pattern, clothe and the first charcoal study


The goals for this assignment: Learn to use charcoal. Look at and identify value.

In this first study (with new materials) students learn to see value, in particular they work with local value (value intrinsic to the form). Basically they look at darks and lights.
They learn to work charcoal (entirely different from the marker they just mastered).  They set in a ground (mid-tone value) across the entire picture plane. They use a fine point  eraser to set in the composition, going from the general to the specific (also different from the previous ways of developing a composition).  They put down charcoal to set the darkest darks and pick up (erase) charcoal to define the lightest light. They work the surface. They look at and learn to work edges.

I love watching this first charcoal study develop. A different type of understand is formulating and confidence is building.


Brittany’s knot and patterns


Victoria’s pattern and knot


Michael’s knot


Kestin’s swirl and pattern


Maygin’s slip knot and stripes


Robert’s knot and diamond pattern


Kanyata’s knot, stripes, diamonds, zebra, and silk


Natividad’s knot and red cloth

Drawing 2 students work in pastel, a more complicated medium. The focus: local color – true color.

Susan, an advanced student, works with collage. She takes numerous prints (she’s a printmaker) and works to create a new composition. She resists the process at first but then decides she likes it. I do ask her to include drawing – graphite and/or pencil color. One thin connecting thread is what she gives me. I’ll be working on getting her to do more.


Susan’s collage

It’s been a long week. I appreciate the critique and our discussion of local value. This class is committed and continuing the work feels significant.

wanted for messing with charcoal and pastel

The semester is unusual in that I only have 4 female students in the class.  What’s more unusual, none of them are present at the start of critique, this week. Eventually one of the women does show up. Better late than never.
In the meantime, we have fun with the class photo.  We create a line up. The only thing these men are guilty of, is drawing with charcoal and pastel.

Critique is good. Everyone appreciates the finished drawings….they’re strong compositions. We discuss the challenge of the material, that everyone experiences. We discuss the variety of the values, and the surface of the drawing. We talk about how realistic something appears in terms of the cloth, and we talk about space, layers, and edges.
I’ve discussed this assignment before (11/30.2009). We’re in the midst of working with value. It’s the first real charcoal drawing many of the Drawing 1 students have ever worked on (keep this in mind when you see their work below). One advanced student works in color, with pastels. They complete a value scale right before starting the still life. They know by the time the value scale is finished , elbow grease will be required, from this point forward. Also necessary and in development, is another form of patience.  It seems they just learned to control the marker, and now they have to let that go…because charcoal…has it’s own very unique challenges, in terms of trying to control it.  It goes everywhere.

I always notice the class, in general, becomes more quiet with the charcoal studies.

Davin and Misty



In all honesty, I find it very hard to be in the classroom teaching, on some days.  I want to be drawing too…that’s what watching the students learn this particular medium especially, does to me.






Davin, Drawing 2

The end of semester is quickly approaching. One more drawing, and one more critique.