Category Archives: Charcoal

Tannie’s Life Drawing/Figure Drawing Art Supplies

This focuses on charcoal materials for life drawing, figure drawing, foundation classes, etc. This is mostly to help out people just starting out in taking figure classes and to do product reviews. Your instructor will more or less tell you how to use your stuff, but sometimes, you don’t meet them before you buy class materials. And you’re like, “Whaaaa does this do?”

I’ll just start with kneaded erasers! All illustrators should have this. Only if you’re a sketch artist, then yeah, you too. But its very versatile. What person does not know about this eraser? You can flatten it, shape it, mold it, and it leaves no eraser dust behind. It’s self-cleaning… But as you can see in the above picture, the very first one I bought for school is on the right. And the very left is quite recent, probably some months ago in the summer… So it turned black at the end of the first semester. It was dying on my second, so I bought a new one! Oh, it turned black two. In fact, I had 2 with me, because I had two of everything, two knives, two chams, and split up the charcoal, which I kept buying anyway. This was because I didn’t want to carry too much to and from school, so I kept one case at home and one at school to lighten the load. Heavy stuff! Anyway yeah, now I gather them all up and I don’t throw my kneaded erasers away. They’re useless once they’re not self-cleaning anymore. It’s hard like a rock, not as stretchy and, sometimes it erases but if you’re not careful, it’ll leave black marks… that are not erasable. And that’s shitty. So use them as wall tackies for posters! 😀

This is my box of charcoals. The aluminum thumb tacks are there only if you’re going to a live class, otherwise, its okay if you do not buy. They’re for posting up art in front of everybody and getting teacher critiques.

Okay, first up is chamois. Or chams (shams). They are for smearing and blending large surface areas. What it once looked like is on the very right, the light yellow square thing. Yeah. But you want it dirty! It can take away or add more charcoal, it’s also easy to blend when there’s a lot on it. So I’m probably going to get a lot more years out of this thingy. I bought an extra one to use with colored conte, which the beginning student does not use until later on or when the instructor says okay.

This is a vine charcoal by daler rowney. They come in various sizes and are ideal for the beginning student because it’s easy to erase and manipulate. However, it smudges incredibly easy. It’s also used to color/tone a background. And you can erase to the white of the paper if it’s applied lightly, or not, obviously, it’s heavily applied, it’s going to stay a bit more. The middle tier in the box has more. There’s also that other box of vine charcoal on the right. It sucks. You get what you pay for. That thing was a waste of $0.99. It was hard, there wasn’t even a thing on the box that says hard, medium, or soft, it was just hard. And it didn’t go on well. I also had a box by General’s, I’m pretty sure it was soft, not extra soft, which is what the one above is, but that brand is all right. They make better compressed charcoal. I just didn’t like using it. Daler Rowney vine charcoal is the best I’ve used, not even as expensive as the General’s, I think. Oh yea, these break easily if you hold them too tightly.

Charcoal pencils. I haven’t tried others, because General’s is the cheapest and it works. I guess there is also derwent? and I also tried the one that resembles Chinese markers. Those are useful when you don’t feel like carving the wood. One must buy X-acto craft knives with no. 11 blades. I bought a 100 pack of blades and I have not used it all up, but I replace them often, it makes sharpening charcoal pencils much easier when you have a sharp blade. I always keep the extra charcoal dust for tone backgrounds, so I keep a plastic bag handy.

Hmm.. sorry, guess I shoulda lightened it. This is my compressed charcoal. Hard to see, but below are they’re retailed images.

I forgot what class had me get this, but it’s not very comfortable, but it’s so flat…. Just something to get used to. The way it goes on paper is different from the usual round ones I bought in-class. It comes in 2B, 4B, and 6B being the softest. It’s also tedious to sharpen because it’s flat-ness doesn’t make a very rounded point. But the edges are sharp so it’s good for edges. Just hard to maneuver for newbies. Compressed charcoal is not introduced until later when you get used to holding the charcoals properly and you’re used to it. All compressed charcoal are harder to erase, so you can’t use your fingers like vine charcoal to erase, sometimes the kneaded eraser will not erase all of it, so then you’d use a rubber one made for charcoal erasing.

This one, I barely used. I bought a 3 instead of a 12 pack, but the ones I bought were fat and not flat. But they break rather easily… However, it comes out very dark, darker than the others I’ve used. Do I like it? It’s got its uses, but I don’t think I will try this one out as I’ve still got broken pieces that I can still use.. 😦

Can’t remember the brand, but this resembles the usual ones I like because they’re round. Easy to sharpen to a fine point. It’s rounded, but doesn’t mean you can’t make a straight line with it.

Conte crayon, I didn’t touch until the second semester…? Hm… when was my first anatomy class.. haha! It’s square, but you can sharpen it too, it’s not bulky, so easy to sharpen. The one above is a darker sanguine, I had a redder one somewhere, I used that one most because it showed up better on camera. They go on easily. I had bought a white conte to compliment a drawing done in black conte. Conte all in all is very soft, it’s not like charcoal. Erases a little more stubbornly, but not impossible just stubborn like compressed charcoal. It’s like a classy crayon without the wax.. The whitest highlight for a 3 toned drawing is with chalk. But I don’t have that… hm so. I wouldn’t buy too many of the General’s white charcoal because of its hardness and tone, probably just 1 is good. I bought a 4 pack… sigh. Still haven’t finished that 1 in the box. Or get the white charcoal pencil, it’s somewhere in the main picture. Next to the vine charcoal. That reminds me, I bought the sticks because I thought it would be different from the pencil. I’ve had that pencil for the longest time too. So a pencil should be enough because whites are for highlights, mostly.

And extras are the blending stumps. My friend taught me how to make my own, but I bought some before for detailed drawing. I heard people only use them once…. Haha… obviously, I haven’t, they’re useful when they need to be. Or use your finger.

Okay, that’s all. I’m done. Hope this was helpful. Hmm… My nose is getting clogged just by looking at it. Beware of black boogers.


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Summer vacation begins!

Yep. I’m done with school. Oh, man, I was so happy when finals were over. It was like a big burden had lifted off my shoulders.  Although, the last few were fun to do. Particularly, my editorials, and that painting of the girl w/ purple hair. But then it just kind of got too much at the end. My brain fizzlesssss…. It’s important to like what you do, yes, but I can’t work non-stop for more than than 40 hours a week. Too tiring. I really admire hard-working people.

Liv Tyler Editorial


The signatures are obtrusive and I added them, but the originals don’t have it. I think… it is fair that I take protective rights to my illustrations. Although, I don’t seem to do that with my fine art stuff… 😛 There’s just too many and tedious for everything.


^This could have been handled better, but I ran out of time. :\ The lighting was somewhat overcast, so it was really difficult with the values and subtleness of how the light catches.


^The feet is cropped off from the canvas, but it w as too hard to do… cast shadow needs to be fixed. :\ Well, he liked how I painted the legs. 😀 I got an A- for this and the other painting. My first one! I am happy. Teacher is a hard grader but getting an A is awesome. ^_^

There was also that dragon picture/book cover assignment I did, it wasn’t very good because I colored it too dark, so I will not post such failures on my bloggy. The colors just weren’t working. I tried though… :\ Man, I wish I did the Golden Compass instead, I think I would have been more happy.


Filed under Academy of Art University, Art Projects, Charcoal, illustration, Painting


I’ve been rating my itunes music, like putting in the stars 1 thru 5. Its actually somewhat useful, but not really. I mean, why would you have a 1 or 2 point star song on your playlist? Sometimes I download music haphazardly, so when I listen to anything again and I don’t like it, I rate it a 1 star so that I can go back and delete it later. In actually, most of the songs I listen to are only 4 and 5 stars anyway! And even more recently, I’ve decided to be more realistic with my rating and so most of the four stars were really a 3. I only liked it at a certain number of times until I realized it was an average song afterall. This posting has no real point to it. I’m just typing away some observations.

But the one thing I used to always do is go to gamespot and check out the score of a game. I never buy anything under an 8.0 rating, because average games are a waste of your time.  Don’t you think so?

Just like C’s are mediocre and shouldn’t even be happy about getting C’s. What the hell was I thinking? What is surprising though, was that I was so relieved to get a C+ for my grades back in my first year in college because someone told me it was really hard to get an A, so I went for B’s instead. It was realistic to get a B but I wanted more than anything to get A’s. I regret not asking for a higher grade for my analysis of form class. I wasn’t the best student David Lee had, but hell, he saw me working my butt off, so why didn’t I ask? Modesty is only good in small ounces. If I went down the business path, I would crush every single person that got into my way. So CRUEL~ that would have been me. So I am glad, I don’t have to worry about that… hahaha. I’m sure I’d feel guilty later.

I decided I wanted to one up as many people as possible for this homework assignment because somewhere out there, there is an Art Center student who is doing extraordinary work, and I’m probably far far behind.


Bouguereau – “Au Bord du Ruisseau” Master study

By the way, I think chocolate together with green tea is excellent. *lifts up pinky

And feet:



The hands from last, last week weren’t very good because I didn’t spend as much time.


Filed under Charcoal, Painting

40 (or so) minute hands


Hands on toned paper, black and white charcoal.

I am going to attempt to join scriptfrenzy, happens on the first of April. Definitely going to try to get a script to begin a comic. Muuu…. Maybe it will be better than NaNo… :\

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Week 3 stuff




Crap, I have too much to do this weekend!!! D:

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Sunny Side Up


I’m getting better with sunny side up eggs. Yay. 😀 I don’t like mine too raw, just cooked 85-90%. The secret to cooking eggs is low fire, for those of us who don’t know. 😀

This is kind of ironic because it is raining right now, but just this morning, it was kind of sunny. It’s been raining quite a lot the past 2 days, a good thing for desert dwellers because its been too sunny anyway.. hahah. Its starting to feel like spring. I think spring comes early in Southern California, or maybe its because of the global warming. They’re saying that animals are breeding earlier.

I’ve been doing a lot of projects lately, I just don’t take pictures or scan them in. Maybe I will later, but right now, I’ve got too much hw. T_T  They changed the system this year, so stuff will be turned in on Monday instead of Sunday. For some of us, its a relief, but I’m it makes me more lazy. The good news is more time to turn in last minute stuff… The school must think that there are many students who put off work until the weekend… >< They are right!! But some students are part-time workers too. I need a job… Been trying to have a go at website making again. My brother happens to have a web server, and I wish I could split it with somebody, but there is less than a year left, and I don’t really know anyone who would want to.

I think I just spent most of my day looking up useless information again. Damnit.

Well, I’m kicking off with a bad start to my illustration history class… I have not started in the discussion and in that class you want to check often because I really hate reading those goddamn long posts that people like to draw out.

Some more work:


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First week of Spring ’09

Yeah, gettin’ lazy but that is why I its good to post up hw. hehe… any who’s


Yes, you study those terms… ._. Me teacher says the core shadow should be lightened. I did go pretty dark.


Head from memory. Not too shabby, but I cheated slightly.. 😛


Got lazy so I didn’t really put effort into the neck down, so you can tell that it sucks from there.. haha.


I should have been more neat. Be neat!!! Gets you far in life.


First figure I have ever painted in oil. I fixed the improvements earlier today, but I didn’t bother retaking the photo.


I took this at about 9 ish… so it is dark… and if I put up the lamp really close, there would be major glare from the light and the paint isn’t dried.

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Articles, new painting and drawings

Found this article from my hotmail email account, and I was just soooooo pissed off I could punch somebody.

Survey: Unprotected sex common among teens

On average, girls lose virginity at 15; some are having sex at school

  • On average, girls are losing their virginity at 15 years of age.
  • 14 percent of teens who are having sex say they’re doing it at school.
  • 52 percent of survey respondents say they do not use protection when having sex.
  • One in three says she fears having a sexually transmitted disease.
  • 24 percent of teens with STDs say they still have unprotected sex.
  • One in five girls says she wants to be a teen mom.
  • About 50 percent acknowledge that they’ve hit someone.
  • One out of three teens has tried drugs.

I don’t care where they do, how they do it, what kind of STDs they have, but when I read this part:

“A lot of the guys, if I didn’t have unprotected sex with them, they would get mad at me and I still wanted that closeness with them,” one girl says during the show. “I was afraid if I didn’t do what they wanted, they wouldn’t be my friend.”

I’m just cracking my knuckles. How fucking retarded. If I met someone like that, I’d deck the shit out of him for being so offensive. Pound his face until it is unrecognizeable, especially for doing it to someone else.

Girls shouldn’t succumb to unreasonable requests. We don’t deserve it. Why exactly is the morality of human beings so low anyways? There’s a number of other reasons, but there is always a major one.


I have some drawings.


Some problems with the leg, but I’m not going back over it…


I all ready did this drawing last semester! Been doing a lot of the same poses… I didn’t put a leaf over his groin, so clicker beware. Hah! I’m still embarassed of drawing those body parts, especially when someone who isn’t an art student walks in on me. Its like… “eh… yes, I’m doing a male nude drawing..” I used to be embarassed when I first started in class, but it gets less bothersome.


Drapery study for still life.

10_2_4poses_1_duong 10_2_4poses_2_duong 10_2_4poses_3_duong 10_2_4poses_4_duong 10_2_4poses_pic_1_duong 10_2_4poses_pic_2_duong 10_2_4poses_pic_3_duong 10_2_4poses_pic_4_duong

I’ll say it’s not a bad ninja costume improv. My brother gave me a mask 2 years ago, I just dressed in all black. Clothed figure drawing week 10.

That’s all folks!

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Module 9 hand study

This is last weeks work, but what the hey, y’know?



This is a master’s copy, I assume from Da Vinci. I did this in graphite


And this is my own hand.

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If you had a love letter, who would you send it to?

I don’t have a love letter, but I’m trying to think that if I had someone I wanted to write a letter to, who would it be? When my friends come to mind, not a single one, I wouldn’t get anything back. Just like my phone calls. I love getting letters by mail, it’s personal and it’s for ME. Except for bills and all that. I get excited when I get a letter in the mail. I have a pen nib and ink too… I wonder if a majority of America thinks that way, or it’s just me….

Anyway, if I could have voted today, I would have voted for Obama. You can’t waste your vote on third parties because they will never be counted and I just dislike the Bush administration, and neither was the woman running for vice president favorable. She’s a bit coo-coo. I think she would have made woman look worse than they all ready do. No offense, I’m a female advocate, go ladies! but she wants to have children be taught abstinance only? I don’t think they’ll listen, it is like a parent who is being too strict, they will rebel. It’s a known trait, and it’s inevitable. And what if they don’t know about how to use a condom or the idea of a condom? Really now… And also incorporating Christianity into biology. That is human opinion and you don’t need to enforce your ideas onto someone else. Pure crap. Anyway. Some of Last week’s works.

Chinese wine cups and a gold nugget

Chinese wine cups and a gold nugget

This week was about patterns. My ellipses still suck, but I like the color that came out of this. It’s not bad either, but then again, I chose something really easy to do….

Arm Study

Arm Study

Graphite and crosshatching.

Hand and forearm study

Hand and forearm study

I might have made the hand too bony… Oh well… I was tired!

Nowadays, in anatomy, I kind of become lazy. I don’t watch the demos on the cds except for the still life demos sometimes. And it’s just tedious to read the module about the muscles. Last year, I actually made note cards. This year it’s the muscles that lay underneath the subcutaneous muscles and it’s just… I don’t want to memorize that. 😦 Well, I’ll make it in life with or without that knowledge, it’s just helpful to know when the body twists and turns and moves…. I was never great at memorization. Which is why I got a B in geometry because I sucked at remembering the theorems and the formulas. And why I failed at pre-calc and trigonometry. C’s and D’s were frequent during those times. Sigh. By that time, I was depressed because I couldn’t understand anything in that class. My math teacher always did the easy ones as an example problem, I never understood the harder problems. It was SOOO HARD. Right. I should stop. Hahaha… On a happier note, I did pretty good in history and english and even better in Computer Graphics. And PE was enjoyable but boring because I was a loner. That was high school in a nutshell. I don’t know why people had such a hard time for the exit exam though. To avoid going back to class that day, I took my sweet old time but still finished too early.

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Filed under Charcoal, graphite, Painting, Random Talk