During ARTember in Airdrie on September 13 I will be teaching a charcoal drawing technique where you only need a piece of paper, a tissue, an eraser and a charcoal pencil (just because it's a little tidier than a piece of charcoal). After artist/author Maureen Enns' free presentation (everyone is welcome) about wild horses and wild wolves we will invite those who are interested in drawing into our program room...both children and adults alike. I'm very excited about meeting Maureen face-to-face (I've only had the privilege of speaking with her on the phone) as I enjoyed a documentary about her experience with bears on CBC Television several years ago. I thought I'd share this simple technique here:
STEP 1: When I draw with charcoal (or pencil) I typically begin with a shape, in this case I lightly sketch in a circle (approximately 6 inches across - you can use a small plate or container lid to draw a light sketch of a circle or use your pencil as a 'ruler') and then draw a horizontal line across the middle.
STEP 2: Split the top of your circle into thirds to form the base of the ears of the wolf then draw a kind of loose triangle shape. Move down to the horizontal line and begin drawing each eye directly under the center line of each ear (at the center thirds marks), using the horizontal line as the guide for the top of the eye and then circling straight down to a vertical. The eyes are each a half circle off the shape of the eye with a pupil marked in, leaving a small circle of white paper for the highlight on each eye. At the bottom of the circle I drawn a slightly rounded triangle shaped nose between the center of the eyes and then the mouth as two small half circles off the center of the nose and a small half circle underneath that to create 'lips'. I add marks around the head to represent hair and add a little shading around the outskirts of the wolf's face and inside the ears. Then I take my tissue and rub the entire drawing.
STEP 3: After the entire image has been shaded with the tissue, I use my erasor to begin rubbing out highlights...the highlights in the pupils, around the eyes, in the ears, along the sides of the nose and a highlight on the top of the nose. I go back in with the charcoal pencil and darken the darker areas and use the tissue to rub the entire drawing again.
STEP 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 to darken the shading to create a more three dimensional shape.
STEP 5: Now, we are almost finished...at this point I go back into the drawing and remove highlights with my eraser and darken the darkest areas such as the pupils, around the eyes, the nostrils, and darkening up some of my outlines but very loosely. To finish, I erase much of the previous rubbing marks around the outside of the wolf's head to highlight his face. And there you have a simple charcoal wolf drawing.