Category Archives: Charcoal

Catch it! – original cricket drawing

My latest cricket drawing has a focus on the moment when the batsman knows he has clipped the ball, glancing behind in the hope that it goes to ground and not to hand.

a charcoal cricket drawing of a slip catch fielder about to catch the ball

The drawing started off with a preliminary sketch in my sketchbook.  Here I’m just making a loose sketch in watercolour to see how it works and to see if it will make a good finished piece…

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It had all the potential for the drama of the moment that I like to capture in my drawings so I went ahead and started a full drawing.  For my cricket drawings I work on Canson Mi Teintes pearl grey paper (the smooth side).  I take sheets of A3 and cut them down if I need to.  Here are progress shots of the piece…..

If you notice the original finished drawing actually had a bowler on it too.  I decided that the bowler brought nothing to the drama and I found his pose a distraction so erased him from the finished piece, working him into the background instead.  The finished piece can be purchased along with prints from my website shop here

Or by clicking on the image below…

a charcoal cricket drawing of a slip catch fielder about to catch the ball

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Custom charcoal portraits

I’ve been working hard on improving my portrait drawings and finding out what is my preferred paper and preferred medium.  After making a long list of all the different surfaces and all the different mediums I like to work with and practising over and over I finally settled with charcoal on Strathmore toned grey paper.  A real bonus happened when Strathmore released a toned grey mixed media paper which is exactly the same tone grey and surface but a thicker version.  This is a great bonus as I did have a concern that the original toned paper was a bit on the thin side.

 

Here a few of the recent portraits I have confidently completed in this style…..

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As you can see it really has become a big step forward.  My portraits are becoming quicker and more relaxed.  I intend to do portrait sittings and try to work on my life drawing skills, but continue to work from photographs in the meantime.  If you are interested in commissioning a portrait from me, they are all 11 x 14″ on toned grey Strathmore mixed media paper and cost £120 + shipping.  They will be shipped flat in an all board envelope for you to frame.

For further details you can visit my website and read my commission page here

Forward – original charcoal rugby drawing

rugby drawing in charcoal of an england rugby player running for a try

Forward

This has been drawn with Nitram charcoal on grey Canson Mi Teintes paper.

It is 20 x 16″ framed in a black wooden frame.

The original & limited edition prints are available.

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The inspiration for this drawing came from watching all the action in the recent six nations championship.  I watch video of the action I prefer, freeze it where I want it and then take a screenshot.  It is the most effective way of getting the exact image that I want.  In this case I wanted to save that point where we are not really sure if the forward is going to get away from the defender and score the try.  The force of action is represented with loose charcoal stokes.

Here are some shots of the work in progress….

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When capturing movement in art there are some principles that I have learnt:

  • ensure some part of the body is grounded
  • avoid figures in the air.pay close attention on which parts of the body is moving, in real time we would probably see them as a blur, represent them loosely.
  • represent the muscle structure of the body accurately on parts of the body that are not moving as that is where the power comes from.
  • sometimes there is so much movement that you can represent the air around the figures moving instead.  In such a case try to imagine the air around them as water, which parts would be disturbed and which parts of the air would be still.

 

There are also limited edition (50) prints available….

Forward (2) print

Father Figure – graphite and charcoal contemporary portrait

charcoal and graphite drawing of two men one a father and son portrait

Father Figure

 

This idea for this drawing came from a commission request.  The client, drawn at the front of the piece requested the drawing as his ‘father figure’ – to whom he always referred to him (I still don’t know his name) had recently died.  He also would have celebrated his 70th birthday some time during the portrait’s execution.

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The photo presented lots of questions.  The main subject was at the back of the photo, the setting and background were not particularly interesting or added anything to the image and it is a typical selfie photo where the subjects are looking straight into the camera, not really showing any expression or emotion and are frozen for the pose.  I wanted to show the bond between these two and so my main focus and the thing that showed that bond most strongly was the arm around the shoulders.  I decided to therefore allow that to come forward out of the drawing towards the viewer.

These are some of the materials I used for this portrait.  A combination of charcoal and graphite.  I also had a couple of new deliveries during the process so I included them too.  One was Grumbacher charcoal which I’m looking forward to using more in the future.  It seems very similar to Nitram to be honest but the hard sticks seem a little more useful than the Nitram hard which can be very scratchy.  The other thing I tried out was some carbon pencils.  The combination of charcoal and graphite in these pencils seem to help work over the some areas that had either been heavily charcoaled or graphite.

Some early progress shots.  I used Bristol board for the background but won’t be using it again for a combination of the two materials.  It’s wonderful for graphite but the charcoal struggled with the smoothness.  I had to work it in really hard to get it to make any significant effect.  Laying down the shadows and initially working out where to go with the charcoal and where to go with the graphite.

Here are a few more shots of the progress.

Successes for the drawing were that I achieved a looseness with the drawing that I wanted as well as keeping it tight and fine around the facial features.  In the past the charcoal has prevented me from working on fine details in a portrait, this is something that the graphite allows me to do.  The two materials work well together with some restrictions that are also probably dependent on the surface.

Failures for the drawing is that the pose was restricting, I shall in future be looking for more expression and I worked the eyes of the younger man in graphite far too heavily which has given it some shine.

Reunion Drawing – charcoal drawing of a family reunion, graphite snowberries & cricket mugs

This week has all been about working through this very technical drawing.  In the nick of time I figured out that you can work graphite with charcoal to help with those fine details on the very small faces.  This is a drawing from an old black and white photo that has been commissioned by a customer in Texas, USA.  The family will be reuniting again this year and he wanted it complete to share with them.

Here is a slides show of progress shots…

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Here is the completed drawing, winding its way to Texas

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Daily Sketches

Back to my botanical studies from life.  This time snowberries, a lovely gentle bunch of berries found in most hedgerows in winter.

graphite pencil drawing of snowberries framed in a wooden frame

Snowberries


Cricket Mugs

Finally I have some cricket mugs that I really love.  Initially going for two of my most popular drawings – That Taylor Catch and Swept Away if they prove successful I will introduce more of my designs.  Check out my collection on my website shop here or click on the image to follow the link.

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Charcoal portrait & wicket keeper drawing

Finally I get around to drawing a man with a beard.  It’s a great challenge and Steve has kindly agreed to model for me.  The completed piece is underneath.

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charcoal drawing of a man with a beard and glasses

Steve


Wicket Keeper Drawing

This week I have been completing my wicket keeper drawing.  I took a break from it as I was not getting a likeness but managed to complete it successfully.

Here is a video of is progress….

The finished piece is not available to purchase at the moment but limited edition prints (50) are available.  Only prints bought directly from myself as the artist will be the correct quality, signed and dated by me.   The image below is of a lower resolution version for the internet.  Click here to go to my website shop.

charcoal wicket keeper drawing with a green cap

Standing Up to the Stumps


Sales this week:

Two limited edition prints