Shadow & Light
a charcoal portrait class
Shadow and light – that’s all you need to draw faces!
With light and dark, also called ‘tonal values’, you can create the structure, depth and 3D effect of the face. It makes the face look real, alive. And you can create interesting atmospheres, moods and lighting effects, guiding the viewer to certain parts of the face.
The face that we’re going to draw in this class is slightly turned, into a three-quarter position. With a strong light coming from the right and slightly from above, this is a perfect head direction to practice working with light and dark. Part of the face is turned towards the viewer, in the light, and part of the face is turned away, in the shadow. This creates interest and atmosphere.
Shadow and light are our most important tools when it comes to drawing portraits, so that’s what we’ll focus on in this 2.5 hours charcoal portrait class!
Originally recorded for Let’s Face It 2021 with Kara Bullock, I am excited to share this class with you now.
You can download all videos and course materials, to keep forever. And since this is a self-study class, you get instant access so you can start whenever you like.
Let’s get started!
Click the button below to sign up now, or continue reading for all details and practical info.
The darkness declares the glory of light. T.S. ELIOT
Inspiration for this Course
The inspiration for the portrait that we’re going to create came from Rembrandt. He was of course a master in the use of light and shadow, also called ‘chiaroscuro’ or ‘clair-obscur’. I’m always fascinated by his courage to work with strong contrasts and unexpected shadows, as you can see in this young self-portrait.
A painting is complete when it has the shadows of a god. REMBRANDT VAN RIJN
Various charcoal supplies & techniques
Our main medium in this class is charcoal, which is great for tonal values. We’re not distracted by a multitude of colors, but can focus fully on the light and shadows.
Charcoal is also very forgiving and versatile. You can create many different looks and effects: from soft and smooth, to more grungy and textured.
In this class we will combine these effects, with the most detail and softness in the face, and more texture and looseness in the other parts of the portrait.
We’re going to use various types of charcoal, including regular vine or willow charcoal and charcoal pencil, in order to create the dark parts of the portrait. We’ll combine those with white pastel, white charcoal pencil and various erasers to create the highlights.
What will you learn?
In this class we’re going to explore various techniques, which can of course be applied to any charcoal portrait that you want to create in the future. Some of the things that we’ll cover:
- Sketching out a 3/4 face direction
- Working with a focus on tonal values
- Working with various charcoal supplies, including willow or vine charcoal and black charcoal pencil
- Combining charcoal with pastel and white charcoal pencil to create highlights
- Working with various erasers to create different effects
- Creating a smooth, blended look
- Creating texture
- Building up the portrait in layers
- Drawing the hair
- Drawing the ear
- How to make corrections, even in later stages
List of supplies
This is an overview of the main supplies that we’ll use (the links are examples). A more detailed list with some additional tools and alternative options will be available after registration.
What will you receive
- 2.5 hours of video lessons
- Get immediate access to all content
- Take the class at your own pace
- Lifetime access
- All videos & materials can be downloaded
Prices in Euro will be used for the actual purchase.
There is strong shadow where there is much light. JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE