Thanks to guest writer Mesha Koczian for today’s post
James sketches realistic portraits of people and animals. He starts by projecting the image onto his paper (vellum-surface bristol) and sketches the outline and major highlight spots. He uses a soft charcoal pencil with a smudge stick and a kneaded eraser to achieve the varying shades that occur in real life. The charcoal is layered up and taken away creating depth. He goes over the image after covering it in charcoal and adds the fine highlights and details.
James enjoys using charcoal because it’s easy to use and is relatively cheap to buy. He prefers charcoal to graphite because it doesn’t shine. Instead of reflecting light, it seems to absorb it. “Horses are my favorite subject right now, next to people, because I just started to draw them,” explains James. He covers the shape in charcoal with basic shading first then goes over it and defines the shadows and highlights. He uses the smudge stick to spread the medium adding a little along the way. “I like to add the major highlights later,” says James.
“I like to draw from pictures instead of real life because I don’t like to divide up my work into sessions,” He explains, “Sometimes I’ll sit and work on a drawing for 14 hours straight or until it’s done.” According to James, he’s still learning and is just getting the hang of charcoal as he’s only been working with it for 5 years. He hopes to keep learning and experimenting with new techniques and mediums.
(see COMMENTS below for some clarifications and additional information from James)
Click on thumbnails to see larger pictures.