Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tutorial: How to Draw a Nude in Charcoal

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Greetings!

Today, we'll be drawing a nude using charcoal, although there will be some graphite used in this drawing as well. This will be a short tutorial; what we are trying to achieve is a quick sketch. This post will give you practice with shading as well. Charcoal is good to use, because you can lay in a lot very quickly.

The most difficult portion of this tutorial will be the line drawing of the nude figure. This is because of the difficulty of getting the proportions of the form correctly.

If you are having trouble getting the line drawing to your satisfaction, may I suggest that you print the Step One line drawing on your drawing paper using your computer's printer. Make sure you print only a light copy, and not too dark. If necessary, set your printer to print lighter than necessary. Be sure to use some drawing paper with some texture, and not just a sheet of printing paper, as we will be using charcoal, and this media demands some quality paper with "tooth". Tooth is another way of referring to a paper's texture. For this tutorial, I have used Strathmore 400 series drawing paper, but you may use whatever suits your fancy.

I must say, however, that it should behoove you to learn how to draw freehand. It takes a lot practice, but its mastery is extremely satisfying.

Other than the difficulty of the initial line drawing, using charcoal is fun, and this tutorial should be rather enjoyable for you all!

Step 1

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The first step involves rendering the line drawing. As shown in the illustration above, it is of great assistance to draw guide lines to aid you in getting the proper proportions.

Like I stated above, if you are having difficulty rendering the line drawing, use a printer to print Step One on your drawing paper.

I picked a subject with the difficulty of drawing the human form in mind; this pose is one of the easier ones to render. I hope that it doesn't cause you too much trouble! If I can help you, don't hesitate to leave a comment in the box below. I am happy to help!

Step 2

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Here's where it starts to get fun! I really love using charcoal, the free form of it is remarkable. It allows you to render something much faster than a graphite pencil, too.

The above illustration is the basic layout of the value patterns; that is, the areas of light and shadow of the subject.

Observe the light source; in this case the light is predominately from the left side, but there is light coming from the right side as well. Always determine the light source, this is necessary to rendering the light and shadows of your subject.

I have used vine charcoal, which is a stick of charcoal, available at any art supply store. Take the stick and apply where the shadows are. As an example, here is a quick rendering of the above drawing, which is a different rendering from the original. Sorry I didn't think to provide this example with the original, but the following quick sketches will suffice to explain how to apply charcoal to the drawing:


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Step 2a

Roughly render in the dark areas with the charcoal. As you can see in Step 2a above, it is not necessary to apply it too neatly, as the results will show in Step 2b, below:

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Step 2b


Blend the charcoal with a finger or tissue. Yes, it is really is that easy. You can get some remarkable effects with charcoal!

Step 3

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In Step 3, we begin to refine the drawing by using the graphite pencils. Using the methods described in previous tutorials, apply an even graphite coating, going darker with the pencil in the shadow areas, and gradating the shade to the lighter areas.


Step 4

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In the final step, I have added the highlights to the hair, as well as the areas of the face, and edges of the body with a battery-powered eraser. This can also be achieved with a click eraser. With the HB and 2B pencils, I have added the final touches to the shaded areas and the contours of the body.

As always, I hope you have enjoyed this post.

Until next time!