Joseph's shiny new sketchbook
Speaking of charcoal, I have another long pose drawing done with a couple progress shots. This one was pretty challenging and I definitely don't think it's perfect, but actually I think it's probably more correct in value relationships than my last one. I think my last one of the year will be my best. 

I'm trying to lose the overly grainy look to my drawings, but I don't think i'm there yet.


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Great results Joseph. How long are these long poses you do? I assume these are multi day efforts?

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(04-03-2021, 09:42 AM)Who Wrote: Great results Joseph. How long are these long poses you do? I assume these are multi day efforts?
Yes, the charcoal drawings are over the course of three or four weeks. 3 days a week. The pencil figures are just a few days, between two and four.

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Awesome charcoal drawings you also have a great knowledge of human figure

Nice sketchbook keep it up

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(03-31-2021, 09:19 AM)JosephCow Wrote:
(03-31-2021, 06:03 AM)Peter Wrote: Damn Joseph your last few posts have been absolute killer! Flexing those atelier skills arelady. Really digging your self portrait man, would love to see your process for it. :)

Thanks, man! 

THe self portrait I only have one in-progress because I just paint on like 2 or 3 layers. I tried it a different way than I normally would. Normally I would do a sketch with line, and then fill in the shadow with dark grey and then kind of try to paint on top of that. But instead I first went for the color and value straight away, without getting the drawing. So it makes this crude painting but the colors are right when zoomed out. 



I think I made the final painting by starting with a drawing over grey on a new layer, and then pulled the colors from the sketch when I had something a little more accurate. At the end I ended up selecting and shuffling things around a bit because I didn't feel like I had it right. I don't think this is the best way, or even a very a good way to do things, but that's what I did.

Thanks for the progress shot, always love seeing how someome built up a piece. Like to see if how they approach somethingis better than mine. :)

Hey whaever works fpr you haha :)

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(04-03-2021, 08:43 AM)JosephCow Wrote: I'm trying to lose the overly grainy look to my drawings, but I don't think i'm there yet.


I think it's just the medium, you have very clear edges but if you wanted a sharper, smoother look I think it's your paper. The texture is noticeable on the edges where I can see the charcoal skipping over it, and it's pretty consistent. What paper are you using? You may want to try a hot pressed paper.

"Your art has same face syndrome"

"Yeah, and yours has same tits syndrome, you don't see anyone complaining..."
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Sketcherinos
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(04-16-2021, 03:59 AM)RottenPocket Wrote:
(04-03-2021, 08:43 AM)JosephCow Wrote: I'm trying to lose the overly grainy look to my drawings, but I don't think i'm there yet.


I think it's just the medium, you have very clear edges but if you wanted a sharper, smoother look I think it's your paper. The texture is noticeable on the edges where I can see the charcoal skipping over it, and it's pretty consistent. What paper are you using? You may want to try a hot pressed paper.
 Thanks, and yeah I think you're kinda right. It's Strathmore charcoal paper, 300 series. Not sure on the other specs or anything. I'd like to try a smoother paper because it is annoying to fight those lines all the time. But the tooth is important to some extent to hold the charcoal I think.  I guess I don't mind it that much, it's probably just not intended to do super tight finish on, which normally I don't care about anyway.

I think part of it is also how I am in the habit of applying charcoal, using hatching lines with a pencil, and this creates a grainy effect as well. I'm trying some other techniques in the one I'm working on now, so we'll see if it makes a difference. LMK if you know of a brand of paper to try.

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(04-16-2021, 08:36 AM)JosephCow Wrote:
(04-16-2021, 03:59 AM)RottenPocket Wrote:
(04-03-2021, 08:43 AM)JosephCow Wrote: I'm trying to lose the overly grainy look to my drawings, but I don't think i'm there yet.


I think it's just the medium, you have very clear edges but if you wanted a sharper, smoother look I think it's your paper. The texture is noticeable on the edges where I can see the charcoal skipping over it, and it's pretty consistent. What paper are you using? You may want to try a hot pressed paper.
 Thanks, and yeah I think you're kinda right. It's Strathmore charcoal paper, 300 series. Not sure on the other specs or anything. I'd like to try a smoother paper because it is annoying to fight those lines all the time. But the tooth is important to some extent to hold the charcoal I think.  I guess I don't mind it that much, it's probably just not intended to do super tight finish on, which normally I don't care about anyway.

I think part of it is also how I am in the habit of applying charcoal, using hatching lines with a pencil, and this creates a grainy effect as well. I'm trying some other techniques in the one I'm working on now, so we'll see if it makes a difference. LMK if you know of a brand of paper to try.

I do prefer cold pressed myself, and hot pressed can be easy to smear and often requires a fixative when you're finished, but that's why it makes a great base for using erasers and sponges - removing pigment and working on negative shapes.

Personally I've accumulated too many blocks and the only branded one I can identify is Paper house which is a decent budget brand in Aus, about $50-$60 for 100 sheets depending on size. I honestly have never tried charcoal specific paper, mostly just mixed media, anything that can take a lot of working into. I see a lot of watercolour paper being used by artists, probably for the same reason. 

Artists like Jono Dry use Arches 300gsm Aquarelle hot pressed paper and Allen Williams often uses the same, or smooth surfaces like clayboard and wets charcoal or graphite to apply by hand before brushing into it using dry paintbrushes and kneadable eraser. Jono's blacks are always pitch and smooth - Allen likes to create accidental shapes with the wet graphite and develop them with finer details. 

Arches can be pricey and it's available everywhere but paper is paper. If it's watercolour it will be able to withstand large drawing tools like charcoal and if it's hot pressed it will have a smooth and subtle bite to it.

"Your art has same face syndrome"

"Yeah, and yours has same tits syndrome, you don't see anyone complaining..."
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Sketcherinos
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Hi — just looked over the last three pages...don't remember commenting here before.

Anyway — your life drawing and studies etc are very impressive. I love the subtle way you approach light and shadow — very soft and classical but well defined. Your understanding of form and anatomy are clearly honed.

Sorry I can't offer any crit — just encouragement to continue

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In terms of critique I've got nothing useful to say—I can and will rave about your work though!

I love the progress shots of that last pose. The way you simplify the lines and compress values in the first two is not only efficient but pleasant to behold, and the delicate value transitions in the last shot are the sort of well-executed work that makes one want to take up charcoals. It might be a funny thing to say but these toes are my favorite part; it's so satisfying to see how you've expressed foreshortened planes with minimal information.

I'm happily perusing your entire sketchbook now and looking forward to seeing more of your charcoals!

P.s.: Just saw your Sabriel piece. That made me extra happy for silly reasons since I love those books.

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(04-17-2021, 10:48 PM)dimensional-knight Wrote: In terms of critique I've got nothing useful to say—I can and will rave about your work though!

I love the progress shots of that last pose. The way you simplify the lines and compress values in the first two is not only efficient but pleasant to behold, and the delicate value transitions in the last shot are the sort of well-executed work that makes one want to take up charcoals. It might be a funny thing to say but these toes are my favorite part; it's so satisfying to see how you've expressed foreshortened planes with minimal information.

I'm happily perusing your entire sketchbook now and looking forward to seeing more of your charcoals!

P.s.: Just saw your Sabriel piece. That made me extra happy for silly reasons since I love those books.

Thanks! I'm flattered, really. Especially the pleasant to behold part, haha. But yeah, actually I have another in progress which I believe improves upon the technique a bit, and I will post it's progress soon.

I really like Sabriel, too, I don't know why it never got as popular as other series. I'm not a big fan art person, but I might do more from it for fun.

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Nice sketchbook with solid academic type of studies. Very solid values and proportions. If you want to go into illustration at this point I would work more on imaginative stuff as well. Even just exploring different ideas. But then painting from life is fun in itself so it might be working for you.

Keep going. I'll try to keep an eye on this thread.

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(04-18-2021, 05:48 AM)JosephCow Wrote:
(04-17-2021, 10:48 PM)dimensional-knight Wrote: In terms of critique I've got nothing useful to say—I can and will rave about your work though!

I love the progress shots of that last pose. The way you simplify the lines and compress values in the first two is not only efficient but pleasant to behold, and the delicate value transitions in the last shot are the sort of well-executed work that makes one want to take up charcoals. It might be a funny thing to say but these toes are my favorite part; it's so satisfying to see how you've expressed foreshortened planes with minimal information.

I'm happily perusing your entire sketchbook now and looking forward to seeing more of your charcoals!

P.s.: Just saw your Sabriel piece. That made me extra happy for silly reasons since I love those books.

Thanks! I'm flattered, really. Especially the pleasant to behold part, haha. But yeah, actually I have another in progress which I believe improves upon the technique a bit, and I will post it's progress soon.

I really like Sabriel, too, I don't know why it never got as popular as other series. I'm not a big fan art person, but I might do more from it for fun.
ooo what page is the sabriel piece from, I didnt see it in the last two? It was a childhood favourite of mine. Also great studies and stuff here, it's looking very atelier art so your foundation is going to be solid

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(04-19-2021, 11:16 AM)Skeffin Wrote: ooo what page is the sabriel piece from, I didnt see it in the last two? It was a childhood favourite of mine. Also great studies and stuff here, it's looking very atelier art so your foundation is going to be solid


Thanks, It's all the way back on page three! it was a while ago.

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I haven't updated in a while... 
The school year at my atelier is almost over now, these are the last projects I am finishing. I am kind of meh about them both. There's not much issue with the cast drawing but i'm kind of bored of doing casts at this point. I don't really think I learned much new from it.

The figure drawing Idk. Something about it is just awkward despite being rendered pretty smoothly. Part of it is the angle, which I didn't really much of a choice in. The post is clearly not really supposed to be viewed from this angle. Both arms look like of bizarre. Maybe I'm overthinking it, though.

 But I think when you do something over different days it's really hard to get something that feels cohesive, like each part is kind of ok, but it's not that convincing altogether, like the torso, head, and legs don't quite go together. I've really learned a lot during my year at the atelier, but the one thing that annoys me is that projects sometimes drag on longer than they remain fruitful. I'd rather take what I learned to something new sometimes than just keep working just for the sake of finishing it.


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(05-07-2021, 11:29 AM)JosephCow Wrote: The one thing that annoys me is that projects sometimes drag on longer than they remain fruitful. I'd rather take what I learned to something new sometimes than just keep working just for the sake of finishing it.

And if you don't drag it out the general feedback is you could have used that time to review and be critical of your own work. Needless to say I find all that does is make people overly critical instead of using what they've learned for the next project.

"Your art has same face syndrome"

"Yeah, and yours has same tits syndrome, you don't see anyone complaining..."
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Sketcherinos
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(05-07-2021, 12:27 PM)RottenPocket Wrote: And if you don't drag it out the general feedback is you could have used that time to review and be critical of your own work. Needless to say I find all that does is make people overly critical instead of using what they've learned for the next project.

I'm not sure I get your meaning. I kind of feel that dragging it out provides a lot more time to be critical of your work, at least. But do you think that makes people critical in an unproductive way?

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Lovely cast drawing for sure. I think you're right, the figure's far arm looks weirdly stunted. It's possibly the difficulty of the unfortunate angle. I've experienced the same thing, where something is drawn accurately, but just looks wrong in the drawing. "never let accuracy get in the way of a good drawing" is the way I've often heard it explained. As the Atelier you are at seems to go for a highly accurate observed approach, anything that doesn't really lend itself to a good drawing I guess isn't allowed to be discarded or artistically amended, and so the smallest "deviation" from what you actually see can cause cascading issues because the tolerance level for "errors" or deviations is much lower. Does that make any sense in your specific context?

To me it looks like the elbow or what appears to be the elbow of the far arm appears much higher than it should be if it was vertical. If that arm's elbow was more sticking out away from his body, that could suggest potentially the arm is not foreshortened convincingly in your drawing. It also makes a self contained shape that tangentially sits on the chest instead of feeling like it connects to something. Perhaps a bit more introduced atmospheric perspective on that arm would push it back a bit more into space too. You could also look at introducing some variation in the shadow values of that arm. I feel that the mostly single value creates a too unified separation between chest and arm which draws a lot of focus to it.

The near arm isn't as bad, but there is some legibility issue with the wrist area, and perhaps again tweaking the foreshortening so we really feel the elbow coming more towards us might help.

But yeah it's all good. Fix it till it works, or take the learning and move on, no big deal either way.

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Yeah you basically hit it on the head, Amit. I ended up redrawing the arm at a different angle and making some other changes today. Idk if it's really drawn better, per se, but it IS smaller lol! Maybe that's the best I can do for it. 




I guess I have to disagree with the "never let accuracy get in the way..." maxim in this case, yeah. I have to kind of remind myself that academic exercises are academic, and 'making a good drawing' is something different, less literal. If it were my choice I wouldn't draw it this way at all, honestly. I would add the stuff in the background, change the pose a bit, and so on. Having a blank background with just this line for the floor is extremely boring and awkward to me. But the point is to get a handle on the tonal relationships and proportions, and that's it really. More and more I should be able to make artistic choices without sacrificing the accuracy to nature, and that's the goal.

Not that you have to literally copy everything like a photo at the atelier, that isn't the case at all, but if you start taking little liberties it leads to more and more, causing cascading errors like you said. and then suddenly your work is only loosely tied to nature at that point.. so amendments have to be made really cautiously. Not that it's an excuse for this drawing haha, I just think it happened to come out somewhat awkwardly this time, though the value relationships are not bad.

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Really nice work with your latest - anatomy seems spot on, great shading skills as well. I'm always impressed with your use of values, always very dynamic and natural looking. Overall it's obvious you're quite skilled with your figure/life drawings. Keep up the great work and thanks again for your input as well, very much appreciate it!

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