In the seventh class we learned an additive/subtractive technique with charcoal. We’d first tone the paper a medium gray with compressed charcoal. Then instead of sketching with vine charcoal (dark on blank paper), we sketched with a plastic eraser (light on gray). From there, we can get lighter shades by removing charcoal with any of the various erasers, or darker shades by adding charcoal. And in both cases, we can get delicate tonal gradations by smearing the charcoal around with our fingers.
The first exercise was a notoriously difficult thing to draw: draped fabric.
We didn’t have time to get very far with this drawing. We just tried to get a few of the folds to start looking like fabric. I’m not sure I really got there. “It’s starting to happen!”
Then we put the fabric aside and tried to draw some random objects again, with the same additive/subtractive charcoal technique.
Pickings seemed slim for interesting compositions at my end of the table. I latched onto the roll of paper towels with a few sheets crumpled up. I put it barely off center, knowing I’d need to justify that decision with a strong center of interest in the crumples. This might have worked, but I didn’t get far enough along to prove it.
In the upper left is an example of a sketch done with the plastic eraser that has had no shading at all. It’s the rear view of a little plaster bust. Ugh.
The homework assignment was to try again to render some draped fabric. We weren’t required to finish this drawing, just a section of it that successfully communicates the sense of fabric. My subject was my baby blanket — the one I had when I was a baby and have used continuously ever since. They don’t make baby blankets like that anymore.
Homework 7. Grade: A. Pia’s comment: You’ve got it!