Thursdays Drawing, Miss Annabelle – charcoal

I nearly forgot that it was Thursday and suppose to be drawing a new seascape – today’s drawing is Miss Annabelle that I have worked on for three days.

Drawing freehand is not easy.  This young lady was giving me a lot of problems.  Portraits are a new subject for me, so not only am I still learning how to draw w/charcoal, but getting the right angle of Annabelle’s head bent w/her eyes slightly opened (I’m not convinced and need practice) and correct proportions of her features – these were my challenges.

Miss Annabelle, a charcoal drawing is 12×9 on Strathmore paper – materials used were vine and brick soft charcoal, a kneaded eraser, small camel-hair brush and a round brush, and for fine details #4h and #3B graphite pencils.  The reference photograph used was taken by Steve MacIntyre of pmp (a fabulous photographer) of a gorgeous little girl and someone who I couldn’t possibly replicate at my level of experience.  I did take some liberty with the image to make the drawing mine.

UPDATED:  Changes were made to improve expression to more joyful (forehead wrinkles reduced by eyes, eyes slightly opened, and mouth more upturn).  Click onto image to see a larger version.

Updated and Final Version of Miss Annabelle

Updated and Final Version of Miss Annabelle


Original Version of Miss Annabelle

Original Version of Miss Annabelle


About Mary

Oil Pastelist
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55 Responses to Thursdays Drawing, Miss Annabelle – charcoal

  1. Hi Mary,
    This is such a precious drawing. You did a great job and have really wonderful observation skills. I love the wispy hair and I see the difference you did on the eyes.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Janell, thank you for your feedback. I loved working on her hair, the young children have that fine hair that kind of flys all over and the medium handled it really well. Thanks a lot – hope you have a wonderful week ahead.

  2. mihrank says:

    This is so beautiful and precious!

  3. She is lovely Mary. Children are so much harder to capture than adults.

  4. This is the first time I see both and I must say I much prefer the updated version! A reflection of pure innocence in a most remarkable way! The fullness of her cheeks, small delicate chin, spotless skin, perfectly smooth forehead, soft, fluffy baby hair, small rounded shoulders everything reflects the youthfulness of a baby-child! It is more prominent because of the partially opened eyes and that half smile, so the decision to go back and update worked out perfectly! It is one of your best portraits Mary, absolutely wonderful work! Love how you always think, reflect, take decisions and develop skills of up most importance, you’re a wonderful artist and I fully enjoy taking the journey along with you! Have a most wonderful weekend!

    • Mary says:

      Dear Eva, this was such a generous and incredible response to my portrait of Miss Annabelle – I can’t tell you how much it meant that you would take an incredible in-depth look at my work and then give such valuable comments. Your feedback and intimate look at the important details of the piece offer me valuable insight into areas that I should continue to remain focused on in future pieces. I’m working toward something in portrait drawings that I can see in my mind, so every step is getting closer to the goal. Thanks again Eva, the time you’ve spent in analyzing and responding are very meaningful to me. Have a beautiful week.

      • You’re most welcome Mary, your dedication to art is inspiring and just as you take time to develop your craft I take time to enjoy every single detail you worked on and feel the beauty of it. You’re most generous as well with your feedbacks and it means a lot to me as well that you spend valuable time to analyze and respond. Wishing you as well a most wonderful week!

  5. I agree with Cynthia! Loving her hair!

  6. poppytump says:

    A lovely *update … yes … and I’m liking all over again Mary !

    • Mary says:

      Thanks Poppy – means a lot!! Hope you are enjoying your weekend. I’m on my way out to rake up more of the winter leaves and clean the gardens.

      • poppytump says:

        A full time job Mary :-/
        It’s just bonged 8 pm by our old clock but I see it’s later .. Saturday evening has slowed down .. must be the glass of vino in my hand 🙂
        Good luck tackling that garden !

  7. exiledprospero says:

    Given the nebulous backdrop, can we be permitted to say that she lives in a kingdom by the sea?

  8. Painting for Joy says:

    Very sweet and gentle. You have captured her beautifully. Love how the background makes her pop and shows her darling wisps of hair! Have a great weekend! xoxo

    • Mary says:

      Hi Rhonda, thanks very much! I’ve made several changes to her features and re-posted a new photograph of her. Miss Annabelle is now closer to a joyful little girl. Enjoy your weekend too!

  9. aFrankAngle says:

    Cheers at knowing your own flaws … well, as long as you are too tough on yourself. …. and cheers to Miss Annabelle!

  10. poppytump says:

    She is a darling Mary ! Look at the softly upswept hair … and escaping wisps … and delicate little face .. Lovely drawing 🙂

  11. I love the way you see all of the strands of hair. Beautiful drawing!

  12. Well up to your usual excellent standard, Mary.



  13. elisa ruland says:

    I love the downward glance, maybe a touch of shyness? Another beautiful piece, Mary.

  14. Ah, Mary, I really like the way you treated this painting – as delicately as the ‘subject’ portrayed! Well done! 🙂

  15. Jane Lurie says:

    Love little Annabelle. Beautiful, Mary.

  16. A.PROMPTreply says:

    I love how you’ve caught her tired frustration and somehow still managed to get the innocence of the very young in there too with the delicate chin. Very good drawing, Mary. I think the most important thing in any portrait is to capture personality and you’ve done that here a hundredfold! I just want to pick her up and give her a cuddle and make her feel better.

  17. Really wonderful, Mary. 🙂

  18. Lee says:

    Very beautiful, one of my favorites.

  19. I love the treatment of the hair, especially, Mary….the very light touch that blondness requires, the movement of the upsweep, the strands falling out on her right side, and the fluff—almost like the down-feathers on a baby chick–at the forehead hairline. I wonder what she’s looking at….is she about to cry? Wonderful!

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cynthia – thank you so much for your feedback and thoughts on Miss Annabelle, loved your description of her blond hair. She had so many wisps and strands hanging out every which way – I read somewhere once or twice not to overdue on hair like this. Had I to do this over again, I would do 90% of her hair in medium values and add highlights and dark shadows to give it the full-body aspect I was after. I’ll take the first shot for now though.

      Great observation, “about to cry,” she was actually showing very relaxed and happy at whatever she was looking down at. And for the life of me I couldn’t get the tiny lids slightly opened if I tried 100 times. AND, only now did I just realize what I was doing wrong – raise the lower lid ever slight (~ 1/16″) so that the viewer can distinguish the slight opening. With a magnifying glass I could see on the original image a slight crease with a tiny shadow underneath it and that to me means that lid was slightly opened. So I’m going to go in and see if I can make this fix. It’s too dark today to take a good photograph, so tomorrow. I’m enjoying the process of figuring it out.

      I just finished reading “Bereft.” You’re an incredible Poet, every stanza touched the depths of my soul ~ I’m understanding your emotion and power, and it’s through words.

    • Mary says:

      Hi Cynthia, hope you come back to this post – I made some changes to Miss Annabelle to make her a more joyful little girl.

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