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seaking
02-10-2000, 05:28 PM
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Critiques/User/Kristofer.jpg
Kristofer is my son. I drew this with a #2 pencil on copy paper using a cigarette filter for blending. I would like to make it look softer with more depth to finish it. It will be a present and would like for him to like it enough to hang in his house somewhere besides the laundryroom in the basement. ;-). Better materials to work with are in my future so any help in that arena would be more than appreciated. brand names and type. Is charcoal more difficult to work with than say a softer pencil than I am using? I love to draw and have been urged to paint, but would like to get this drawing more refined. Thanks all. Especially you Pat!
I LOVE your mystic painting!! It's nice that so many people here are so helpful. Adelphia

Patti
02-10-2000, 05:37 PM
Hi Adelphia, This is really nice and I am sure he will like it. (Hope I didn't make it too big but I like to be able to see details)
Pat

Rod
02-10-2000, 06:11 PM
lovely drawing , Adelphi, glad you gave posting another go , thanks for sharing your work,
Rod.

seaking
02-10-2000, 06:33 PM
Thank you for the compliments on my drawings. any suggestions on what materials I should buy? Those who draw before they paint are encouraged to reply as my progression is towards painting even though i am unsure of what kind I will tackle first. Probably acrylic vs. oil though, as I am a creature of instant gratification (though tempered a bit with age). Thanks again, Adelphia

Phyllis Rennie
02-10-2000, 09:25 PM
Regarding pencils: You'd have a lot more versatility with drawing pencils instead of the #2. They come in varying degrees of hardness "H" and softness "B". Example: 2B is not as soft as 5B. When you use 5B or 7B, you can get very dark. The "H" ones are harder so give a much lighter mark. They are usually in the 90 cent each price range. And you need a paper with some "tooth" to catch and hold the marks. Can't think of a brand name at the moment but someone else probably has a recommendation. You could always ask at your art supply store too. You have such a good ability--don't make the mistake of wasting your time with poor quality materials--the better stuff isn't that expensive and the results are worth it. Phyl.
PS. You're better off painting with cigarettes than smoking them but a paper stomp is the more traditional approach.

[This message has been edited by Phyllis Rennie (edited February 10, 2000).]

Drew Davis
02-10-2000, 10:24 PM
Nice work. You've got a grasp of value as opposed to outline, and the individual features are well done.

Since this is the critique forum, I'll mention a few places that I think could use some small improvements. The lower edge of the hair on the left (his right) seems to be curled forward and very rigid, unlike on the right. The background about at neck level changes abruptly from light on the left to dark on the right, although above his head it's a smooth transition. It's just a little too light on the left and too dark on the right to match the gradient above. The nose is rotated just a bit to the vertical from the center line of the face. The lips return to the same tilt as the eyes, but the angle on the nose has moved them off to the left just a little bit as the lips stay under the nose. The debate as to the center line seems to carry down into the chin, where there's a sort of "upper chin" aligned with most of the face, and the lower arc, a bit to the left, aligned with the nose.

(To exaggerate the last point, try turning the image upside down and drawing -- on your computer, not the original! -- a centerline down the bridge of the nose between the eyes, another aligned with the tip of the nose, one through the lips, and the chin. Also, a line connecting the center of the eyes, and lines from the center or inner corner of the eyes to the outer corner of the lips. Real people aren't perfectly symmetrical, certainly, but these lines might help you see the zigzag in the features I'm talking about. It's very slight, just a bit of a twist toward being square with the paper instead of maintaining the tilt of the head established by the neck, eyes, and lips.)

Do you work on one feature at a time, and then move on to the next? If so, you might want to try developing the picture as a whole, working all over it, getting everything placed and then gradually bringing the whole thing up to detail, rather than completing one bit at a time. That should help any tendency to render individual parts correctly, but with them not quite meshing together.

As for materials: I think vine (or willow) charcoal is even easier to work with than graphite. It lifts easily, moves around, and creates a large range of values without getting burnished and shiny like graphite can. The compressed charcoal (ground up and mixed with clay, like a black pastel) is trickier. It's powerful stuff, very contrasty and harder to manage, but creates marvelously velvety black than vine can't quite reach. For pencils, I like the Grumbacher "Pentalic" woodless ones. I generally use just the soft range (HB - 9B). Charcoal pencils can be handy for tight black marks where it's hard to place the big chunks accurately.

I find uses for all three sorts of erasers (the hard pink sort, the softer white vinyl ones, and the kneaded rubber), but a kneaded rubber eraser is indispensable. You can shape it into edges and points to draw with, or to lift out precise areas. Especially with charcoal, "lift" seems to work better than "rub". Erasers can draw in white. They can also do soft and smeary marks after they've picked up some dark.

I have a slight preference for Canson to Strathmore sketch and drawing paper. You might also want to try bristol board, which is a sort of heavy laminated paper. I'm not very keen on the grid-like texture of traditional laid charcoal paper. Canson Mi-Teintes is a bit better, as the grid there is sort of hexagonal rather than square. (Of course, if I started drawing bigger, the grid would be less important.) Try toned papers, of colors other than just white. (You'll probably want a white chalk of some sort -- say a NuPastel, or perhaps a white "charcoal" pencil -- for lights on mid-tone paper.)

You can buy paper "tortillons" (or "torchons" or just "stumps") to take the place of your cigarette filter. They can hold a point, at least long enough to blend small areas. I mostly just use my fingers, and tell myself the mess is half the fun of charcoal.

seaking
02-10-2000, 10:42 PM
Excellent Drew! Exactly the kind of support I am looking for. Would you mind going to "seaking" that Patti posted for me and critique it as well? I do infact work from all over the paper. but with this particular one i didn't so much as with the one that I have asked you to check out next. It is the most recent one I've done.
Thanks again Drew. Adelphia

kayemme
02-11-2000, 01:58 AM
hi!
if you like a really soft, subtle approach, might i suggest conté pencils or conté crayons? use a chamoise (pronounced shammy) to lay down light color "washes" and use a Magic Rub (i swear by these) eraser to block out your whites.
conté pencils are "harder" (probably a 4B?)than their crayon sisters(more like medium soft chalks). you can get great subtle effects, smooth transitions, and with good paper and a chamoise and only ultramarine blue and sienna, you can get a look close to porcelain for skin tones. ..
they're not too expensive, maybe $1.50 /pencil, $2 for a few crayons; i've been lucky enough to find them on sale.
another thing is to shop craft stores for stuff like some paper (depending on what you want)and art pencils. there's a "craft superstore" here called Michaels that almost always has a 40% off coupon in the Sunday paper. i'm sure you have something close to that.
good luck to you.
~km

robinsn
02-11-2000, 12:54 PM
Those were all good points. What I also see is not enough value in the drawing as a whole. The light source is upper right (our right), yet the left cheek is brighter than the right. It may be the scan, but I see no real highlights except on the hair. The brightest spot on the drawing should be right forehead and right cheek. I would lighten the right side and/or darken the left to give shadow, shape, depth. More shadow on the neck and on each side of the neck in the receding hair. In fact, if you deepened all of your shadows a tad, I think you'd see an improvement.

I found my work improving a lot when I realized that I was being very subtle with light and shade, trying to be 'accurate.' When I let myself go and made things a little brighter or a little darker than I actually thought it ought to be, I found when I stepped back to look at it, it was much better.

------------------
-Randy
My Art Gallery (http://www.artistnation.com/members/paris/randy/)

seaking
02-12-2000, 12:17 AM
Thank you all,
Your comments have been very helpful. I have applied a number of them to my other posted drawing and like the improvements. I am starting my 5th drawing as well as improving the previous. Sharing your experience has been more than appreciated.
Adelphia