Charcoal Island

Never having worked in charcoal before I found this task quite difficult. The feel of the charcoal on my fingertips was a little uncomfortable, so I kept it half-wrapped in its paper, and when it came to smudging the marks together, I used a tissue rather than my finger. The most challenging part was trying to be disciplined enough to draw what I actually saw instead of what I expected to see – in particular the edges of the forms which were often lighter than the rest and only made visible by the darker backdrop. Thus I had to be very much conscious of that fact in order not to draw outlines mistakenly. As per our instructions, I imagined the sea into my drawing, which I felt would be surging, crashing and spraying against this part of the island. I depicted the foam and spray in a somewhat stylised manner, as I felt this was in keeping with the fairly geometric and stylised forms of the island, in particular the spiral pathway in the left half of the image. I also drew in the sky, stormy and moody to match the waves, in order to provide a dark enough backdrop that the lighter edges of the island could be distinguished. My first experience of charcoal was a good one – I love how easily it smudges into itself and can be erased, and how it is yet able to make such strong dark marks, fine or broad, that contrast so beautifully with fine or broad lighter ones.




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