Craig Nelson: Drawing Gesture in Charcoal & Pastel

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Video Length: 1 Hour



A reference photo of a dancer allows Craig Nelson to emphasize gesture in a charcoal drawing and capture an exciting pose not possible with a live model.

In this video workshop, Craig eases into the drawing by translating lines from his photo to his paper.

He concentrates on angles and uses an imaginary grid and plumb lines to render a ghost drawing of his subject. You'll have continual access to Craig's reference photo as he works, allowing you to follow his interpretation of gesture. Craig adds facial features and shadows early in the process but plans for later changes. Craig offers tips for effective shading. He demonstrates multiple strokes, rubs in subtle gradients and contrasts deliberate variation in the hair with diffused uniformity in the background reflection. He polishes his darks with a kneaded eraser and a layer of chalk and charcoal whites.

To finish the drawing, Craig perfects his lost and found edges. He both redefines outlines with dark charcoal pencil and blends away soft edges to create ambiguous transitions between the dancers hair and the background darks. He concludes the workshop with a self review, helping you understand the final effects of his techniques and reviewing his original goals.

Craig Nelson's drawings strike a balance between three key compositional elements: gesture, proportion, and perspective. Tipping the scale toward one or two of these elements helps Craig focus on the crux of each subject. In this workshop, a reference photo of a dancer allows Craig to emphasize gesture in a charcoal drawing and capture an exciting pose not possible with a live model.

Craig eases into the drawing by translating lines from his photo onto his paper. He concentrates on angles and uses an imaginary grid and plumb lines to render a ghost drawing of his subject. You'll have continual access to Craig's reference photo as he works, allowing you to follow his interpretation of gesture. Craig adds facial features and shadows early in the process but plans for later changes.

Even as he draws fine details like fingers and jewelry, he leaves room for maneuvering with value and outline late in his process. Craig offers tips for effective shading. He demonstrates multiple strokes, rubs in subtle gradients, and contrasts deliberate variation in the hair with diffused uniformity in the background reflection. He polishes his darks with a kneaded eraser and a layer of chalk and charcoal whites.

To finish the drawing, Craig perfects his lost and found edges. He both redefines outlines with dark charcoal pencil and blends away soft edges to create ambiguous transitions between the dancer's hair and the background darks. He concludes the workshop with a self review, helping you understand the final effects of his techniques and reviewing his original goals. To find the right balance for your own figure drawing, join Craig Nelson in Drawing Gesture in Charcoal and Pastel.

 

BONUS CLIP: Gesture and Proportion

In this clip from his video workshop, Drawing Gesture in Charcoal and Pastel, Craig Nelson captures the gestures of a posed figure in a light sketch that he calls a "ghost drawing." Craig works at arm's length using light pencil strokes to transfer the basic shapes and proportions from his reference photo to his paper. You learn to identify and place key elements and make revisions when you find errors in your initial sketch.


 

 

CONVERSATION WITH CRAIG NELSON
In this relaxed, candid conversation with Craig Nelson we asked him questions we thought you would most like to ask if you could have dinner with an artist.

 

ABOUT CRAIG NELSON
Since 1970, Dr. Craig Nelson has been depicting figures landscapes and various environments in rich vibrant oils. His passion for the subjects relates directly to his brush work, weaving mood and emotion into each work of art.


After graduating from Art Center College of Design with distinction, Craig began his career working in Los Angeles for recording companies and motion picture studios, creating portraits and other subjects with strict deadlines. Craig's countless movie posters include "The Cowboys", "Slapshot", and "Homeward Bound" among many others. His album cover credits include, "Sammy Davis Jr. Live", "Rick Nelson, Country" and "Natalie Cole, Thankful" along with many more.

Collectors include, James Garner, Neil Simon, Toyota Corporation, UCLA Dental and Law School, the U.S. Air Force, UCSF Dental School and many more. He has won over 200 awards of excellence and several gold medals. The "Arts for the Parks" national competition awarded Craig the Grand Teton Natural History Award for a painting entitled "Dining Alone". His work is collected in the United States, Asia as well as Europe.

 

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