24.04.2013

Inverted charcoal drawing

Praying girl charcoal drawing by Gregory Avoyan
"Praying Girl" made by me
One of the interesting graphic techniques to describe should be inverted (white-on-black) work in charcoal. I used this technique in "Praying girl" and some other graphic works, and found it really satisfying for myself, so i thought it may be interesting for someone else.

So to natural charcoal - if you ever used it, you for sure noticed how easy it is to smudge. This makes charcoal drawing extremely vulnerable, even fixing it with fixative can easily damage a drawing. But when it comes to drawing with white on black, this quality makes charcoal great material to use.

Charcoal from http://www.himalayafineart.com


Actually i love charcoal for its painterly feel - it reminds a paint, not a drawing material, and it also very dark and this gives us nice deep shadows. It can also be erased to very very light grays, so bright light is what we also have with it. 

Easy smudging and erasing give us good possibilities to draw white on black.

You can use your fingers for bigger areas, and a smudge stomp for making details. Also brush may be used for some tendernes :)

Smudge paper stomps from https://www.currys.com
The technique itself is simple - you cover your paper with charcoal, leaving uncovered those places where you want to put the brightest lights, and then you can draw with stomp right on this charcoal base. After having sketch established, just go on removing charcoal on bright areas, then on less bright and so on.
The technique reminds of a high printing, like linocut and wood block.

The biggest problem with white on black drawing is not to make a negative. We used to draw with dark materials on white paper, so common process is that we work more on shadows and leave light areas untouched. So we often try to simulate this process while drawing white on black, and as a result we have image with bright shadows and dark lights. This is wrong (unless you are really making a negative) and this should be kept in mind while drawing white on black.

Thanks for reading! If you have experience with white on black process or anything you'd like to share - please, comment!


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