I love all cats! But one that brings attention are the orange tabbies. They remind me of my childhood! When I was most probably kindergarten-age, I once pointed to my mother a cute orange tabby on the street approaching us. The rest is a blur as I don’t remember much but I recall calling the cat “Ginger” and asking my mother when I would see Ginger again. Since then, all orange tabbies are immediately called “Ginger”! The naughty neighborhood cat at my BF’s previous home, for example, is named Morris but I still insist on calling her Ginger instead. My BF gave up trying to correct me. And now we also have another such Ginger in our village! She was spotted meandering around during our walk from the square. So adorable that when I got home later, I had to draw about her!
The XL Charcoal
So how to draw her? Some time ago, I came across a tin of Derwent’s XL Charcoal on the internet and got a bit curious. I already have the XL Graphite in my possession which I was happy about and hence wanted to get hold of the charcoal version. These are big fat blocks of charcoal in square/rectangular form which come handy when you want to not only sketch something but also fill them in. Colours: White, Ochre, Sanguine, Mars Violet, Sepia and Black. Having ordered them from a webshop, I was disappointed that they arrived all broken and consequently messy in the tin. I returned them, got refunded and tried another shop. Same problem. Some blocks were broken in two or chipped on the sides. At this point, I decided to accept the situation and continue using them. They will one day get all broken soon anyway I thought.
Let’s Sketch on Toned Tan Paper!
I decided to have a go with sketching my Ginger with those XL Charcoals on Strathmore’s tan toned paper. First the outline in Sanguine before filling in with Ochre with the stripes in White. It was quite pleasant to color with these charcoals although it could be rather messy. Nevertheless, I like how solid and strong the colors came out. The background was at the last minute decided as I smudged some Mars Violet and Sepia by gently running the blocks on their sides and blending with s cotton pad. I had to be careful not to touch the outline of Ginger which is why there is a gap between the background and subject. Facial details and whiskers were added using the Black. Et voilà! A simple but cute charcoal sketch of my little Ginger!
Wonderful experimenting with new products again. I do love working with charcoal from time to time despite how messy it can get. Whenever I draw with charcoal I always feel free, as it doesn’t matter if the shape is not perfect. It’s more the impression that counts. Perhaps this is because this medium is meant to give vagueness rather than attention to fine details. I shall definitely be using my XL Charcoal again soon, the next time with white and other colored papers. Meanwhile, I do hope to see our Village Ginger again soon!