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Charcoal sketching - shell

For this project you will need:

  • Object to draw (I used shells)

  • Willow charcoal (mixed or small sticks)

  • Drawing paper (better if it is rough or has a slight ‘tooth’)

  • Rubber. Putty rubbers are better for charcoal, but don’t worry, you can use a plastic rubber.

You may also like to use a blending stump or torchon and fixative.

This project can take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes, depending on the amount of detail you want to add.

Sketch lightly a very rough shape. This should be a simple representation of the overall shape.

Draw over, a little more precisely, the shape. Rub back any mistakes or lines either with your hand or a rubber.

Smudge with your finger or a blending stump the outer lines to soften and add an overall grey tone to the shell shape.

Build up subsequent layers or darker tones and some texture marks.

Use the rubber to create lighter area. Be aware you will not be able to rub back to the white of the paper as charcoal will lightly stain your paper.

Continue to work light (rubber) and dark (charcoal) layers and textures.

(You may find you can’t work many layers without lifting previous marks or smudging your sketch.)

You can leave your sketch (and cover with some tissue paper to stop it smudging on other pages) or you can spray with a fixative. Either way touch the surface a little as possible.

Razor shells.

Download tutorial

Charcoal sketching SHELL tutorial
Download PDF • 797KB

Share your finished project on the Student Chatroom!


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