- Lesson details
In this video lesson Sheldon Borenstein will teach you how to work with charcoal. You will learn how the general principles of art apply equally to all media and specifically how to work with each individual medium while employing the appropriate techniques.
- Conté Charcoal Pencil
- Conté Crayon – 3B
- Canson Charcoal Paper
- Kneaded Eraser
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of drawing and painting media. You will learn how the general principles of art apply equally
to all media and specifically how to work with each individual medium
while employing the appropriate techniques.
In this video lesson, Sheldon will teach you how to work with charcoal.
It’s when you’re doing charcoal and you rub your nose. People go, you know you got
black on your nose? Well yeah, I’m doing charcoal. You put it on your forehead and
then they—never mind. They think you’re religious. Get it on your chin, you know,
and they think you’re from the movie Oliver. Charcoal gets on everything. It’ll piss
off your significant other. Anybody who is doing your laundry is going to hate you for
charcoal because charcoal is what it is. It’s charcoal. It’s burnt wood and it’s fun.
So, different kinds of charcoals. You have your vine charcoals. The vine charcoals are
kind of like a burnt twig. I’m a synthetic kind of guy. I believe if I want fresh air
I’m going to Google it. If I’m going to go camping into the high wild mountains and
fight bears, I’ll rent the video. To me, healthy food is anything I can order by number.
If I can order by a number it’s got to be good. Why would they invest millions of dollars
into advertising that fast food if it wasn’t healthy. You don’t get a body like mine
by just working out. You’ve got to eat chocolate and drink Coca-Cola. And I like synthetic
charcoal. I like it when they add a little wax to it. I like it when I can put it down
and it’s got an opaque feel to it. I like that stuff.
So, the different charcoals I use, whatever I can find. I also, there’s a Prismacolor
charcoal that is so cool. It’s got kind of a waxy feel to it, but it’s still charcoal
and it’s really fun. So I use that. Create a color has a good charcoal. Some of the charcoals,
they’re just charcoal-ly. What’s wrong? It’s just too charcoal-ly. Why does it have
to be so charcoal? Because it’s charcoal. How do you use it? It’s opaque. It’s pretty
strong. You build it up. I’m going to demo it for you. The fun part about charcoal is
you can really get range of values with it. You can also pick it back up with a kneaded
eraser which is super fun. You can put down kneaded eraser, you know, pick up the tone.
You can also put white chalk on top of it. It’s very, very fun. You can work with different
kinds of substrates, different kinds of toned paper.
But we’re going to demo charcoal for you, and I’ll try to show you a couple different
ways to do it. Also, what’s fun with charcoal is if you put it down you get a beautiful
painting done with your charcoal. Then you seal it, and then you can actually start to
layer color on top of it, and that’s really fun with different mediums. So charcoal has
a lot of ability. It’s very flexible, a lot of history. I remember back in the Renaissance
we all were trained with charcoal. We liked our Silverpoint, but behind all of that were
great charcoal drawings. I remember, Leonardo da Vinci was doing a painting. It was a couple
of virgins, but they all were back then. He did these really beautiful charcoal drawings,
and he just kept laying the color on top. He didn’t finish it. It’s in a book that
I have. Next time I talk to him I’ll show it to him. But, it looks really great. He
just layered the color back on top of it and make it really pretty with warms and cools.
But it always starts out with charcoal. So let’s start out with charcoal.
We’re going to go fairly loose. Very tonal.
Still the same shapes. Everything is just made of three shapes.
Hey Sheldon, are you getting tired of the tree you’re drawing?
If I never see this tree again I’ll be happy. Yeah, I’m getting a little tired of it,
but that’s okay. What did you do for a living, Sheldon? Oh I was an animator. How many drawings
did you do in a scene? About 24 a second. This tree is not a problem then, right? No.
It’s really fun when you’re working on an animation. You look at your scene, and
it’s this thick. You’re like I am never going to get through that scene. What I did
is I worked out of the house, which was great, but I did the entire scene myself. Where if
you’re in-house you have people breaking it down and working in different areas.
So the interesting part was that you had this mountain in front of you. The cool part about
was when it was done it was your scene, and you can control it. You didn’t have wobbles
and areas that you said, God, I wish I could have fixed that.
So I’m using this piece of charcoal. It’s actually Conté. Same thing.
It's a 3B. I have no clue where I got it from. It just showed up one day so I got lucky.
Flat wash. Using Canson charcoal paper. There you go. Flat wash. Thank you very much. We’ll
be here to Thursday. Try the fish tacos. Okay, now we’re going to go dark to light.
Ta-dah! How’d you do that? I didn’t press as hard. So there you go.
Now, here’s my local value for my sphere. What’s local value? Go to the fundamentals
video. Alright, smear it. If you don’t want to use your finger you can use this tool.
This is called a chamois. That’ll work.
Chiaroscuro means dark against light.
Light is going to come this way. Core. Reflected light.
I’ll come in with my kneaded eraser and pick out my highlight.
This is light so I’m going to go dark next to it.
Painting is tone against tone.
There is no line in nature.
In the olden days I remember hanging out with all
my buddies, and all the Chiaroscuro people would come up to us Florentine people and
say you don’t exist. We were all sitting around, you know, just chilling going why.
They all laughed. There’s no line in nature, and you guys use line. We used to laugh at
them. They’d say, what are you laughing at? Well, you can’t draw. So that fight
continues today. The tonal people, they all laugh because they say that there is no line
in nature, so therefore, you put down a line, it doesn’t exist. And then the linear people
who are describing absolute form and construction. Yeah, but we can draw it over and over and
over again. In reality you have to know it all. That’s what they call
DPD, drawing painting, and design.
Soften your edges and then tighten up the edges where you want the audience to look.
Maybe I’ll put this shadow coming from the outside and have it come in.
See how the contrast comes in like that.
Maybe I can pull it around, mid like that.
Take your kneaded eraser and pull out your lights.
What’s really fun is you can work back and forth until the thing
looks like it’s a darn photographic rendering.
If you want to tighten up an edge just go ahead and use a kneaded eraser and tighten it up.
It’s still tone against tone.
Okay, there we go. Box shape. Same thing. Usually when you’re painting you’re putting
your shadows first, so do that. Here’s my shadow side.
Halftone side. Here’s the light.
If I want to bring out the light, put dark on the other side of it.
Alright, now we need reflected light so we go darker here. It's really, it’s really—listen up everybody.
It’s balancing out. So I could either go darker or throw in reflected light with my
kneaded eraser. Same effect. See that? That’ll give you reflected light. Just make sure you
have reflected light in there. Here’s my shadow. There’s my reflected light. Either
go darker or lighter. Sometimes you max out on your darks or you just go lighter on the
other side. The only area that’s really going to affect you in this is watercolor
because you have to really be thinking to control it. Also markers. It’s hard to go
lighter on a marker that’s a water-based marker.
So here’s my reflected light here. There’s my strong cast shadow. Light is right there.
Hitting my edge, and there you go. Charcoal, if you’re working professionally it’s
pretty quick for doing these comps. Remember, artists work, you have a reason.
There's a reason for you to be there. There we go.
There is a study, a Harvard Study. It’s called Flexible Performance Capabilities,
and this will take care of you. And that’s
what I think, hopefully you’ll see what we’re experiencing here. It’s that if
you understand one thing you can apply it to other things. That’s why we’re doing
it this way. Same images with different techniques.
So what you can learn in one area you apply to all the other areas.
Somebody wrote me a little message saying if you don’t like
Maya, try this. No, I’m having fun with Maya. I’m just joking. It is horrible. It
is a pain in the butt, but I have a reason for learning it. And I’m going to use it.
It’s a long curve. It’s a long journey, but so is drawing and painting. Once I understand
the software then I’ll apply my knowledge of drawing and painting to that software and
then move forward. Alright, so there’s our cylinder.
With this, I don’t know. Let’s have some fun.
Let’s take some charcoal and sandpaper pad. Take the chamois.
And let's go ahead and put some energy in there.
And there you go. That’s kind of fun.
Let's work backwards. There’s the bottom part of my tree.
Thinking graphic shapes. Now, I have to be careful.
Thinking tonal shapes. I was talking to my mentor the other day.
I said what is graphic, and we came up with so many terms for graphic. To me graphic means flat.
But there are so many different terms for it, and everybody has their own term.
Let’s just call it a tonal shape, and underplane.
Guiding the viewer’s eye. Okay, and then
we’re going to put the shadow going this way now. Shadow side.
Nice, clean shadow shape. This comes over.
And behind it we have this bush which will bring out
the lights in our tree. Give us some lost edges for our shadow side.
Nice, flat shape.
We want this flat shape to not interfere with the tree so we’ll soften it.
That’s real moody.
The eye will go where there is the most texture so we’ll throw in some texture here.
Casting the shadow over the rock.
Here’s the edge of the box shape.
Thinking of it as a box shape. Giving us reflected light down on the bottom.
Stronger on the top.
And the tone in the background.
Get the tone in the foreground.
Put in detail, not a lot, and the audience will fill it in.
Let them become part of the painting.
Now again, there’s a, you guys are seeing a different part. You know, you have this
guy singing and dancing and everything, so you say, hey, are you tired? Yeah, I’m exhausted.
I’ve been going seven days morning to morning, but what you’re really seeing right now
is autopilot, and that’s what I want you guys to be. This stuff we do every day. What
I’m showing you guys right now, this is every day. It’s what you do. And if you
have to sit down and really try to train yourself for it you’re going to be in trouble. You
know, do a charcoal sketch for me. Alright. No problem, what do you need? That’s what
we’re looking for. I want you guys to learn to be professional artists. That just means
you do what you’re asked. The more you know the more you work. That’s all. You gotta
love it. If you don’t love it, don’t do it. Then we can come in with our kneaded eraser.
Pull out some lights. On the light side.
There you go. It’s a charcoal wash.