Power and Energy in Charcoal

I’m loving this drawing! My motive for it is to communicate the power and energy that Martin Luther King Jr expresses in his speeches.

Every time I listen to a speech by Martin Luther King Jr I’m moved in some way. Reading his words doesn’t convey as much power. But the way he delivers his speeches with power and energy I’m constantly in awe.

So, how do I communicate this power and energy in charcoal?

With as much power and energy in each stroke as I can.

Martin luther king jr speech drawing

Robert Henri speaks about the state of the artist being communicated with every stroke of the brush regardless of what the artist may actually want. So if I go about this drawing sitting, sad and lifeless then that is what will show.

Instead, I’m standing while drawing, I’m getting my body involved in the motions of the charcoal pencil and I’m even doing push-ups and Burpees every 20 minutes to keep my energy up while drawing. My physiology and psychology are working together in service to my motive!

Previous MLK Drawing Posts

Today I chose Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech at Stanford. Here, he expounds on his nonviolent philosophy and methodology. A methodology that many of us should take part in today when protesting the police violence against black Americans.

And the quote for today is one that I love and unfortunately reflects the current state of the US government. For too long our government and media agrees with the outrage of the majority of US citizens but then say that our actions are untimely.

A riot is the language of the unheard.

Martin Luther King Jr

One Minute Gestures

With a focus on motive I take up, once again, the almost daily practice of gestures from The Natural Way to Draw

Warm-Up and Steve Huston Sketches

I’m sketching the torso again today as part of my warm-up. Here I’m looking at how the deposits of fat between the torso and hips differ from male to female and how they react during movement. This is from Steve Huston’s book.


Daily Composition and Daily Sketch

The daily composition is a practice I started from The Natural Way to Draw by Kimon Nicolaides. The daily sketch is something that I started from Figure Drawing for Artists at Steve Huston’s suggestion.

I’m doing the daily sketches because I understand my need to constantly look at basic objects everywhere and draw them with basic forms. The purpose it to improve my ability to draw basic shapes cleanly and shaped well.

The daily composition drawing is of three boys, a super cute puppy corgi, above us on a hill covered with snow. We were hiking around the Mt Shuksan area and it was all covered in snow still, even though it was warm.

daily composition and daily sketch

What went well?

Early art time at the height of my energy for the day!

What needs work?

More time on my sketches, daily composition, and drawings from Steve Huston’s book.

What did I learn?

Communicating power and energy in a drawing is one of the most easiest things to communicate in a drawing because those adjectives can also describe how charcoal is applied. Something more difficult to describe in charcoal, or any medium, would be words like; hesitation, awe, amazement, etc…


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