How To Draw a Glass Of Water In Charcoals And Pencils

This art tutorial focuses on the techniques you can use to draw a still life image using charcoal and pencils and capture the tones and highlights which are necessary for achieving a realistic drawing.

The artist who presents the video narrates clearly and concisely throughout and discusses the process which needs to be followed in order to best manage the way your own still life drawing is conducted. Sketching can be a very difficult skill to master if it is not undertaken in the correct manner so knowing your materials and what is needed to create a greater sense of realism within your drawing is essential before you begin.

The artist in this video has opted to use soft pencils like a HB and 2B alongside some vine charcoal and a blending stump to soften and blend these materials together to give the illusion of a more realistic still life composition. The object which the artist has selected to draw is a half full glass of water and as most people are aware water is a very tricky subject matter to draw when you have little experience or are just beginning out in sketching and drawing. There are three rules which the artist asks you to consider whilst you learn from him and they are as follows, 1)See things as shapes 2)Pay attention to the edges and 3)Make your image appear like a Polaroid photo.

The artist suggests that by imagining the glass as a series of different shapes it can make the drawing process much simpler and establish the form of your glass quicker. Your eye can become too distracted if you try and take on too many elements within the drawing at once, so by picking out basic geometric shapes which help form the composition you can draw with much more confidence. When studying your still life from which you are drawing it is important to draw exactly what you see and not what you think you see. For example if there is a thick line on the right hand side of the glass and a thin line on the opposing side then you must draw these lines just like that. Even if the difference in thickness is minute it could still cause a dramatic disparity in the composition in either the current, middle or later stages and create a disproportionate or slightly awkward drawing.

Looking for tonal values within your composition is also key to attain depth and accuracy as well as create a more engaging drawing that escapes the all too familiar flat appearance. When the artist mentions that the charcoal drawing should be drawn like a Polaroid photo he means that you should pay attention to all areas of the drawing and not get too locked in to one particular point. This is especially important in the early development stages of a sketch or drawing because it is very easy to gather a kind of tunnel vision and lose all sense of perspective if you spend too much time on say the base of the glass and neglect the sides and top of glass for example. The Polaroid photo was the first photo to develop instantly when exposed to light in front of the photographer and it was its consistency in the way in which it developed which made it unique and intriguing to its users.

The use of hatching, or cross hatching with a selection of soft pencils is another clever way to develop layers within a sketch or observational drawing. Cross hatching is the technique which is used by many artists to cover large surface area without relying solely on the use of blending with the hand, blending stumps or other artistic implements. With hatching you draw a series of lines in parallel within a section of your sketch with the aim to get them as close together as possible so when they are viewed from a distance they appear to be one continuous tone. The cross hatch method is where you draw at a ninety degree angle over these parallel lines to create a ‘cross’ and with this technique you can achieve an even more dense tonal region due to less white of the paper remaining visible amongst the pencil.

In this art video it isn’t just pencil which has been used but also charcoal, and to cover the larger background areas of the drawing paper the artist has used the side of the vine charcoal to allow a greater surface area to come in contact with the paper. This is a popular drawing technique amongst artists to achieve their mid tones. With the mid tones in place it becomes easier for the darker values to be placed which instantly reveals the depth of the object under observation. To compliment these darker shadow tones you are then able to place in your highlights to bring a sense of realism to your drawing and start to gather a fuller bodied and greater structured drawing.

The final technique this artist uses within this educational art video is the use of a resting sheet which he uses to disregard any unwanted smudging whilst uses the charcoal and pencil mediums. When you are drawing or sketching in pencil or charcoal it is very easy to smudge you work with the side of your hand even without realising until it’s too late so the use of these ‘slip sheets’ as they are more commonly known in the artists circle is to irradiate any unintentional wrong doing within areas of your drawing which could potentially ruin your work. Charcoal is possibly one of the hardest mediums to work with especially if you have never used them before so it is probably a good idea to begin with softer pencils which to some extent mimic the consistency of the charcoal. You must be confident when applying your charcoal and try to develop techniques which keep smudging and blending down to an absolute minimum otherwise your drawing will appear flat and lack decent body. Using shadows and highlights in harmony on the page is possibly one of the most difficult areas to perfect within drawing with charcoals but by far the most effective for creating a wonderful drawing.

Use this video to learn the basic steps for how to draw from observation in charcoal and keep on practicing to get the feel of how the charcoal and pencils work together and move across the page. Much can be learned from the guidelines offered to you in this drawing tutorial so be sure to take the time to assess and copy the advice which is presented to you.

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    1. Well, I really like your drawing and your stile! You are by far the only artist on youtube that has a recogniseable and true style, as opposed to some others here. and on top of that you are not arrogant, that’s what I like most about your videos! I’m not writing this to flatter you but to encourage you to keep up the teaching! 😀

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    2. Wow…A step by step description too. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do a still life metal object like this. I beg of you. I really really need to get the stupid metal tones right. I am half way there and a little help will get me a long way. Thanking in advance.

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