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Session 04 – The Face - Chiaroscuro

What’s in the box?



Welcome/Croeso to week 04 of the Feel Good Box sessions. Loved all the Haikus last week. I will keep returning to the subject of sketch books as the course continues as lots to be said…today it will serve as a manual as we enter our chiaroscuro shading sketches.


This week we are going to look at the face and chiaroscuro


The charcoal:

I love working in charcoal as it means getting messy…finger smudging! 

Charcoal needs a nice coarse paper to gather the material from the stick and to allow a working process.

We have a selection of willow charcoal sticks to work with – charcoal is a very popular medium for artist to explore form and light as it is so quick and expressive…spend plenty of time just mark making and exploring its potential – snap them into smaller pieces – create fine black lines – wide textured areas… 



This is ongoing and being built as we progress – PLEASE do send in your weekly creations so I can post them in the gallery and also any inspirational  - creative – links to you tubes etc that have inspired you in any way and we can put them into the Feel Good TV.


1 - - 2 – Bill - 3 – FEEL GOOD BOX - 4 – Password =FGB2020



We will be visiting the islanders again soon so please complete the list of 4 x 3 items as listed and please send in your list to me so I can post it on the web site… to this as a resource during the course and so it would be wonderful if you were able to complete the three items for each category…try and restrict yourself to just three as this is part of the process of exploring your own creative pathways. If you have ten minutes one day find the images related to your 12 items on google etc and email them to me – I will then upload them.



This means light and dark and is a wonderful way to invoke atmosphere and also to create volume. It uses shadow as a means to indicate solids. It is amazing how little information we need from a shadow to know what it is casting a shadow of. The direction and intensity of the light source can change the atmosphere of scene dramatically…simply grab a small lamp turn out other lighting and just move the light around the object you are going to draw.



The face – picture me on a good day:

Portraits are something I do regularly and have an online business where folk send me photos and I create a pencil/ink or pastel drawing. I even extend this to pets and animals such as horses…The joy is in finding the characteristics that show the personality of the subject - the twinkle in the eyes the dimple of the smile etc…I find portraits completely absorbing.


With the face we are going to explore a basic foundational approach to constructing the face and features.

I have already created a 30 minute masterclass on this for the Arts Council of Wales and so will include that in this week’s demonstration package.


Picture me on a good day.

I began this creative process while working in prison with young offenders. I would draw their outline portrait in ten mins and then invite them to complete the portrait but add important elements around the picture. I used the phrase ‘picture me on a good day’ this was to throw a spotlight on a time that was not connected with there current identity of a convicted criminal. I invited them to remember a positive experience - say a holiday or a day at the seaside – or playing with their pet dog etc


I then invited them to recall that day using their senses.

  1. What did you see that day – colours – shapes – light – distant horizon etc

  2. What did you hear that day – atmosphere – voices – dogs barking etc

  3. What did you smell – odours – fragrance – smell of seaweed drying etc

  4. What did you taste – bitter - sweet – sour – chips and vinegar etc

  5. What did you touch – rough – smooth – hard – soft – sand falling though fingers etc

  6. What did you feel – happy – melancholy – laughter – joy – excitement etc

  7. Any other senses….

As you recall these senses you can try and record them using words (haikus) sketches – colours – shapes etc – they can be recognisable images or purely abstracts that create a ‘sense of the sense’.


As you gather these images look at how you can incorporate them into the portrait of yourself.

With the young people in the prison they added these to their pictures which were on a solid canvas base and then they were permitted if they wanted to take this back to their cells and put them on their walls. Without exception they all did – this proved to be a very profound and important creative exercise as it meant that they were making themselves a little more vulnerable and also having a sense of pride at the same time – psychologically this was a key catalyst to allow them to be more open to discussion about education and self-improvement. It was as if they had created a battery that provided them with a positive charge when they needed it. They were not simply a product of their current circumstances they were more, and they could be more - this was simply a temporary state.


Use all and any media you feel happy with – mix it all up be free with this and just see where it goes…



Take Care Bill 

Session 04 -

Bill Cam

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