Daily Sketch: Two Cats in the MorningPosted: December 21, 2011
Mewsette gazes dreamily out the window while Jelly Bean dozes, something I see all the time. They were butt to butt, really pressed together, and Mewsette had her tail partly wrapped around Bean, very sweet.
This is sketched in nice soft, messy vine charcoal, which is what most people envision when they think of charcoal for drawing; it’s just burned willow vines, probably one of the oldest drawing materials in history as you’d just pull it out of the fire when it’s cool and you’re ready. We’ll never know because it turns to dust and blows away if you’re not careful; any art would have been impossible to preserve.
The sort of charcoal I’ve used for prior sketches was compressed charcoal, which is, as it is described, compressed and also mixed with a binder that holds it together. It’s a little neater and easier to control and the pencil or stick wears down much more slowly, but the softness and malleability of the vine charcoal give a more organic feel. You can achieve a hard line or a wide shaded area just by turning it a certain way; you can blend it with your fingers or any manner of cloth or paper blending items, and use an eraser to draw into the charcoal-covered area.
I’ll have to keep a sketchbook with textured paper handy for this and pastel; the texture holds the dust much better.
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Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.
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