Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cartoon Transfer for Charcoal Drawing

By Wednesday night, my friend Janné and I were ready to transfer our cartoon drawings of the model Valentina to the better quality Umbria paper for our charcoal drawings. Pictured here you can see my tracing paper that is used to transfer my original drawing to the new paper.

This method of transfer does not harm the original. I used a blue felt pen to trace over my drawing. Then on the back side of the tracing paper, I rubbed some soft B charcoal over my lines (Nitram brand – French and not available in the States, that I know of). I then position the tracing paper over my Umbria paper, measuring my vertical placement lines from the paper’s edge so that my figure is oriented properly on the paper. And then I use a blunt pencil to trace over my blue felt lines and transfer charcoal lines onto the Umbria.

My next step is to lay-in the tones, starting with the background. I use a soft B charcoal (stubs usually) to scrub-in the ‘dirt on paper.’ Then I use a soft sponge to even out the charcoal and try for some consistent and desired tone. This is not precise because until I see the model in pose, I cannot determine any tonal relationships. Janné took the image you see of me wiping the extra charcoal dust into the street of Via Ghibellina here in Florence, Italy. Vine charcoal is quite dirty and the only other window in my apartment opens up over another woman’s courtyard. She often has laundry hanging up, so it seemed a bit rude to give her the dust. So, go ahead and chastise me for trashing Florence. Some art production is not particularly environmentally friendly.

This last image shows you my basic transfer from a cartoon drawing on inexpensive paper to a tonal disegno on Umbria paper. So far, I like Umbria much better than the Somerset that I used for the drawing of Francesco. As you can see, I have a lot of blending to do in the background, once I establish my desired tones in each area. And, of course, the figure needs much refinement. The face is too garish for my taste, but having gone through this process before, I know she will not end up looking like this for long. Also, I do not often see the model’s face (depending on her and my movements and the fall of her hair during each posing session). However, I want to create her beautiful face before adding wisps of hair over it. And finally, I am pleased with the sexy wave-like shadow her body causes on the model stand.

Thank you for reading!
Yours truly,
Kelly Borsheim

PS Buon Compleanno, Matteo!


Rodney said...

aw, the shadow is very cool. "the shadow knows", hee hee . your to young for that lol...Rodney

Danny Glover said...

nice work! i was wondering what the blue felt pen does exactly? the charcoal is what transfers so i why the pen?

Danny Glover said...

as soon as i posted i realized why you need the blue pen. it is so you can see the drawing through the paper. right?

Kelly Borsheim said...

oh -- sorry. Blue, red, the color is not as important as the felt tip part. The color need only be something different from black or grey tones so that you can see your lines once you have added charcoal to the flip side of the tracing paper.

The felt tip is important so that your original drawing is not harmed by your outlined tracing. Also, the color is helpful so that when you trace over your blue/red line with a semi-dull paper (so that you do not score your good paper -- the goal is only to use enough pressure to transfer charcoal to the new page), you can see what lines you have gone over and which you still have yet to trace. I hope that helps.

Kelly Borsheim said...

oops -- "semi-dull paper" should have been "semi-dull pencil" Too much art in my head at the moment.
ciao, ciao!

Danny Glover said...

Thanks for the helpful tips. Have a great week! By any chance have you ever heard of VETRATE ARTISTICHE TOSCANE (a company based in Siena which specializes in the creation of stained, painted and fused glass)?

Kelly Borsheim said...

Nope. Never heard of them. But then, believe it or not, I do not get out much.
Thanks again for writing!