Chalk & Charcoal

ballet dancer

CHALK and charcoal is a combination I love. Degas would often start his preparatory sketches using these two media so the above drawing is one of mine after one of his. There is some thing about the rawness of this media that appeals. ‘It’s as old as the hills’ and something that our ancestors would have been familiar with when they first began mark making all those thousands of years ago. For such a ‘simple’ media it achieves a surprising range of tones and shades and when combined together they each enliven each other. The variety of tones are achieved through varying degrees of pressure so don’t forget to experiment first. To help with this my advice would be to study Degas and look careful at how he achieves the contrasts in light and shade. My final tip would be to use pastel paper in a neutral shade which will give your work an extra depth. Finally don’t forget your fixative spray to stop smudging. I use a cheap hair spray, it works just as well!

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