrrrrrrr!

Mary - Looking forward to seeing it! Now you've experienced the medium, will you be doing anything differently next time around?

Mary Woodul
07-06-2006, 10:40 AM
Jay - don't tell me you had to endure those Tony the Tiger adverts from over the pond too! GRrrrrrrrrr!

Mary - Looking forward to seeing it! Now you've experienced the medium, will you be doing anything differently next time around?

The reference I found has both eyes very visible and opened so it will give me a chance to work more on eyes.;)

Robin Neudorfer
07-06-2006, 01:45 PM
Hi JayD!!! You have been missed.
Mary - TY can't wait to see your next kitty.

07-06-2006, 05:45 PM
hi guys sorry i have been missing in action my back has been playing up but im hopefully back into the charcoal in the next day or so.. it has been driving me crazy a im loving this medium so much and already have lots of photos ready to go lol....
wow everyone is doing such fantastic work!!!!!!!
Mary love your cat!!!! cant wait to see it finished!!! Chisaii i was amazed at your gorilla he is gorgeous!!!! you really have a handle on the medium!!! cant wait to see what you come up with next!! he is so lifelike!!!
Robin - your pup is coming along great :-) looking forward to seeing it finished !!! i know i have missed a few people but i will be back a bit later with comments!!!
and thanks everyone for your comments on my snow leopard

07-07-2006, 05:58 AM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/07-Jul-2006/76807-sheep_pic.jpg Hi guys i managed to get one done today after all its not quite finished still have to do a bit more detail and darken the bottom of the left sheep a bit more...
hopefully i will finish it tomorrow

07-07-2006, 06:21 AM
Naomi - Sorry to hear about your back. Hope you are on the mend now. Your lambs are absolutely delightful - I thought you had posted the photo reference:lol:


Mary Woodul
07-07-2006, 07:59 AM
Naomi, Thank you! I am sorry about your back, that can be so painful. I hope you get better very soon!
The sheep are precious and it is going to be a beautiful drawing.

Gavin,something got in my way and haven't been able to work on the third but charcoal is a medium I don't intend to quit using, I like it very much and I found out I like wild animals. I have always liked them but never used them as a drawing subject. BTW I had not read your article "Afternoon's Pencil Study After William Turner". Your drawing is breathtaking and I also learned something about abstracting that I am so interested in. You abstracted that in such an easy way to understand.:)

07-07-2006, 08:11 AM
thanks mary and robyn :-) i hurt may back at work about a year back and pretty much screwed it up lol...big lifestyle change etc.. but the best thing is about 6 months ago i started drawing.. and now because i cant work i get to teach myself how to draw... so if i ever disappear for a bit its because im flat on my back and high on painkillers lol... isnt charcoal so great by the way!! such a fast medium!!!!

07-07-2006, 10:24 AM
A leopard queen and a gorilla junky - great work on both, Mary and Chisali.
Robin -very appealing dog. I would like to have one like that.
Naomi- I, too, thought you had posted the reference for the lambs. Great work on the pelt.
Gavin - I think I am getting more comfortable with the charcoal, probably not an addict, but not afraid to use it either. Maybe that's because I have misplaced (possibly a
Freudian slip) my chunk and vine charcoal which would be messier, but I should find them and learn more about them too.

Robin Neudorfer
07-07-2006, 10:27 AM
Naomi - your sheep are wonderful, you have captured the wooliness very well. It is definitely worth your final touch.
Rest that back, It would do us all good to remember to stretch it occasionally after sitting too long.

07-07-2006, 04:11 PM
Hi everybody!:wave: i'm late to the party as usual.:rolleyes: i was given this fawn ref from a friend on another forum and had to try it. this is done on Strathmore pastel paper w/Prismacolor wht/blk charcoals, sanguine and sepia sketch pencils...approx. 8X10". i didn't like the paper for this application at all. hard to blend on it. i did find out that i shouldn't put down the sepia first. nothing will go over it. i'm seeing some amazing work on this class from others!!!!:thumbsup:

Robin Neudorfer
07-07-2006, 04:20 PM
Hey Billie! Good to see your fawn.
I can imagine how those other pencils would be difficult to blend and layer. Hey... isn't that what a classroom is for?
How does the pastel paper differ from a charcoal paper?

07-07-2006, 04:27 PM
i'm not sure, Robin. i don't have any charcoal paper. this stuff has that chicken wire texture i hate. i did learn a lot about the individual pencils, tho. i've got another ref going on black Artagain. i like that paper better for charcoal. it seems softer and much easier to blend on.

07-07-2006, 04:38 PM
Naomi - Your sheep are wonderful! Love those wooly coats!

Billie - Love the way you can see the direction the fun lays on your deer. It's beautiful! I have some sepia and sanguine sketch pencils but haven't had much luck with them. They seem to have slick spots on them where no color will lay down and sometimes they even feel like they are scratching the paper.

07-07-2006, 05:41 PM
They seem to have slick spots on them where no color will lay down and sometimes they even feel like they are scratching the paper.

i hear you! i've got a few shiney spots on the fawn. the sanguine feels hard and scratchy. i noticed today w/the humidity higher the sepia felt more waxy going down. i still couldn't put another pencil over it. it would resist it everytime. that's why the fur direction is so noticable. i had to put down the colors in streaks/lines as i couldn't blend and overlay them.

Mary Woodul
07-07-2006, 05:57 PM
Billie, your fawn is just gorgeous. It doesn't look like you had trouble blending because you did a beautiful job. That is the paper I have and I don't like it either.

07-07-2006, 07:00 PM
Hey Mary! thanks.:) i LOVE your big cat! isn't that paper awful?!

07-07-2006, 10:57 PM
Naomi, i just realized those sheep are your finished work. i thought they were your ref!! WOW! INCREDIBLE JOB!!!

07-07-2006, 11:48 PM
Naomi-awwwe:( I hope your back is better very soon!
Those sheep are fabulous and so-o-o soft!

Fozzie-the fawn is gorgeous!!!!! He belongs in a wildlife book!:clap:

Robin Neudorfer
07-08-2006, 12:31 AM
More done on the cheek and the nose area, but spending a lot of time this eve. putting the background in and getting a smooth gradation.
Until I can get this professionally photographed please bare with me.


07-08-2006, 06:44 AM
Naomi: Sorry to hear about the back problems. One of my friends was hospitalised just recently with a bad back, and when I stop to think about it, nearly every one of my friends, and even my girlfriend, have had quite severe back problems (some to a very serious degree) in the past few years. I guess you don't appreciate these things until something leaves you in pain.
Rest easy - preferably with a nice laptray, a piece of paper and a stick of charcoal. ;) ACtually, that probably wouldn't make for good posturing. Maybe a nice upright position with an easel would do it. ;)
Love the sheep - charcoal works a charm in creating that soft fur - you've put it to very good use. :clap:

Mary: Glad you liked the article - I'd forgotten it was there. I liked the description of Turner in one of his paintings, splashing the paint on, scratching at the paper, and working around frantically, until from a ghostly abstract mass of colours, forms and shapes began to get defined into beautiful paintings. I wanted to try and apply something similar to drawing.

Connie: Give it a bit of time, and I'm sure we can make a convert out of you yet. ;) The important thing is that you are no longer afraid of the medium, and it's great to have experiences in different mediums and techniques, even if you don't settle into using the medium in your future works.

Billie: A new face - good to have you onboard! I saw some of these bambi like deers roaming around near Liverpool the other weekend - beautiful creatures. Nicely drawn.

Robin: I love it! It's really coming along very beautifully indeed; I like the gentle flow of the background and your contrasts between light and dark that really give the head definition - can't wait to see it finished.

I'm afraid I'm off on holidays next Wednesday, but I should have the chance to pop in now and again from France, so if my presence seems a little sporadic, this will be the reason. Not that I think any of you really need me - some of you are trying charcoal for the first time, and you're all pro's - I feel like a Jackson Pollock teaching a Rembrandt the intricacies of fine art!

Mary Woodul
07-08-2006, 08:11 AM
Robin I haven't seen a medium that you are not excellent at. This is magnificent.

Gavin Thank you so much for this class it has been one of the best I have had. I might pop in another drawing next week if I have a chance.:)

Have a wonderful time in Paris with your girlfriend. I guess you don't get to see her that often.

Big hand for Gavin, Yay!!!!:clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

07-08-2006, 09:10 AM
It's actually been about 2 months, which is about as long a time as we've been apart, so yes, it will be great to see her again. :D I won't actually be in Paris for too long, but whilst I am there, they've some new museums opening, and there's always new exhibitions to see - it has to be the best city in the world for art.

Thanks Mary. :)

07-08-2006, 09:29 AM
Robin, Love your dawg!!!

Naomi, i didn't realize you were having back problems.:( sore backs are murder! hope you'll be doing better real soon!

Gavin, thanks for your comments.:) grrrreat class!