Posted in Week 39 Trees 5/28/17 - 6/3/17

Process Over Product

Today is an example of how the end result does not show what I learned about process and technique.

Charcoal is one of my favorite mediums, maybe because it is so forgiving and most of my attempts in charcoal come out OK.

Today was not one of those days. However, using this site I learned a lot about drawing from life and important steps that are often overlooked. And each step is broken down with tips as well. Plus, she was teaching a kid, and if a kid can do it, well, why can’t I?

Full disclosure: I did not draw from life. This sinus infection or whatever is not gettting better (but at least it is not worse!) and it has affected my left eye. Basically, it feels like I have Pink Eye, and although it does not hurt, it itches and is extremely fatigued. I considered just looking out the window at a tree, but it is such a sunny day that even less than a minute was tiring.

So – I used the kid’s example (from the site linked above), and he is WAY more successful than me. 


Mine is a muddy octopus tree. I am not sure I would have done much better drawing from life, though. I also had trouble erasing my block mark for the overall treetop shape, so I had to add a few extra branches to cover it up. I cannot decide if it helps or not.

Despite the end result here is what I DID learn:

Blocking – although I have pre-sketched before I really got down to it, I really had not done this on trees before – just gotten basic lines but not so much proportion. One thing that did work in this particular image is the shape of the treetop as a whole, even if the branches do not quite sync with each other.

Detailing – again, I know to start big then zoom in, so this concept was not new, and since I was not working from a genuine model, it also did not come out very well in this piece. What details are on there are haphazard at best. I have done better.

Shading – I am still learning this, and what I achieved here does not match any sense of reality. There are places that are dark that should be light and some outlines are too heavy-handed. I was also experiementing with willow charcoal in this and the detailing step, but one top of regular charcoal sticks it was probably too much. 

Cleanup – what a concept! I saw a student do this in a how-to speech a few weeks ago, and it was amazing to see how her shape blocking turned into a cute drawing of a person — and one step she included was cleanup. This was a chance to put that into practice, and as noted earlier, I had some trouble. But it’s a good step that I know I can take a long way.

How to hold the charcoal was also something I was experimenting with, especially once I got the willow sticks out. That did affect angles, lines, etc., as I was creating them in a new way.

To me, this sketch is trash to look at, but I learned more than I have before, so I count it as a success. (Of course, it has no leaves….I need to get better at leaves….)

OK. Time for another nap!

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I'm a humble little Anglophile with obscure talents.

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