What’s Charcoal Gotta do with It?

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One of the most interesting classes we have had at Kensington & Chelsea College, was a live drawing class with a nude, and very rude, model. When I heard about it my first reaction was apprehension. I am not known for my drawing abilities, so nothing good was bound to come out of it. Then I thought “I am studying photography, what’s charcoal gotta do with it?”

We soon learned from our tutor that the object of the class was not the become the latest “it’s” in the art world, but to train in identifying lines and tones created by the reflection of light on a subject.

Lines

We started slowly and progressed. From the basic lines, we moved to more of an outline of the human form.

Outline

Then we turned off the lights and, working only with a light on the rude and nude model, set out to draw the tones created by the light on her body and on the background. You create the different tones by using a rubber eraser and also smudging with your fingers.

Tones

It was indeed a very useful exercise, one that would come in handy the very next day. But more on that later…………..

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