This is showing the progress in a portrait from start to finish. I used an 18” x 24” piece of grey charcoal paper to start. This is so helpful because all the middle tones are already there in the color of the paper. Then I blocked in the outline of the girl and placed her where I wanted her on the paper. Next I used a very soft vine charcoal to block in the shadow areas of the face, hair and dress. Vine charcoal is extra soft and easy to “erase” if you make a mistake. Necessary in charcoal because once you block in with the darker charcoal there is little possibility of changing errors. After I’m happy with the vine charcoal shadows, I go to the darker charcoal starting with HB to block in soft hairs and under the neck etc. Also this is the time I use a little white charcoal to see my highlights. This is only the beginning. When I place the dark background in you can see it makes the face and everything else appear lighter. Now I can put more darks on the face without fear of getting too dark. The last steps are refining the shadow shapes to turn the form the way I want.
What do you think?