Thursday, April 2, 2015

Charcoal Portraits: First Attempt

I'm a little annoyed with myself for tweaking the settings of this blog, going from public to private and then public again. The truth is I just feel self-conscious for not posting more stuff more regularly here. But hey, it is what it is now. I'm so tired of trying to "get it right" - why not just appreciate life (and blogging) for what it is, stop worrying about not doing it the right way and just enjoy it! 

Before we left for a Spring break, I did what I have been wanting to do for a while now - Justin and I went to Michael's and bought a few things, including charcoal pencils and a large brown paper notebook - just as Beate suggested. And on our mini-break, I dipped my fingers into charcoal drawing for the first time. I found that I like the freedom this media offers - it is somehow more forgiving than a regular pencil. Though, I have no clue what to do with all this freedom, of course 'cause I don't know the techniques. So I just sketched a few portraits of my family - the upper two looking at my "models" (they did not know that they were modeling at the time), and the lower two "from my head". There is no need to look for likeness as I'm just doodling. I think what counts to me is that I'm able, more or less, to catch my impressions about a person. There is something surprising and liberating in it.

PS The paper in reality is light brown, not gray as it appears on the photos.
We also bought a special spray, but have not used it yet, so there are a few smears on my sketches.


  1. Excellent! This is wonderful!! And yes, we can spray these tonight. :)

  2. It's lovely and I am so glad you have begun this! I love charcoal drawing too and yes it can be very smudgey so a spray helps. I used to put paper towel pieces between the pages of my notebook but it got very messy. I love your drawings and I know exactly what you mean about it being your interpretation, your way of seeing, and just sort of capturing a moment. I also know how you feel about not doing it 'enough' and so not sure about sharing or not sharing. I do not paint or draw or write or cook or walk nearly as much as I want to. Please keep sharing whatever little bits you have. I think it is wonderful! xoxo

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Shawna! I'm like a child - in awe at what my fingers can do, even though I don't really think too highly of the result. :)))

    2. I suspect that most people who create are not all that impressed with their own creations, or maybe I just tell myself that because I am never impressed with my own and want that to be okay-LOL. I think we see our own work differently the way we see ourselves differently than how others do. Sometimes I look back at older things and think oh dear, it's worse than I thought and other times I think it might be better than I thought. I really do like your drawings. They have a wit and energy about them. xoxo

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  4. Oh, I'm glad you linked to these because I don't follow this blog of yours (there didn't seem much point since it's mostly written in a language I can't read), and these are really lovely! I always think it's a bit magical how a sketch portrait can be just a few simple lines, but the viewer can still recognise who the portrait is (I recognised everyone here immediately!)

    I have a box of those charcoal pencils, which I really need to play around with some more. I'm not such a fan of charcoal sticks as they get too smudgy (and I break them) but the pencils seem like a good compromise...