Gesture drawing with Charcoal

A favourite book just now is Bill Buchman’s Expressive Figure Drawing. His drawings are beautiful but also instructional and inspire me to ‘have a go’ and draw in a less inhibited way. 

Last night, I rediscovered some chunky sticks of compressed charcoal at the back of a drawer and I decided to play using photographs from one of the online sources that I mentioned in an earlier post.  All except the last of these drawings was made in less than 30 seconds.  They are purely intuitive, gestural responses to their subjects.  I found the process to be liberating because they were not intended to capture anything more than the essential lines and action of the figure. I used Cretacolor Chunky charcoal and an A3 pad for all except the last drawing, which was made in A4 Hahnemühle sketchbook.  The odd shadow in the corner of some is the result of photographing late at night with poor lighting.  They are presented in the order drawn. 













I reworked the drawing below because it appeared a bit too abstract.  It is the most recognisably figure-like.  I didn’t like it last night but, looking at it again this evening, it is growing on me even though the head and neck are not quite right. Compressed charcoal doesn’t lift with an eraser in the manner of vine or willow charcoal; hence, the drawing does not have the highlights that it should and corrections were not possible.  I reduced the head size by emphasising the lines roughly using a charcoal pencil.  Her arms are too short for their intended position but, viewed as slightly foreshortened, extending towards the viewer, they sort of work! I love the texture from the paper that the side of the charcoal creates in the fabric swathes.





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