Traditional and digital art

Charcoal and Graphite

Click the picture to see a larger version.
Click the picture to see a larger version.

Same subject, same paper, different media. I’m comparing sketching with charcoal and water soluble graphite. Sketching with charcoal is fun, but it is not really the best choice for working in a sketchbook on location because it is messy and you run the risk of smudging the drawing when you close the book. Water soluble graphite is a better choice. It is not messy and it isn’t as delicate as charcoal. However graphite is shinier and you can’t get as dark a black as you can with charcoal.

I did the charcoal drawing first from a reference photo I took from the car. I started with a stick of homemade vine charcoal. I drew the midtones areas and smeared them around with my finger and a small, folded piece of craft foam and kept adding more charcoal to work up to dark gray. You can only go so far with vine charcoal. I switched to a dark charcoal pencil to add the darkest details.

I then drew the same scene with a water soluble pencil. Again I worked my way up from the lightest areas to the darkest sometimes smudging and blending with my finger. I then use a small rigger brush dipped in water to blend further and get the darkest darks.

Strathmore 400 Series Mixed Media paper, homemade vine charcoal, General’s Charcoal 557-6B ex. soft pencil, ArtGraf Viarco 6B water-soluble pencil, and D’Artisan Shoppe Minute Series XII 2/0 Rigger brush. Both images are 5×7 inches (13×18 cm).