Monday, February 25, 2008

Can you cover charcoal with gesso?

Brenda asks:
I want to sketch with charcoal on canvas board, then gesso the board before painting with acrylics. Will that work? Why or why not?

As far as I know, all gesso is opaque—either white or black. Therefore, it will cover up your charcoal work and you will not be able to see it. Further, gesso is generally applied with a brush and would smear your charcoal drawing. To do what you are describing, you need to spray your charcoal sketch with a clear fixative (either charcoal fixative or a crystal clear water-based varnish. This will seal your charcoal sketch and allow you to paint over it with your acrylics without smearing your charcoal.

Hope this helps.

Judy Leasure, TDA
My art blog: http://www.jalstudios.blogspot.com
My art pictures: http://www.picturetrail..com/jleasure
My art store: http://www.jalstudios.etsy.com

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Charcoal will smear, even HB pencils smear when applying with a brush, I suggest setting up the canvas before doing anything.

teddy bears said...

I SUGGEST YOU APPLY SOME FEVICOL BEFORE YOU ANYTHING ON THE CANVAS FOR PAINTING.

Are you curious about me? said...

I was taught by a well known British artist to ...

Gesso first wait for it to completly dry.
Draw out design with charcoal.
Then get an old tea towel or such cloth and 'flick' the cloth at the board, it will push some of the charcoal into the gesso and remove the dust.
If you need to amend the drawing just rub that bit off with the cloth and start the process again.
Your drawing will still be visible and ready to paint.
If you want to at this stage go over these lines with thin paint to 're-draw' your design, only a little of the charcoal remains and will hardly effect your underpainting.

Have fun.