Man receiving a massage - charcoal drawing

A Charcoal Virgin

By DoctorPlatypus | Doctor Platypus | 9 Mar 2021

A week or so ago, a kind person reader advised me to try out charcoal, so I placed an order and have been eagerly waiting for the chance. Yesterday my charcoals arrived, and today I got to try them out. Today's post is my first every charcoal drawing. My hands are all smudgy haha.

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo of an original character I had drawn as part of playing the Amber Diceless roleplaying game. I got extra character creation benefits by agreeing to draw a picture related to each session of the game, and this seemed like an opportunity to kill two birds with one charcoal pencil. In the inaugural session, our characters all woke up mysteriously, confusedly, in what was apparently some sort of sinister vacation resort/spa. Before we figured out the 'sinister' part, my character got a massage:

Man receiving a massage - charcoal sketch

I must admit that I was pretty nervous about charcoal. I thought it would be super smudgy (reader? this fear was not unfounded) and that it would be impossible to correct mistakes (this turned out not to be that big of a deal, in practice). As a result of those concerns, I found myself making longer strokes, and placing them more carefully. I had to think much more carefully about what to draw first, and how to make sure everything was placed correctly in relation to everything else. 

I am pretty excited about how well the hands came out, and the masseur's arms, too. I feel like I can see the strength in the masseur's hands and forearms, and the way he leans forward.

The client came out pretty well, too, but I think I could do more there. In particular, although I tried to follow reference for the shape of his chest pressing into the table, I am not entirely satisfied with how that came out. 

My kind reader actually suggested a series of video tutorials related to charcoal, which I put off watching until my supplies were delivered, figuring I would watch them before trying the things out, and have a chance of remembering what they said because I had my charcoals right there. Of course, I didn't have that much discipline. I just ripped open the charcoals and went to town. Next step is clearly to watch the tutorials... :D

Thanks for the advice @Sergei-Nemetz, and as always thanks everyone for looking at my pictures.



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Current projects: writing a literary history book about Victorian and Edwardian fiction as successor to the medieval dream vision genre. Learning to draw. Slooooowly learning the fancier ins and outs of the roll20 VTT.

Doctor Platypus
Doctor Platypus

Musings on and examples from various creative and constructive projects.

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