Forest stream in the Sun

I have another new drawing of a forest stream to show you guys…

whether it is good or bad, there’s a couple things to say about this image.
do you guys remember my graphite/charcoal thread?

thats because I’ve had trouble figuring out how to use Both in a given drawing.

part of this is How I draw and the inherent properties of graphite- I normally go light to dark and flesh out the whole scene in hard 2h pencils first, darkening the whole image as I step into darker and softer pencils.

That doesn’t Work, when you want to have graphite darks! because Inherently graphite is a lubricant and layers of graphite prevent the charcoal from “sticking”.

instead and espacially to the dark spots on the left of the image, I did the charcoal Before very much graphite had been applied and generally tried to be more flexible in how I draw this.

IMHO; it worked! the charcoal created a darker darks and the contrast is more in this drawing than in others.

I intend to keep using charcoal in the darks on drawings that warrant it. hopefully in time; I can learn how to be very skillful at it. I’m also Going to have to start using fixatives. charcoal is a mess!.. but its SO expressive…

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thinking about it today, I’m not sure i’m done?

I was studying some other pictures of forests. there is too much white in the canopy I think. sometimes I think the chroma of the brilliantly light branches dazzles me too much.

Ivan Shishkin is such an inspiration. no one has drawn or painted in a way that appeals to me better.

its funny how in a whole universe of artists; and literally most of a planet full of forests- how FEW good depictions there are.

anyways thinking back upon the reference drawing there may be justfication for considerably MORE dark and midtone value in the center tree canopy.

alas but the stream is messed up and probably can’t be better done. it has a gravity issue that is probably innately due to not properly observing how it flows through the picture.

maybe I should devote a whole day of the week, called “fix it” day where I try to improve an older picture; even if I end up ruining it.

after all if I DO ruin the drawing- I’ve scanned it, so a record of its best version has already been made.

if anybody wants to comment on this, please weigh in .

Have you ended up ruining a drawing or painting- trying to fix a flaw?


I have never felt like I ruined a piece due to fixing it. Sometimes, though, I decide that I don’t care enough to fix something. I think only you can make that decision!

For your drawing, it’s coming along nicely. I agree that you can keep developing the values. I think the trees in the background (the dark ones) have too much contrast—contrast tends to decrease as objects fade into the background, while contrast increases as things come to the foreground. So I think you can balance the values in that spot a bit and make the definition of the trees a bit hazier.

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When you use the harder pencils, use a very light touch or the softer graphite will not go over your first layer very well. I start everything with an HB pencil in a very light touch and gradually darken. Sometimes I do a whole piece with just an HB or 2B and you will be surprised how dark you can get! It’s fun to experiment with this!

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thank you Joan

I have also learned (recently) that a light touch is totally needed if you want to include any charcoal in the shadows.
so, the word of the week needs to be- use a light Touch and don’t ruin a drawing before it even begins.

this goes back to the idea that Patience is extraordinarily important in drawing. that’s a tough skill to master-I’ll work on it though.