Saturday, May 1, 2010


9.5" x 6"
Charcoal & Carbon Pencil
Canson 90lb Classic Cream Drawing Paper

This is Paul.  I've been wanting to do a portrait of him for about 9 years now, and finally got up the courage to approach him a few months ago.  (So I'm shy about my art).

Paul's another co-worker (work is an artist's jackpot, it's beginning to appear).  He's a techie - really into gadgets and new ways of doing things - and in my opinion a soft spoken genius. He also reads cool books (maybe that's because he reads some of the same kind of books I do, haha), and listens to neat music, and lives with his partner and 3 llamas, 2 horses, 20+ chickens (I think), 2 dogs, 2 cats and a bird - and I met almost all of them - really cool! All in all, a well rounded renaissance man.

As for the portrait, I'm finished - as far as I can take it, as far as I want to take it.  This was my first foray with rendering dark skin, and I was, frankly, afraid I might not be able to do it.  The hardest part was - believe it or not - making the skin dark enough while keeping the details.  Every layer of charcoal wasn't dark enough, yet I was terrified that the next layer would be too dark and obliterate everything. 

Finally, there were so many layers on there that when I breathed a fine black dust cloud would rise above the paper  - no kidding, folks! I didn't know what else to do - it still didn't look right - and then my Carbon pencils arrived.  I had read about them on a number of sites, and had researched them on the web, so I ordered some from my local art store.  It took 2 months for them to arrive, but they saved me.

They are called Wolff's Carbon Pencils, and come in 4 grades - B, 2B, 4B, and 6B.  They are a mix of graphite and charcoal, and have the best properties of both. They go on smooth like graphite, with a very fine grain, but give a flat black colour like charcoal.  The best of both worlds.  They let me go darker where I need to, and smoothed out the lighter areas so they didn't look so grainy.  And they don't dust as much as charcoal.

Really folks, you ought to try them out.  They're a wonderful addition to my repertoire of art media.

So now I'm on the lookout for my next interesting victim - I mean portrait subject :-)

Happy art everyone!

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