This is Maxwell.
I named him after a character in a historical novel I was listening to whilst drawing him.
He’s been a saved photograph for quite a while, and in fact I have tried to draw him a few times. Due to the fluffy nature of his coat it would only work with certain mediums. Also, interestingly, I always have a problem with brown. Lots of birds and animals have quite a lot of tan colour in their feathers and coats, for some reason that colour or tone always seem to be absent from my sets of pastels.
In the end I had to mix it myself. It’s the first time I’ve used watercolour with charcoal but they work quite well as long as the charcoal drawing has been fixed before you start applying the paint.
Here are a few progress shots….
Maxwell, as with Betty was painted in charcoal initially. It gives the bird a good flowing undercoat before working in my detail with the sticks of charcoal. Probably a bit more controlled than with Betty. Once the charcoal is dry its very easy to manipulate it, move it around, lift it off etc.
He always seems to be quite chirpy to me, singing away merrily…
The finished piece is available in my website shop – click here to go there!
Or click on the framed piece below…
This is Betty, a sheep that I took a picture of whilst walking my dog Charlie.
It’s the first sheep I have drawn, think I will definitely do more. She was fascinated by my dog Charlie, watching him wherever he went, constantly munching her grass as she did so. She was actually a pretty good looking sheep.
I hadn’t planned to do her just yet but I was desperate to try out a new charcoal technique that I had heard of and that is painting with charcoal. To be fair I couldn’t find out much about it. I had heard of painting a charcoal wash and of adding water to the charcoal already down to create a darker line but not actually doing a full painting with it.
Anyway, after flicking through my photographs I decided that Betty was going to be my guinea pig (or sheep).
All I knew is that I had better use watercolour paper. Fortunately I have quite a stash of watercolour paper, particularly the heavier paper from a phase of botanical watercolour last year.
Selecting a piece I began to make the wash, using a mixture of left over bits of charcoal dust from sharpening sticks to a pot of charcoal powder I began simply to just mix water with it.
Trying it on a scrap of paper I was immediately excited by the lovely dark colour and the way the brush strokes showed through. Adding more water created a light grey and playing it carefully I could have the full range of light grey to dark black. It also dried very quickly, leaving a dusty surface that I could lift off and move around.
Here’s a little clip video of the charcoal with water….
I took the painting with charcoal as far as I could but it became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to do the fine details with it. So I worked on her face with normal charcoal sticks. Here are some progress shots…
I tried painting with the white charcoal by sharpening the white charcoal stick and using that dust, it created a grey rather than white which I used on her body as she had a lot of grey hair.
The finished piece can be seen on my website shop by clicking here
Or clicking on the completed drawing below…
I intend to use this process again. Points going forward would be to plan it a little better with an initial drawing so that I can paint on the charcoal in exactly the right place. I had to move one of her eyes afterwards….
Let me know if you have a go at this technique
He’s a little junco bird, a very fluffy one.
Charcoal is a great medium for capturing movement.
Birds are never still, they are constantly moving or about to. When drawing or painting birds I like to ensure I’ve captured that flitting sense that a bird has.
Here are some progress shots as I build up the charcoal…
I make sure the bird is completely drawn in charcoal first, adding the colour just at the end.
Sebastian is available to buy from my website shop here
Or click on the image below to visit him….
It was suggested that I complete a drawing of Ross Whiteley hitting a wonderful six sixes in the 2017 T20 Blast for Worcestershire CC. After viewing the over I decided to draw all six of the hits. It was a great challenge and the largest cricket drawing I have completed. Setting the hits out as in a cricket score book they are drawn in charcoal and white charcoal on light grey pastel paper.
This was a great challenge. Initially I was only going to complete one of the hits. After watching the footage I decided to sketch them out in my sketchbook with pencil and watercolour to get an idea of which hit I preferred.
Here is a shot where you can see the sketchbook open at a couple of hits…
I could not decide which hit to go for so struck on the idea of completing all six. At first I thought of producing a long narrow drawing with them all on in order. That may have proved tricky with prints and indeed to frame it (maybe another time) so then I thought of setting them out as in a score book, like a dice of six.
Here is a slide show of some of the shots…..
My biggest problem was simply the lack of detail. I could not make out any of the features of the cricket players or details of their clothes etc. I also wish it had been test cricket so I could add my signature red to the ball. However, I concentrated on the hits themselves. Hope you like it…
Prints are available (limited to 50) Click here
Or on the drawing below to go to my website….
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…
Here is the completed drawing, winding its way to Texas
Back to my botanical studies from life. This time snowberries, a lovely gentle bunch of berries found in most hedgerows in winter.
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.
It’s great to start a new drawing, the excitement of the empty easel and then beginning to plan it all never leaves me. I’ve tracked this one as I have gone along because I know people like to see the progress.
I hope you enjoy them, more to follow…..