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Use of real charcoal??

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#1 rolandlinda3

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 11:54 AM

We have to do some demos in Uganda. Charcoal is easy to get anywhere since it is used as the primary cooking tool. Before I embarass myself and pick up a piece to work with in a demo, has any one used the real natural thing to make a sketch? If so, anything I should watch for? How do you pick a piece among pieces? I have a few days to try something, then it's off to do the real thing in front of a village....

#2 markseibold

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 05:40 PM

Roland

Funny you should ask this just now as I am taking an art class in sketching in charcoal from a lady friend for the past two weeks. I am doing this for fun and not expecting anything new, but I take anything like this with the attitude that anything is possible. The class is mostly in charcoal on white paper and I am contemplating a large lunar sketch in this theme although it will be much more work as the light and dark is all opposite for my style, and all though it is the world standard for roughing in the image on an oil painting canvas, I never used charcoal extensively until now. It is actually a step in reverse for me without colored pastels but the image linear is now the intention, and not so much the color.

Depending on your stores availability in Africa, it comes in natural small roughly sized and shaped vines and larger perfect cylindrical round sticks. Some versions are more intense and machine compressed in square sticks; you would mistake those compressed versions for rich pastel chalks and it is more permanent on the paper. Where the old fashioned simple charcoal vines is easy to sketch and it can simply rub right off the paper. It gets on your hands and looks like a mess as if you’ve been doing auto repair work but it rinses off easily with simple soap and water and light scrubbing.

I have not really researched it much past that. I’ll attach a close –up of the charcoal in a minute as I edit this post.

Although this is not the subject image for the forum here, I’ll attached an 18” X 24” I produced from a live still life in the class the other night just to give an idea of the blending and image achieved. It is actually two images, each at 18” X 24” Canson 50 lb Rough Layout Paper in white; the image on left was done in a 10 minute limit, the image on right is in 6 HB pencil as a blindfolded sketch, I highlighted the top portion with charcoal pencil as it was too weak to record in photo. The still life was a small set-up of an artificial round fruit balanced on a wood chair wing-back propped on a Roman column on a wood block with tablecloth.

Good luck and enjoy!

Mark

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#3 markseibold

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Posted 14 November 2009 - 06:21 PM

Roland and all

Maybe I’ll work up a more extensive and formal tutorial later but this is just to suggest the look and initial feel of charcoal as opposed to pastel. Many will shy away from these mediums as they see it getting onto ones hands. I would counter that ‘life’ gets on our hands just as easily. To experience the creative smearing of the chalk and the charcoal is to experience real life; or perhaps, only a mere artists life? :smirk:

Also, other materials are suggested in sketching class with charcoals: A Kneaded Eraser and a soft rubber-plastic eraser that has been cut to sharp at one end (shown held in the artists left hand; the plastic eraser was used to remove charcoal, *refer to sharp white lines in smeared dark surface which can render crater rays on a lunar sketch.) Other charcoal sticks, a small natural vine stick and larger cylindrical stick setting at top and one held in the artist’s right hand over current work.

-Mark

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#4 rolandlinda3

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 08:13 PM

Thanks Mark. Ask the lady about using the real thing....not an art supply. In Africa, forget art supplies. When I mean charcoal I mean the bags of stuff they sell to cook with. Believe it or not, that is all that is available. They have pencils (we got them for the students) but the teacher have to demonstrate things (and we will show them how). The only thing I know to work with that works in front of a large class is "cooking" charcoal.

#5 markseibold

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Posted 17 November 2009 - 08:29 AM

Roland

Sorry about my misunderstanding. It sounds like you will have a real discovering experience with the oldest of old world elements.

I'll look forward to seeing what they will do. I suppose some medium well burnt branches of certain woods will be similar to the actual art supplied charcoals of the moden world.

Good luck and please let us see what the students produce!

Best regards,

Mark

#6 rolandlinda3

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 07:10 PM

It's OK, but do ask the lady and any other traditional or older school artists that you know. I have made inquiries, but so far no response about experience.

Thanks.






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