This is white charcoal on black paper - a really interesting exercise we did in class recently. You have to kind of put your brain in reverse - pulling out the highlights instead of the shadows. What I'm enjoying about these studies is that it's really challenging me to rethink what I 'know' about drawing, and I'm learning so much through the process of experimentation, doubt, failure and success (not necessarily in that order).
Something I was thinking about today was how hard, even in an academic environment, it is to not to contrive a narrative of some kind into my drawings. I do have something of an active imagination, it must be said - I have very vivid dreams and nightmares, and my brain rarely stops for breath, so to speak. Maybe that's a female thing, maybe an artist thing, or both. I've talked before about my habit of anthropomorphosising inanimate objects I paint in still lives - same thing.
Anyway, I thought this model had a kind of medieval quality about him, with the beard and earrings, which lent him a kind of dignified authority - like a king or a warrior from ye olden days. I liked that idea, it gave the drawing an energy I think. We were drawing a female model who fell asleep today, and the character was completely different. I think it's important to tap into what's going on around you to channel into your art - as long as it's stuff you can handle. Sometimes I think that kind of sensitivity can make you vulnerable if you're not aware how much you're taking in.