More charcoal drawing this weekend. Really enjoying revisiting this medium.

Melissa : Charcoal on toned paper. 20×16

This one is “Melissa”. A big thanks to melannc at for the reference.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.


Charcoal Drawing

This one is approx. 22×18, taking about 3-4 hours. I had a great weekend in the studio. Experimenting a bit with tools that I just haven’t spent much time using.

In my world of engineering, symmetry is a part of design almost daily. So this gentleman’s beard bothered me somewhat. I often have to convince myself that symmetry is not always the norm in art, and with portraiture, it can lead to great character representation.


imageI have a huge respect for some of today’s artists and their charcoal drawing capabilities. Their drawing skills and understanding of values are something I hope to achieve through more of these kinds of drawing sessions.

Thanks to skydancerstock on for the reference.

Sketching for a better self.

Constantly sketching is crucial to any artist’s painting skills. It strengthens painting abilities, experiences, and ultimately the final creation. Without accurate drawing skills, we spend more time correcting and possibly disposing of many creations because they “just don’t work”. Believe me, and I know many of you who love to create will understand, not every approach to the easel or drawing board has a happy ending. But more good comes from the preparedness than not.

So, I continue to sketch in the mornings, when I can, to keep the skill-set up to my expectations, and to take some time to indulge in my creative side. Each session, regardless of its success, is a learning experience. It truly is. My studio is littered with my “failures”. Some in piles of stretched canvas and some hanging on my studio walls. All of them I consider studies. I hate them in some respect, but they really do serve as a reminder of what not to do, and sometimes how I may have actually succeeded with my personal lesson.

The following are a few more recent morning sketches done before heading off to work. They do have points that I would change or rework, but for a half hour worth of pencil in my hand, they serve their purpose. The more I do of these, the more confident I am at the easel with a brush in my hand.

Experimenting with media, morning sketching.
Experimenting with media, morning sketch.

This one, while it doesn’t look anything like the subject photo that I used for reference, was an experiment with some media and tools I had lying around. Years ago I had some classes with a local artist in a local art league, where we learned how to use media differently from a traditional elementary taught art class. It was quite the experience and taught me to see values as I had never seen them before. One of these days I’ll post a process that I learned from those early days. “Experimenting with media” was more for discovery and fun than anything. Creating for creating sake. Doesn’t have to amount to much, just create!

25 min morning sketch
25 min morning sketch

I enjoy sketching the portrait in different viewing angles. To me, that expresses the most emotion. Maybe that’s why I watch people so much. I am constantly looking for that new portrait concept, or emotion to convey.

30 min morning sketch
30 min morning sketch

At times, even the simplest looking sketch can take me longer than others. Getting the feel for the drawing just doesn’t come quickly at 4:00 am. Of course, there is the possibility that the amount of coffee I’ve consumed by then could be the difference.

Thanks for your continued interest and support!

Quick sketching.

Okay, I finally did make it to the studio this morning for about 40 minutes of sketching. I had recently purchased some new materials… PanPastel in black, some Sofft knife pads, and charcoal pencils, all of which I noted from David Kassan’s website. So I decided to get ’em out and play a bit. I really like experimenting with drawing processes, and quite honestly, these reminded me of some classes I took years ago.

Anyway, this is the result of my first attempt at sketching in over three weeks. Summertime almost always slows the studio time. It’s not anywhere near a finished piece, And I have a lot to learn, but quite different from my past sketching.

Morning sketching
Morning sketching