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Getting Started with Charcoal & Chalks

Lesson 8 of 9

Demo: Pull Pigment From Non Spray Fixed Surface

 

Getting Started with Charcoal & Chalks

Lesson 8 of 9

Demo: Pull Pigment From Non Spray Fixed Surface

 

Lesson Info

Demo: Pull Pigment From Non Spray Fixed Surface

Now you can see that it's got sort of coolness to it. It's going to feel really different and I'll put this over here. It's gonna feel really different than this one because I'm not gonna use any chalk white at all. I'm only going to use, I better lift my sleeve. I'm gonna get this here. This is not spray fixed, so I can get this all over my arm so I'm trying to be careful. And I usually am in the studio when I'm using charcoals simply because it's a messy medium. This is not for everybody, not for the faint of heart. This is, you're gonna get your hands dirty, you're gonna get on your elbows and on your clothes. I would dress in my most casual thing if I'm in my studio because I'm gonna get charcoal on it. Charcoal comes out of clothes so it's not that big of deal but still. Okay, so I'm gonna use my, I'm gonna use a couple different erasers. I'll start with my, that sort of stiff, Staedtler Mars, it's white on one side and blue on the other. And this is a really good tool 'cause it h...

as a good corner to it. Although, this is a pretty small ball so I might switch to the pencil. (blows) I am gonna use this, I can see it better. So I'm just gonna pull the light off and again I'm kind of leaning to the side because I need to see my pencil circle that I drew. I can't see it otherwise. (blows) Again, we're just making our moon shape, so I'm just gonna pull a fair amount of pigment off of this surface. Now all's this is is compressed stick charcoal and I'm doing it a subtractive method, which means I'm just pulling that color off of. The more I press, the more that comes off. If I press really, really hard, I can get that right off the surface. It's not pure white, but that's okay. It's pretty close. (blows) And it's creating a kind of mood and atmosphere. It's sort of nice. The other thing that I would have on hand (blows) is you might have a soft brush. You could use a paper towel, but you don't want anything that's too stiff to remove those little specks of eraser that just comes off as you're erasing something. Again, I'm gonna try shifting my mark to not just straight lines, but I'm gonna do a little swirl, like this. So you can see, and you can see the eraser bits here, I'll blow those off in a second. What I would do when this is finished is I would spray fix it perhaps to hold it, the color on the surface. But the only issue with spray fixative that is a little bit of negative, not so much when you're working with black and white but when you're working with the color is that it tends to darken the color, the pigment. And so you could kind of see that with this piece here is that, and I just, I swiped a little bit of this white across, but it creates a dark, more textured mark than this. This has only been pressed in with my hand and a rag. So the issue is, and it's not a bad thing with black and white work, but when it comes to color, it can be a little bit of an issue that it darkens the tone or the color. Some people won't use fixative on their pastel at all. I'm one of them. I'll show you pictures that I don't spray, so it's a very dangerous, like if I bring them into an elementary schools and they're little kids. I'm like, okay just don't touch the pastel pictures please. Because if they do, (mimicking erasing) it'll smear all over the place. The color's just vibrant. It's sitting on the surface, popping off the surface, so the sacrifice is that it's more delicate. But so far, so good. (knocks on table) Knock wood. I have not had any issues with anybody brushing their hand across the surface (blows) of one of my pictures. So here's, I'm gonna lighten this up a little so I match that. I'm just very lightly grazing across the surface of this ball to create a light tone in the shadow of this white moon or ball or whatever you want to call it. And I'm trying to make a sort of, I'm changing the direction of my line. I tend to work in strokes of line, but you could do strokes, you could do really smooth sharp marks. There's lots of ways you can move the marks across the surface and it really all depends on the texture or the tone that you want to create. It also depends on your idiosyncratic way of working. We all have our oddities about how we like to work and there's no rhyme or reason to that. And I think that's the thing that a lot of people don't realize, especially if they're a beginner, they think there's an absolute right way that one should do it from start to finish. This, this, this, and this. It's really not true. There are properties to the materials and a way they're gonna work, like a scientific properties of the materials, things they'll do, things they won't do, but the way that you handle that medium, the way that you put your marks down on the surface, those are kind of personal to you. And some people like to work in broad strokes, some people like to work in fine line, that's just a personal equation. There's no, absolutely no right or wrong way, stylistically to work with any of these materials. Alright, I'm gonna push this in to make it an even smoother ball, but I could leave the line. (blows) So if we look at the difference between the chalk, which is additive, and the subtracted color piece, the sprayed surface versus non-sprayed, you can kind of see that this ball looks almost blue by comparison to this. So there's a real color shift when you add chalk white, whether it's the pencil or it's the actual piece of chalk. And that's neither good nor bad, it's just you want to be aware of the difference between the two. Do you want your piece to feel cool, atmospherically cool or do you want it to feel a little warmer? When I made my breast cancer series and the DACA piece, I wanted a little bit of warmth, I didn't want it to go ice cold. And that was just personal expression, that's what I wanted.

Class Description

Are you interested in drawing with charcoal or chalks but not sure how to get started? In this course artist and illustrator, Mary Jane Begin will introduce you to charcoal and chalks. This class is perfect for beginners looking to learn the basics of the medium in order to begin a drawing practice. By the end of this course, you will be equipped with the know-how to start experimenting and drawing with charcoal and chalks!

In this class you’ll learn:

  • All about the different types of charcoals and chalks and how they work
  • Which supplies and papers to use when working with charcoals and chalks
  • How to begin making simple marks and shapes to familiarize yourself with the medium



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