The hardest part of the exercise for me was to think of someone to portray who did not look generic and uninteresting. At first, I thought of a young bloke I had seen the other day in Canterbury. I had received a parcel at Christmas and keep a piece of brown wrapping paper which had an interesting surface texture. I decided to use charcoal on this, using the paper as the mid-tome and try to draw the image without an outline, thereby achieving lost and found edges.
I was not really happy with the result and could not picture the image in my mind so decided to rub back the image and try again. This time I thought of an older man I had seen and had another go.
Again, I was happy with the result so rub back the charcoal. All these attempts were building up another surface on the paper and adding layers of history to my final piece so I was not worried by drawing and then rubbing back and re-using the paper. This is in stark contrast to how I would have felt at the start of the course, when no doubt I would have thrown the paper way and kept re-starting on a new sheet of paper.
I sat down and thought about all the people I have seen recently and who I should draw. Suddenly I remember a young man I had seen on the tube when I was travelling to the Modigliani exhibition who had thick jet black hair which caught the light and was dressed quite retro including quite old-fashioned glasses. I therefore build up my tones again in charcoal, drawing over my previous attempts. I then lifted out the charcoal using a putty rubber to create the skin tones.
When I look at my image I was quite pleased with the result especially as I doubted that I could draw someone just from memory. I think I have caught the thick hair and features quite well and he does have a slightly dated look to him.
After taking a break I realised I had not put in any highlights so added some in white Conte crayon. I think this improves the image and brings out the structure of the face a bit more (the white is not so bright in the actual image – I think the flash has highlighted the lines).