Charcoal Compostion Study, the design takes shape.

Charcoal Portrait Study, Jeffrey Smith

After the design has been decided upon, a full size charcoal, or cartoon,  is produced.  This gives me a chance to really workout the composition on the actual scale and size that the final painting will be completed on.  The figure seen in the portrait are drawn at an approximate life size. 

After the cartoon is finished, it is transferred over to a stretched canvas.  This is done by laying a piece of acetate or plastic over the drawing.  The major shadow shapes are traced onto the plastic.  The plastic is laid over top of the stretched canvas with a sheet of graphite paper between the two.  The shadow shapes are traced using a ball point pen, and the image is left on the canvas in the form of a graphite line drawing.