Bethlehem…All done

12 May

Well, this is finally finished.  I wasn’t very sleepy the other night, so I sat down at my table with the tv on nice and quiet and got back at this.  It was around 2:00 AM before I was ready to let it rest for the night.  I made a few more adjustments the next afternoon, and am now calling this complete.

I reworked the background toward the left of the image.  I wasn’t happy with the way the hills were a bit higher than the buildings…they seemed to be competing with the foreground that way.  So, I did some erasing and pushed them down a little so they were flatter and also simplified them so they weren’t pulling the eye from the foreground and the more important part of the drawing.  I did a lot of touching up of the details throughout the drawing, since charcoal seems to smear if you so much as look at it!  I also ended up blending the camel and most of the people and goats and sheep gently with tortillians so they were softer.  I also added some more detail to the brick buildings.  All in all, a lot of little things were tweaked here and there.

I considered using some white charcoal to make the highlights really pop, but ended up going without.  While I love the look of white charcoal, it tends to really glow, so it’s not very subtle.  Also, if it should get mixed with the regular charcoal, it creates an ugly, blue/gray muddy color that never looks good.  The whitest part of this drawing is that distant building in the center of the drawing, and I didn’t really think it was necessary for that building to stand out any more than it already does.

So, after this long WIP, I thank you for following along and for the kind comments along the way.  I appreciate it very much.  I hope you enjoyed the process, and I hope you like the drawing.

…Now, just to spray this with fixative (several times, with charcoal!), and deliver it to my client.


11×14 inches


– Graphite mechanical pencil (for the preliminary sketch)

– General’s Peel and Sketch pencils (sharpened frequently with an X-Acto knife)

– Bostik Blu-Tack (as a kneaded eraser)

– Sanford Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick

– Tortillians and Blending stumps

Drawn on Strathmore Windpower Watercolor paper (cold press 140 lb.)

Thanks for looking!


Posted by on May 12, 2011 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings


6 responses to “Bethlehem…All done

  1. Lenore Busch

    May 13, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Beautiful finish on this one Jenna. I like the way you lightened the sky in the background. It really adds to the depth. Wonderful work…………Lenore

  2. Jenna

    May 13, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    Thank you so much, Lenore. I really appreciate the comments! I did lighten the sky a fair amount and also darkened it on the left. I’m glad it paid off. Thanks again.

  3. janukke

    May 14, 2011 at 6:28 AM

    This is totally amazing! Those people and animals look very vivid and gaceful. I also like how you work with the shades of grey. Perfect depth and plasticity. Beautiful. 🙂

  4. Jenna

    May 14, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    Thank you so very much, Jana! I’m glad you like the final result and have appreciated your comments along the way. It means a lot. 🙂

  5. Anna Connelly

    May 17, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    Wow!!! Nice work! I really like how it turned out!

  6. Jenna

    May 17, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Hi Anna. Thank you so much! I really appreciate the kind comments!


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