Out of sketchbook experiment #2


For this second experiment I picked this photograph, similar to the scenes I have been using in the past. For the moment I want to keep the scenes I’m drawing similar, so I can compare technique easily. The contrast in light, and the amount of texture, line and pattern made it a challenge to draw, but I wanted to challenge myself.


A shot from when I was working on the piece. I want to document it here to remember the process.

I started with very gestural lines to block in the angles of the prominent branches.

Then I went in with blocks of charcoal that I could smudge.

Then scratched into the paper with a scalpel and rubbed the charcoal into the scratches to imitate branches.

I would then add more charcoal on top and erase some with the putty rubbeer and my fingers.

This method of working is different to how I’ve worked in the past. Many more layers to creating the final image, but I think it works for this type of scene because it allows the many layers and different patterns to be imitated.


This is the finished piece above. I think the outcome demonstrates how this technique and idea has potential, but there parts that I want to push further and improve.

What works

Scratching into the paper worked. It creates these delicate lines that stand out from the charcoal and give the piece more depth. The expressive charcoal marks play with the idea of simplifying light and dark, abstracting the image. I really like how gestural the marks are, the movements I make when drawing have been captured well.

What doesn’t work 

The images still feels quite flat, especially in the foreground. Although the putty rubber works well at creating light in the background texture, it’s difficult to get sharp lines and very white highlights with it, which means some of the highlights are too grey.

What next 

A bigger piece to work on would give more room for detail and more opportunity for gestural movement. Perhaps some different mediums – ink would give great contrast, and layering bleach and pastels would be interesting. I would also like to look at some more artists.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s