Making a drawing or painting from your imagination is sometimes the best test to see where your skills are at, and it’s also a lot of fun. This charcoal drawing of two knights confronting each other on the battlefield is a little outside of my usual fare, but sometimes as an artist you just have to go with it.
Every week the website Illustration Friday, offers a word to be interpreted in art. I didn’t want to join the website or participate with it online, but I thought the word Surrender would be a good theme.
I brainstormed for a bit and thought of two guys fighting on a battlefield and one is surrendering to another about to attack him. Before this drawing, I had never drawn a knight in armor and I thought it would be interesting to finally draw one.
I started with some thumbnail sketches and came up with the pose I wanted. I didn’t want a full scene, just a vignette, because I wanted to focus on the armor.
I followed the deadline of only having a week to complete the drawing, so I started on the poses of the figures. I didn’t have the time or ability to get models in the poses, and I had no access to real armor so everything had to be done from my knowledge of the figure and photos of armor I found online.
After this stage I transferred the sketch to tracing paper to refine the contour, or outline which I would then transfer to the Stonehenge paper to render in charcoal. (Unfortunately, I threw away the tracing paper drawing thinking I would never need it again.)
I used Coates vine charcoal and a kneaded eraser to complete the final rendering of the drawing, that you see at the top of the post. I had to keep a consistent light direction in mind when deciding on how the highlights and shadows would work. Also, I had to think of how the different materials would move, or fold and drape, such as the difference between cloth and the chain mail under the plate armor.
It was a good challenge and I’m mostly happy with it, which I find typical for almost every artist since there’s always something to do or change.
I encourage anyone who wants to test themselves to pick up a pencil or paintbrush and try something from your imagination to help build your artistic skills.