Still Life

Charcoal Pencils Review – Starring Anakin The Manikin

Thanks to my ever-increasingly phenomenal wife, I now have brand new charcoal pencils to play with, as well as a brand new friend whom I’ve taken the liberty of naming Anakin… Anakin the Manikin. I know, It’s remarkable how clever and original I can be.

Charcoal Pencil Review

Manikin Drawings - Charcoal Pencil ReviewThe charcoal pencils I’ve now been using are “Master’s Touch Fine Art Studio woodless charcoal pencils”, and thus far they’ve been great! When using basic pencils with various hardness such as H, 2B, 4B, etc.. I can rarely darken my artwork to my liking. That’s not a problem when I’m using charcoal pencils

The Mess

Unfortunately, they’re also messy. But as soon as I purchase some cheap hairspray to use on each finished piece, I should be fine. You can buy professional sprays to keep charcoal from smudging, but hairspray is a good substitute if you’re not working on a commission or gift. I recommend at least the hairspray though, otherwise the charcoal drawings will definitely smudge all over (I speak from recent experience). Also, gently brushing off leftover charcoal dust is a bad idea. Just saying.

The Fun

Just because it’s messy, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, In fact, I LOVE my new charcoal pencils. Most of the reasoning behind my new love for charcoal is simply because it’s new to me. I love trying new mediums, but it’s also much easier to make drawings “pop” with charcoal, which has been a struggle for me. Having utensils that are generally darker than most other mediums is helpful in overcoming my “not dark enough” issues. They’re also great for drawing on walls… (don’t tell my wife).

These pencils can do impressive work, but I’d recommend looking around the internet for a few pointers on how to use charcoal pencils appropriately. There’s a lot of work that goes into learning how to use them.

The Bottom Line

I think every artist should have them. They’re a unique tool to advance your knowledge of the many diverse methods of creating new art. I’m still getting used to them, but even without experience, I already love them.

Anakin The Manikin

Anakin The Manikin Waving To Camera - Charcoal Pencil Review

And now, a few words from my new friend Anakin.

“My fellow Amanikins: ask not what your artist can do for you–ask what you can do for your artist”

-Anakin Pinewalker

Haha, oh Anakin. It’s good to see you like puns as much as I do.

Using A Mannequin For Sketches

Anakin the Manikin here has been helping me understand the human form a little better. He’s not as good as an actual model would be, but unfortunately my desk isn’t big enough to fit a life sized model. He’s a very convenient size, and impeccable at staying still for prolonged periods of time. I’ve considered using him as a canvas for art and turning him into Darth Manikin, but for now I like him just as he is. His poses are limited, of course, but he’s still useful for learning the many methods of transferring 3D objects onto a 2D piece of paper.

Using A Mannequin as a Toy

Don’t do it

Using A Mannequin As A Canvas

I cannot know for sure yet, but I see much potential in young Pinewalker.

I’m sure you’ll all be seeing much more of Anakin as he joins me to rule the galaxy.. of art.
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My First Painting- A Watercolor Cherry Tree

Watercolor Cherry Tree Painting with Red Leaves

With all the artwork I’ve done recently, I realized that little-to-none of it had ANY color. Which is generally fine by me, but if I want to get any better as an artist, I think adding color to my gallery would be one of the best ways to do it.

This is my first watercolor painting since I’ve been in middle school (Those paintings are actually in the “High School Gallery”), and was created with some of the cheapest watercolor paint and paintbrushes possible, which made it even more difficult. The bristles of the cheap paintbrushes kept falling out onto my painting, so I ended up buying new ones before I started on the trunk of the tree. It took roughly 47 minutes to finish this painting, and I was surprised by how well it turned out.

Fine Art-Tips Watercolor Cherry Tree Tutorial

Since I haven’t painted in years, I knew I wasn’t going to just magically create a good painting on my first try, so I looked up a tutorial of how someone would go about painting a tree in watercolor. The top result of my search for “how to paint a cherry blossom tree” on YouTube was a fairly recent video by Fine Art-Tips. I’ve been subscribed to his channel for a while now, and his tutorials are excellent for artists that are inexperienced in certain mediums (such as myself). So I watched the video, followed his “art tips”, and voila!

Details About This Piece

Time: 47 Minutes
Medium: Watercolor
Paper: Basic printer paper 8 1/2 x 11
Difficulty: Basic
Food Consumed During The Making: A lot (as always)
Number of Warriors Battled to Defend From Capture: 174
Fun to make?: Always

I hope you enjoy the video!

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Drawing a Rose

Rose DrawingA lot of my work lately has been strictly abstract, and so I decided to change things up a little by drawing a nice little rose.

This one didn’t take too long, since it really didn’t take up a significant portion of the page, but regardless, I think it turned out really well. The only utensils used was a .o5 lead mechanical pencil, a fine tip mechanical eraser, and a kneaded eraser (which I think I only used once).

This drawing is actually the result of finding a how-to video by a YouTube channel artist known as J. Solorzano. He shows a step by step process on how to draw the rose, which I found very helpful. He does do the drawing digitally, which I’m not quite as find of (yet). But I’m hoping to get started in the area of digital artwork in the near future.

I also recorded myself drawing this one to show any viewers the process of how it came to be. Don’t worry though, it’s sped up so you don’t have to sit through half an hour of watching me draw some lines. If you want to use it as a step by step guide on how to draw a rose, you can always pause it throughout the video until you catch up. To save you from leaving this page just to watch the video, I embedded it into this page. Hope you like it!

How to Draw Bumblebee: the 2009 Chevy Camaro

If you haven’t seen them already, then you’re missing out. The Transformer movies are action packed and full of detailed animations of robots turning into cars, trucks, tanks, and jets while smashing into each other and screaming “DECEPTICONS, ATTACK!!!!”, and things like that.

BumblebeeYou’ll hear varying opinions about the movies, but honestly they’re really not bad. There seems to be a trend about Michael Bay movies consisting of only explosions (which isn’t too far from the truth), but the movies still have some good storytelling involved.

The drawing here shows Bumblebee (a good guy) in his vehicular form from the second half of the first movie, which is the 2009 Chevy Camaro. Bumblebee is actually an epic hero in the movies, which contrasts the original cartoons (where he was basically useless). He even has a cool mask that he has covering his face half the time.

Bumblebee is one of the very few characters seen in all of the transformer movies, which makes you love him even more. The fact that he just can’t die (knock on wood) makes him all the more interesting.

This drawing took ages to complete, since it was started over a month ago. I worked on it little by little until it finally came together. I recorded each portion of my work and merged them together to create another time lapse video for my YouTube Channel. Here it is if you’d like to watch it.

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