Then I started working on this new drawing of the male nude. I had prepared the surface a few days ago. It was a plain wooden artist panel that I coated with two thin layers of modeling paste.
I started with a light grid on the panel and the reference photo so I could place the figure exactly where I wanted it, with the shadow tucked right into the bottom right corner. Working with a black watercolor pencil, I blocked in the largest shapes and then washed most of it away, leaving the light impression of the figure and some nice atmosphere.
Slowly adding more light and shadow. On this surface, I have two choices when it comes to lightening an area - erasing the charcoal or sanding away the modeling paste. I'm getting very good at folding a piece of sandpaper just right in order to sand a tiny area.
Still a long way to go, but I am very pleased with it so far. I have to practice this technique some more, especially preparing the surface. Some areas allow the charcoal to get dark and rich, while other spots fight it. But there are so many great serendipitous moments as well, where the texture of the modeling paste enhances the drawing.