Working in charcoal is not an easy task. Some artists feel it allows them to be most expressive, others, like me, feel it just dries out your fingertips and leaves a mess literally everywhere. Regardless, charcoal is a medium that I wanted to gain experience in, and I developed a stronger skill for it in one of my classes at Southern Connecticut State University. For my midterm project, I was assigned with creating a 30″ x 40″ charcoal juxtaposition drawing of two photos I’ve taken. I couldn’t think of anything else I’d want to draw more other than my boyfriend and his car. Lee’s 1968 Biscayne means the world to him and we’ve had countless memories and road trips in that car already. To keep things interesting, I decided to make it a bit abstract, and put Lee’s eyes outside of the car, larger than life.
The initial reasoning behind this was actually to make use of the windshield framing. If you focus on the shape of it, it’s sort of like a cutout in a helmet. I was inspired by candid film shots from vintage F1 racing to replicate the look of a racer in his helmet.
So to me, when I look at it, I see Lee in a racing helmet. But not everyone sees that. And I think it’s pretty cool to leave it open to perspective.
To get the vision I pictured in my head, I had to modify the photos a bit. I flipped the image of Lee to get him looking to the right side, and of course I enlarged his face to get his eyes to fit in the windshield frame perfectly. I then had to crop and convert the image of the Biscayne to black and white, and I altered the lighting of some of the colors to create more contrast so details wouldn’t get lost in the charcoal.
In the end, I actually enjoyed working on a project this large in charcoal. In the future I’m hoping to experiment with charcoal further. What do you think?