Charcoal Drawings ★☆★☆★ comp: (May 2021)

edited June 2021 in Drawing
Hello everyone!

Here are some of my last month explorations and sketches...
Not great, not necessarily bad... hahaha
As per usual diving into different approaches and seeing what it gives me in return.

Basic construction focus and gradual value evolution on textured paper:
Used lines to create an Asaro head like construction at the beginning, to later progress and insert values and directional strokes, smudging with the blending stump and finger.

Basic construction and gradual value evolution on smooth paper:
Same as above, but on a smooth paper that provided some pros and cons, But to be honest, every paper will have pros and cons, it's more about how to take advantage of its attributes.

Chaotic expression, playing with shapes and lines, in this one. Since the purpose was to play with tools and shapes... in the end I run out of lighter values. Still interesting for what it is, but if I was to re-do or apply things I learned from this in another drawing, I would control my values better.

Charcoal pencil "only" drawing on smooth paper. Used compressed charcoal for darker accents. 
I wanted to see what I could achieve with using the pencil only and smudging to achieve smooth values graduation.
I didn't smudge it in every single place, because I wanted the sense of form that was generated using the pencil in the direction it was done in preliminary phases.
In the very end I used a fine eraser for highlights. It was interesting trying this method.

Quick sketch thumbnail from imagination, willing to inform light and shadow with directional charcoal stick strokes.
Being both precise and expressing some form of sense of life, light.
I appreciate old photographs, and those little defects that comes with it. And I took this sketch as a way to re-imagine what if it was a polaroid but in charcoal with my own technique infused. And this was the result.

Quick drawing on the back of another sketch, why waste paper right?
Working with big directional strokes and letting the texture do the work itself.
A tip for having interesting strokes is: Make 3 or more strokes following the same direction, That way you can get a sense of unification and form, rather strokes going to every direction that don't communicate with each other.  

From the sketchbook:
Quick drawing, moving fast to capture the whole scene in limited time amount can be beneficial too.
My main focus was to quickly capture the main shapes of light and shadow. I wanted to use the edges lost and hard to evoke a sense of time and movement.   

Constructing the facial features in a gradual manner again. This method proved to be the one that provided the most readability.

From Big strokes to smaller ones.
I didn't want clear readability in this one, as I wanted to use the lack of readability to add to the storytelling of the figure in a deserted place. Leaving tons of lost edges and smooth value transitions,

No construction! Let's go with the best stroke I can do in the most correct place, direction and level of value strength I can put approach.
This is like oil painting, minimal levels of "redo" 
Analysing where a stroke needs to be made and inserting it. It’s one of my favorite methods.

These are some of the techniques I am personally exploring, I think that having multiple ways to go about something gives me leverage to decide and play with my subjects. It's definitely something I consider to continue improving upon.



  • You are so damn good at these!
  • edited June 2021
    Brilliant as always. I don't know whether it's possible to improve on what you do, @hiragaruben. If I could handle charcoal like you do, I think I'd give up painting and just draw. Each of the drawings above is an exquisite work of art in its own right. They'll each be worth a fortune one day soon. :)
  • I love your work @hiragaruben as usual, wouldn't expect anything less by now from you. Thx for giving info on each sketch you've made. Even your signature is class  :)
  • Great work @hiragaruben and good to read your explanations of what you are doing in each and your approach.

    The street scene I really like (like them all) as it has movement and initially looking at it and not knowing what it is for an instant adds to the movement as it becomes apparent. (If that makes sense)

  • Starting from the top…
    the first two have a beautifully masterful classical quality to them.  I would love to see the characters represented in a setting executed in the same style and level of completion.
    The third is too dark for me.  And too much repetition of the lines below the chin.
    Third one captures a uplifting expression.  It is more modern than the first two and more illustrative.  Beautifully drawn.
    Fifth from the top is well drawn and handles the form quite nicely but not as masterful as the previous ones.
    The road scene is different for you but I think you did well for a quick sketch.
    The seventh from the top needs some definition.  The hair flattens the image out a lot.
    Its also difficult to read the eyes so there is not as much connection with the portrait here.
    The standing figure is good.  The saving grace on this one is the deft handling of the facial exporting such a small area.
    The last one has a stark look to it.  I think it’s because of the highlights on the eyelids and maybe the nose and lips.  The swipe of charcoal across the nose muddles the image for me.  
    For me the first two are just masterful.  I don’t think it gets any better than that.  
  • @Richard_P Thanks! these experiments definitely help me have a broader vision of how to manipulate my tools and technique.:)

    @tassieguy I think you are too kind brother, but hopefully one day!

    @Marinos_88 thank you! trying to improve as I go!

    @MichaelD yes! that's was I go for! I'm glad that is your favorite from this batch:)

    @GTO Thank you for taking the time to write a more in-depth and honest review of how you felt about each piece!
    These experiments are helpful for me to test things and get a sense of little things I can learn by trying different things.

    Even tho I trained myself to follow realistic mannerisms, with time, my tastes and inspirations moved more to impressionism, abstract, and expressionism. I think it is displayed in these experiments, and I intend to continue to pursue the boundaries of what I can do! 

    And absolutely! As I was an illustrator before I too can't wait to put my characters in a full scenario depicting story-telling elements!!! that will be fun!

  • These are extraordinary and the style is consistent with the works of Tibor Nagy, Terry Miura and so on. I love this style.
  • Thanks @kaustavM !!
    Tibor Nagy is one of my favorites, his works inspires me a great ton! I’m happy you saw something in mine that reminds his and Miura’s!
  • Thanks @kaustavM !!
    Tibor Nagy is one of my favorites, his works inspires me a great ton! I’m happy you saw something in mine that reminds his and Miura’s!
    Yeah. The broad square abstracted tones. 
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