I’ve spent the past few days drawing with lithographic crayon on textured charcoal paper, but I knew that something wasn’t working because the drawings weren’t progressing the way I needed them to. Initially I let it go, thinking it was just a matter of getting back into the routine of drawing since I’ve been away from it for a while. Today it became glaringly clear that something was off in my process, and that I needed to make a change if I wanted these preliminary sketches to go anywhere.
The charcoal paper had been frustrating me for some time because it’s too even and predictable of a drawing surface. The sanded Dura-Lar surface that I use for my final drawings is very coarse and varied, and I’ve come to expect that texture to be present in my drawing process. It seems like the logical solution would be to make the sketches on sanded Dura-Lar, but the expense and time involved to prepare the surfaces would be too consuming. Considering that I’ll be making hundreds of sketches, it doesn’t make sense to bother with the sanded Dura-Lar at this stage.
I realized that if I placed tracing paper on top of a sanded sheet of Dura-Lar, the tracing paper was thin and sensitive enough that it would pick up the texture of the Dura-Lar in the drawing process. This allowed the drawings to become rubbings of the texture, providing me with the kind of texture I had been looking for. The second I figured this out, the drawings started to take off.
The other idea that entered my head today was the idea of taking the visual effects of transparency even further: in addition to the transparency offered by the layers of Dura-Lar, I liked the idea of drawing the figures in a transparent way. In other words, that the way the figures are drawn would emphasize this idea of “seeing through” the figure. It may not work out in the final drawings, but I liked using this approach in the sketches today.