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Santa left charcoal in my stocking (art advice)

  1. Dec 24, 2008 #1
    My parents apparently realized that I have not done any artwork in quite some time and so decided to get me art supplies for christmas. Not a bad idea really. I have been rather depressed and working on some art may help me feel better. Problem is they gave me charcoal and pastels, media which I have never worked with before.

    So I am wondering if anyone here has any experience with these and if they can give me some tips (Zoob where are you?).

    I am assuming I will need a good fixative if I ever finish anything I like and want to keep. Does anyone have prefered brands?

    I tend to make alot of mistakes or erase and change things several times while drawing, a bad habit I have never been able to get rid of entirely, and as far as I know I can not do this with either medium. Does anyone know a good way to work around this? I was thinking of light sketching my forms with a pencil before starting in with the charcoal or pastel but that would seem to sort of defeat the point.

    I'll be looking up some websites for information on this but would definitely like input from anyone's personal experience.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2008 #2
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    wow, I hope you meant stocking and not stalking. You know what the judge said about stalking.
     
  4. Dec 24, 2008 #3
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    You can do quite a bit of erasing with charcoal. I'm not so sure about pastels, but you can't beat them for pure color and there is nothing wrong with a light pencil sketch to start with. I'd say it is essential for the pastel work. In my opinion charcoal should be a lot free-er and I wouldn't use a pencil sketch when working with it, except in a very basic way for proportion and that sort of thing.
     
  5. Dec 24, 2008 #4
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    Oops... yeah I meant stocking.

    I thought if you tried to erase charcoal it would just smear?



    edit: if a mod could change my title it would be much appreciated.
     
  6. Dec 24, 2008 #5
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    actually it erases easier than pencil. get a kneaded eraser. If you've gone super dark in an area you might have a problem erasing it, smears and smudges are part of charcoals charm anyway.
     
  7. Dec 24, 2008 #6
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    I've only tried the pencils, hard lines, so that was probably the issue. Smudging was the one thing I really liked abou the idea of charcoal. I'm just so paranoid about messing up my work.

    I have a kneaded eraser. I also have those pencil shaped things made of paper pulp. Those are smudge tools right?

    Have you ever used any fixatives?
     
  8. Dec 24, 2008 #7
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    I've never need to. I eat lots of bran and I've never been constipated.
     
  9. Dec 24, 2008 #8

    turbo

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    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    I think he meant to hold your teeth in.
     
  10. Dec 24, 2008 #9

    Evo

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    Zooby uses colored pencils. I use mostly pencil, pastels and charcoal.

    Fixing mistakes with pastels is super easy simply by going over the area you want to change with the new colors. if you want to go much lighter, you can softly scrape some of the pastel off the paper first, before going back over it in the colors you want.

    Here a few "basic" tips. I took an art course in pastels, picked up some great new techniques.

    http://painting.about.com/cs/pastels/bb/BYBpastels.htm
     
  11. Dec 24, 2008 #10

    DaveC426913

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    If you are trying to erase then philosophically you should go to another medium.

    The purpose of a charcoal tool is to produce loose and open works. They are excellent for warming up when working from life - do your 30 second and 1 minute gesture drawings using charcoal - great sweeping arcs, flow, movement, curve, no detail. this is critical to loosening up and keeping your eye on the larger flow of the work to follow. Once you're loosened up, you can switch to a medium that allows more control.

    I know you like precision in your art. This charcoal is an opportunity to break you of that style and loosen up. Don't simply use it as another flavour of your precision work.



    BTW, are they oil pastels or chalk pastels?
     
  12. Dec 24, 2008 #11

    turbo

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    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    Don't be afraid to experiment with multiple media, like pencil and pastel, etc. Some of my favorite art-work was stuff I did just for fun in college when I was experimenting with drawings in India ink (steel quill pen), colored with watercolors. I have a cousin who makes beautiful floral pictures by tearing and gluing those paint-sample cards you can get in hardware stores. This is up-close so you can see the details - like any impressionistic work, it "comes together" when viewed from a distance.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Dec 24, 2008 #12

    DaveC426913

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    I never knew you sketched.

    Show! Show!
     
  14. Dec 24, 2008 #13
    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    Maybe charcoal is the wrong medium for an ape. Hmmmm..
    Thank you Evo!

    This is exactly what I am wanting to try. My work rarely flows. It tends to be a long arduous process, though I enjoy it regardless.

    They are actually monochromatic gray scale. I think my parents didn't really know the difference between charcoals and pastels and thought they were the same thing. Do they work together? I would assume they have a different consistency.

    That is rather nice.
    Most of my work, perhaps due to my original inspirations, tends to be comic bookish. Softer impressionist styles may come hard but should add a softer more realistic quality to my work.
     
  15. Dec 24, 2008 #14

    DaveC426913

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    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    I don't know. Are they oil or chalk?
     
  16. Dec 24, 2008 #15

    DaveC426913

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    Re: Santa left charcoal in my stalking (art advice)...

    This is so gorgeous I am inspired to try it. I think I'll pull a photo out of my gallery and head to the paint store.

    Will you show us the whole thing?
     
  17. Dec 24, 2008 #16

    turbo

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    That pretty much IS the whole thing, Dave. The larger pieces of paint-chip are almost 2". It's beautifully framed and matted - and the nicest gift she ever gave us. It's a close-up of a flower garden and it looks wonderful from a distance of 8-12 feet or so. Poppies, droopy daisies, hollyhocks... She paints well, and when I saw one of her impressionistic paint-chip creations, my jaw dropped. I must have raved about it enough to please her - a couple of weeks later, she brought this to the house.
     
  18. Dec 24, 2008 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Oh. OK, good.

    That was what I thought at first, then I re-thought: perhaps when you said "up-close ... detail" you meant you were showing us a detail piece.

    But if there had been much more to it, you'd lose the detail in the overall.

    I like it best the way it is, just balancing on the edge between "seeing the forest" and "seeing the trees" if you know what I mean. It's like a picture that changes every time you blink. The gardeny equivalent of a Necker Cube if you will.


    I love your photo gallery btw. You and I have similar photog styles.
     
  19. Dec 24, 2008 #18
    "seeing the forest" and "seeing the trees"

    I like it :)

    goblets or faces. Almost both if the edge is balanced.
     
  20. Dec 24, 2008 #19

    Danger

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    We always had good results with Krylon at the sign shop. That was for ink on velum, though; I don't know if it would apply to your needs.
     
  21. Dec 24, 2008 #20
    I always used hair spray, but I'd go with the Krylon as well.

    If you are going to use pastels get out of the greys. No other medium can match pastels for color intensity. they are pure pigment with none of that oil or acrylic medium dulling things up. well maybe a little binder in there, but they are as pure as you can get.
     
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