A Trip Down Memory Lane : Sketching With Charcoal And Soft Pastels

Hey! Look! I managed Pencil Shading. I am confident that I can handle it well. May I try Charcoal now? Hehe…If that is your question “Sure! Why not!”. Charcoal sketching is very similar to pencil shading but in ways, it is also different. We use charcoal pencils or charcoal powder instead of graphite. In pictures, graphite looks a little greyish while charcoal gives a distinct black colour.

Would you like to join me down memory lane? In this post I am sharing my artworks I did years ago. Some while learning at the class and some afterwards. Soft Pastels (chalk) is also a similar medium. It has colours and is easier to handle. I couldn’t take formal training for Soft Pastels but I can decently manage with it. In fact, I really loved the medium once I started working with it. One can do much with it. Paintings with Pastels are quick and can look very realistic.

Charcoal Sketch Flowers
I started with Flowers
Charcoal Sketch Cheetah
Then tried Animals
Charcoal Horses
These are done with Stumps and Charcoal Powder
Charcoal  Sketches
Sketching Human Faces – Basic
More detailed Sketches – Portraits

Those are charcoal sticks in the picture above. They very are useful for filling darker tones in large spaces. All the pictures here above are of my artworks that I learnt and did in the class. Charcoal Sketching wasn’t exactly my strength but I enjoyed it and I think I did pretty well. Finding a good teacher is a blessing. So many can draw and paint but not all of them can teach.

Many people think pencil shading or charcoal sketching means making something exactly like that in a photograph. Please understand we are not competing against computers. Earlier when we did not have cameras people liked to have portraits and landscapes for memory. That is why artists tried to paint those pictures. That is replaced with photography. The cameras we now use are so amazing with details and precision that we need not paint the same.

Charcoal  Sketching
I think this one turned out really well

Some people edit photos and add effects to make them look like sketches or paintings. For me, if the computer can do it better, I feel it is better to let them do it. Personally, I like sketches that have a hand-drawn touch or twist to them. For my exams at the classes, we had to draw a sketch of a student sitting around: first in a pencil and then a charcoal sketch. That was my attempt at ‘live study’. I was happy I cleared the exam with pretty a good score.

Storing Charcoal Artworks can be a little tricky. The powder continues to dust off. It can spoil the other artworks stored with it. Store it in a cello envelope or sleeve. Once it is final, spray it with a fixative to fix the powder. Not only will the Artwork stay well, it won’t dust off and spoil the other papers it is kept with.

Charcoal Pencils
In the making with Charcoal Pencils
Charcoal  Sketch Girl Horse
One of my more recent works

Soft Pastels are more like chalk. They work very well for shading large surfaces. We can use the broader side as well as the pointed side. We also get Pastel Pencils for more precise finishing. More the shades in the colour box, the better for shading. Blending done with the finger works best.

Pastels on Paper
Pastels on Paper
Pastels and Charcoal Sketch
This is a mix of Pastels and Charcoal Powder

Nostalgia! I am all ready to paint with charcoals and pastels all over again. I would like to make a new artwork and see how it turns out. Would you like to give Charcoal Sketching and Soft Pastels a try? Have an Arty Weekend!

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Published by #artistniralimehta

Nirali is an Artist doing Art and Illustrations both hand drawn as well as digital. She is a trained professional with good work experience in her field. She masters various art styles and has shops on Etsy, Redbubble, Society6 all three by the same name ‘NMartworks’

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