This study is sketched in lightly with vine charcoal and followed by conte crayon and compressed charcoal. It can be left this way and become a dry medium study in itself, however since these are water-soluble mediums there are more opportunities ahead. Dissolving the pattern of shadows throughout the features of the face and into the negative space (surrounding background) can offer some exciting painterly results that lead to better design: shapes, lines, values, texture, color and pattern can make some interesting contrasts, rhythm and movement, harmony and balance.
The nature of a child is that they are inquisitive and always on the move, so working from life is usually reserved for quick gesture studies. Working from a photograph is obviously the best solution, however let’s not forget that there are a lot of artistic opportunities when developing a pose. Take lots of shots! They allow for modifications. Let the poses be natural and look for the personality of the child. Turn each color image into a black and white – you’ll need both. The black and white image helps us see the value patterns and linkage of features and shadows. Make sure the lighting is good and that the pose isn’t foreshortened. Take close-ups of the head, and make sure that you have full-figure poses. You may not be planning a full-figure study, however they are good for references when you’re planning use of the surrounding negative space.