Kitten in Charcoal

Still following Tracy Verdugo’s on-line classes! I decided though to take a bit of a break from her Abstract Mojo lessons and move onto another of her wonderful classes till I am ready to return to abstract painting. These days, I’m more in the mood for whimsical artwork. Things have been rather hectic at home and work, and I’m finding abstract painting a bit too heavy to deal with at the moment. How about some kawaii stuff for a change to uplift my mood? Well, I have just embarked on her “Animal Antics” classes the other day. Practicing to paint animals and trying out new ones sounds exciting, and I can’t wait to develop my creativity further!

Charcoal Screen

We start with a Warm Up lesson, a great introduction to sketching animals! My animals are typically limited to cats, bunnies, teddies and dogs and in simple shapes. So how do I draw them “properly” and in different positions? Sideways? Different poses? Plus I have little experience with sketching other kinds of animals. How do I begin? This lesson was most helpful in getting us gave us started. So first grab a paper, preferably one suited for charcoal and pastel drawing and scribble on some charcoal from the side of the stick.

The Sketch

Once that was done, we start drawing the shape of the animal of our choice. I used some photos of cats facing sideways to emulate, even googled step-by-step advice on how to draw one properly using circles as reference points. For instance, we draw a circle first then on top add a semicircle on the bottom half with the radius a little longer so it sticks out. The rest followed through trial and error. As you can see here, it’s not perfect but later on, we can tweak it as we work through the drawing.

Emergence through Negative Space

Here is where things get interesting! We don’t actually paint the subject itself, we work around it. The aim of this exercise is to focus on the negative spaces, and by using the eraser to take away the charcoal we allow the image to emerge. If we have taken out too much charcoal, we can always add it back on. This method gets us to concentrate on the shape of the animal first rather than the fine details. Once we are happy with it of course, we can start adding the details and add more charcoal to enhance the subject. It took some time to get it right especially with the proportion and positioning of the features like the eyes and whiskers. In the end, I eventually made it. And here is my little kitty!

Not bad for the first attempt. Of course could be a better but at least the subject resembles a kitten which is important! I prefer to stick with my own style and keep my characters with a big head and small body with exaggeratingly huge eyes so shall leave it as is. Finding this an enlightening session, I began practicing this method with other animals too and soon will share them here. And will then be looking forward to the second part of the Warm Up lesson!

Click here for more about Tracy Verdugo and her amazing classes!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.