Above is the last drawing at last night's quick sketch session at the Palette and Chisel.
In this post I'll describe how I create a drawing like this using my evolving procedure for half-hour quick sketches from the model in charcoal. My materials are:
1. 18 x 36 inch Strathmore Drawing Pad (80 lb. off-white medium surface paper) for half-hour sketches. Newsprint for anything shorter.
2. Coates #12 Willow Charcoal (Thick Sticks).
3. Faber-Castell Pitt Extra Soft Pressed Charcoal.
4. General Extra Soft Charcoal Pencils.
5. Really dirty chamois (I used to try to wash them but they get full of charcoal right away, so I just use them dirty and they help make a subtle background tone).
6. Kneaded eraser.
7. Alvin White Vinyl Pencil Eraser (these are great because you can easily slice off a clean piece with a single-edge razor blade)
8. Single-edge razor blades.
I start with vine charcoal absolutely forcing myself to put down the whole pose in one minute with broad strokes using the side of the charcoal. Then I come back and start positioning everything by making darker marks where I see good landmarks. Then I draw as good outlines as I can and shade as much as possible. I almost always start the whole drawing with the head and then come back to it when I'm at the end of the vine charcoal phase, probably 15-20 minutes into the drawing. When I start to do the features, if I do them, I use the charcoal pencil and then continue cross-hatch shading around the head and rest of the figure holding the pencil sideways. I use the compressed charcoal for the largest black areas such as the hair or where I want a black background.
The vinyl charcoal wipes off easily and I use the chamois to do corrections by just wiping away entire areas or to correct badly-drawn outlines or to soften the shading. I use the vinyl eraser to bring back the lightest highlights and sometimes to erase compressed charcoal or charcoal pencil lines, although they can't be erased completely.
This is a work-in-progress as I usually run out of time. I do feel that I get more done in each of the quick sketch time periods from one to thirty minutes as I get more experienced, i.e., what takes fifteen minutes now used to take much more time. To use a sports metaphor, doing the one-minutes, etc., is helpful in “slowing down the game” when I get to the thirty-minute poses.