Drawing right on the canvas

This is just what it sounds like. Nothing complex here.

Most people like to use charcoal. Some people prefer pencil. Some use conte crayon. Your goal is to draw your composition on the canvas while thinking only about composition, placement, and proportion. Remember what I talked about earlier. Essentially you are making a skeleton of the final picture. Think of this drawing not as a finished work of art in itself. Think only about outlines and placement.

Another way to think of it is to think of your painting as a construction. Like a house or building. You are constructing your painting in the way a building is constructed. A building must have a foundation before anything else can be added to it. This is exactly what your drawing is, a foundation. It is not a complete building. It is simply laying the groundwork, as best you can, for the further layers of paint that will be applied over it. Your goal is to draw your subject mainly with outlines. You are drawing borders. Remember to concentrate on proportion, and composition. Do not spend much time drawing “inside” the form meaning all of the shading and highlights and such. This will be done with your paint. I mean, large areas of light and shadow would be fine, but don’t try and make a detailed drawing. You are thinking placement only at this stage. Composing where everything will sit on your painting surface.

Once your drawing is set, you need to “fix” it so it will not smudge with some spray fixative. Especially charcoal. If you do not fix it, the black pigment of the charcoal will contaminate the colors of the paint you apply next. Hair spray can also be used to “fix” a drawing. Simply hold the can about a foot from the canvas or panel and spray it over the surface. Test it by gently putting your finger on your lines and see if they smudge or come off on your finger. If the lines do not come off, your drawing is “fixed”. If you see some of the charcoal on your fingers, use a little more fixative and test it again to make sure there is no charcoal rubbing off when you touch it.