Ok, wow, just had a breakthrough with my art..... So I've been drawing on this toned paper for well over two years now but have always used just my black and white charcoals with all of it no matter what the tone of the paper.
At this week's figure session however, I pulled out a sepia chalk pastel pencil to use with my white chalk for this pale yellow paper and BAM! All of a sudden this figure and its environment are one completely cohesive entity. The black was always so harsh and cold on this tone of paper - so much so that I was not going to include these particular lighter papers when making my next round of sketchbooks, but now I'm thrilled to experiment more!
The difference between these drawings is not all that incredibly stark, however the brown tone really seems to take the edge off and makes the figure appear more like a warm body, rather than a cool rendering. You feel it?
This is the main reason why I like keeping a variety art supplies in my studio that may not be in my current forte, yet can be something that just comes to me or that I see another artist use and want to try myself. For example, I've been to an art gallery before and became really inspired to replicate the watercolor or colored pencil techniques that I had just seen as soon as I got home. Even though I use those materials incredibly rarely these days, I'm still so grateful to have them whenever the mood to branch out strikes.
I highly recommend for other artists, especially ones who are still discovering their own style, to go to their neighborhood locally owned art store and just have fun picking out a few random drawing instruments or inks or even clay to bring home for a rainy day or as a cure for artist's block. Trust me, before too long you will be glad you did!
Anyway, back to these fabulous new variations of my charcoal figure sketches.... I am so ecstatic and surprised by what a difference softening the tone has made! Now I feel like I've got a whole new world to look forward to as far as creative color matching during the figure drawing session.
You can see the harshness of the shadows in the drawing on the left, yet even though the values get just as deep in the drawing on the right, the figure feels more a part of his environment. Subtlety is the name of this game for sure.
I have spoken to many other artists and creatives and many discuss having breakthroughs during times of experimentation with new materials. To be clear, when I say 'breakthroughs' I am referring to personal times of rapid growth or advancement; it's basically an epiphany within one's own artwork that can seem to happen all of a sudden. Varying your materials can be a great way to get out of a rut when experiencing a recurring issue within your artwork, or as a way to advance or push your limits by encompassing something new with familiar materials. One thing is true for all artists: developing artistic technique is a journey, not a destination.
Where to Buy:
(Of course right after advising everyone going to their local art store I post links to order pastel pencils online, but my local store does not have these, so I'm sharing in case yours doesn't either. You can still go to your local spot to find other fun materials though!!)
In the photo above the top two are a different brand than the Carbothello, but they are very similar texture so it will be easier just to order all in one spot. Happy exploring! Please feel free to share with me or tag me on social media for anything your new materials inspire:)