Rendering Form With Different Mediums

Rendering form, also known as modeling, can be achieved with any medium, however the techniques for each medium vary somewhat. Up until now, we've worked with pencils exclusively, however charcoal is another highly effective medium for modeling.

As you know, there are charcoal sticks and charcoal pencils. When it comes to shading, the former is preferable since charcoal sticks are softer and smoother then charcoal pencils which render harder lines making them more difficult to blend. You also have the option to sharpen a charcoal stick into a container and use the powder to shade, applying it sparingly and with alternating pressure from your finger. Following this rough application, you can continue to shape and manipulate the charcoal tones with an eraser.

When using pencils, gradations are achieved by altering the density of lines and the grade of lead used to create them. With charcoal, dark tones are achieved by intensifying the impression of the stick and gradations are created using an eraser, tortillon or other blending technique to reduce the stain of the charcoal. (more on blending to follow). The process with chalk or pastels is very similar. Begin by applying light pressure and gradually increase the pressure as needed. Once the initial markings have been blocked in, use the edge of the chosen medium to make more definitive markings in each area.

Caution: Working with Graphite Pencils and Charcoal

If working with both charcoal sticks and graphite pencils, be sure to erase any pencil lines until they are faint before taking charcoal to the paper. Graphite traces are oily and can prevent the paper from absorbing the charcoal.

Other pages of interest

Drawing technique: Mapping
Drawing texture
Rendering form with different mediums
Drawing tips: Blending
Drawing tools: Erasers