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October 2014 Profile in Conte

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  October 2014 The Drawing Ezine The time-tested learning process of progressing from drawing to painting involves several intermediate steps. Before embarking on working with paint, and the mani-fold technical disciplines of oil paint, for example, the traditional art academies would rst introduce the study-ing artist to sanguine conté which can be pushed and pulled much like paint.Conté is a hard earth-red pigment shaped as a long rectangular crayon. There are various brands available that bill themselves as conté but they are closer to pastel. You can use the side of a small piece of conté to block in large areas; it can also be sharpened into a chisel shape for drawing elegant serpentine lines; and also sharpened to a point using a safety razor blade and medium grade sandpaper.For this drawing I started with a Koh-I-Noor light red ‘conté’ crayon on Fabriano Ingres drawing paper and then to push the darks down I switched to Sanguine Conté. TheDrawingEZine Artacademy.com The 7/8’s Prole in Conte  Materials used in this lesson –  Knitting needle for sighting & checking your measuresKoh-I-Noor ‘Conte’ crayons #8580/25Conté a Paris, Sanguine #2451TortillonStumpKneaded eraser Medium grade sandpaper [not shown]Paper: Fabriano Ingres – choose a light colored paper such as Ivory, Buff, etc.  © 1998-201 4 . All rights reserved.  The 7/8’s prole view is the pose where the far eye can be seen. The common difculty with the far eye is if you’re not careful the eye will bulge out due to over-exaggeration both in terms of size and placement and also rendering it with too much detail. Highly rendered features will advance out of the picture plane. For some features such as the nose this is desirable, but with others like the far eye in the 7/8’s prole view this is less so.Using a sharpened Koh-I-Noor light red crayon I quickly established the ara-besque of the entire head. Of important note is the facial angle: I have delib-erately ignored the nose and muzzle (mouth area) and simplied it com-pletely. If you try to incorporate the features at this point it is practically guaranteed that you will get it wrong. The short and simple answer is SIM-PLICITY. This goes for both the begin-ner and the highly advanced artist.The Koh-in-Nor crayon is very soft and does not hold a sharpened point for long. It’s benet though is that it is easily manipulated in terms of erasures and smudging.Once the arabesque is established and its’ height/width proportions and shape veried and corrected, as necessary, the primary elements of the head are placed. These are the browline, the base of the nose, the hairline, hat, ear and Condyle  (where the ear-lobe meets the jaw).Having the browline and base of the nose placed I can now assess the negative shape that is formed by the nose and the simplied shape of the far eye. Using negative shapes in your drawing will help in more accurately rendering the positive shapes. i.e., the nose is a positive shape; the ‘<’ shape is the negative shape. Negative shape Condyle  © 1998-201 4  All rights reserved.  The drawing is blocked-in and vigorously stumped down with my ngers. My intent is to produce a at even ‘wash’. It is nigh impossible to articulate small forms (details); the objective is to effect a ghost image. I am interested in only the BIG shapes. You should always work from general to specic.The forms are then vaguely articulated by painting out with a kneaded eraser. This is a painterly pro-cess that is akin to underpainting. Traditionally for underpainting in oil Raw Umber or Yellow Ochre is loosely brushed or rubbed on and then the lights rubbed out with a rag or with a clean brush. This is a subtractive approach (lifting out). You want to keep things loose yet still reasonably accurate.Sharpening the Koh-I-Noor crayon to a point with sandpaper I sketch in the basic facial features and the ear. The soft crayon is a bit tricky to sharpen, it crumbles easily so don’t expect to get a razor sharp point.In the 7/8’s prole view the  inner canthus  (corner) of the eye plumbs back of the nair   of the nose. Using a plumb line (a thin weighted string) held up to and aligned with the inner canthus  will go a long way towards illuminating the vertical placement of the eye, nose and node  of the mouth.The area of the eye is now worked up.. Until now I have been working the drawing generally and resist-ing the temptation to delve into details. That has now changed. I am now switching gears and focusing on specics. But I still want to hold back to about 75% full resolution. I do not want to fully commit myself yet. Plumb Line

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