Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Portrait sketching of a woman on toned paper.

"Drawing includes three and a half quarters of the content of the painting. Drawing contains everything except the hue." Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres 

With experience we all realise the significance of the words as mentioned above in the beautiful quote by a Master artist.

In 2006, I created a series of portraits using the acrylic and charcoal medium. Back then I was not using toned paper for my charcoal works. After having worked with charcoal and white pastel pencil on toned paper I have developed a tremendous liking for it. Therefore I have decided to take this passion further by sketching portraits on a regular basis. It is challenging though as it requires an in depth understanding of facial anatomy. However I know from experience that by consistently working on a subject will definitely enhance my knowledge. Moreover I believe that learning is a process which has no boundaries. The learning curve steadily climbs up with time.

The charcoal portrait that I just completed is of  a "Woman from Kutch, Gujarat"with traditional jewelry. The morning rays of the sun are fall on her face, casting beautiful shadow of her nose ring. The light and shadow play on the face makes an interesting composition in portrait sketching. It helps me create a range of values. While creating this portrait I wanted to capture the glow, the happiness on her face. I have used Camlin charcoal pencil and Creatacolour white pastel pencil to create this portrait

A Charcoal portrait sketching of a woman from Kutch on toned paper by Manju Panchal

The Glow
Charcoal sketching on Grey hand made paper
Size 6"X 8"

For portrait sketching I have always enjoyed selecting  "Traditional Indian women" with their colourful attire and exquisite jewelery as it speaks so much about the rich culture of the place that they come from. To browse through some of my other portrait works you can visit my PORTRAIT page.

Many of my paintings are available for sale and if you wish to purchase any of them you can Contact me for further information about the same. 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Creating a Charcoal sketch of Mandalpatti Hills (Karnataka) on Canson c a grain paper


I have officially run out of Scholar drawing paper. Therefore I decided to do my present charcoal sketching on Canson c a grain paper. The subject for my present work is a scene from Mandalpatti hills which is about 25 to 30 kms drive from Coorg ( Madikeri ), Karnataka. We visited these hillw in the month of August and being monsoon season the place was green all around. Using the charcoal medium I have created the tonal values as seen in the landscape. I may use soft pastels in future to create the same scene on paper. 

As decided earlier I avoided using willow charcoal in this sketching and went ahead mainly with the powder and pencils. In the original scene the sky was very cloudy but to keep the composition simple I used kneaded eraser to create just a few ones with soft edges.

charcoal sketching of Mandalpatti hills on Canson c a grain paper, by Manju Panchal

The Hills
Charcoal sketching on Canson c a grain paper.
Size 5" X 7"

For creating the above sketching I also used the General compressed charcoal stick ( sparingly though ) which has been with me since last year but for some reason I did not put it to use earlier.
It creates bold black strokes and I am beginning to like it. I may start using it more regularly now.

General's compressed charcoal sticks used for charcoal sketching


Next I am working with "Charcoal and pastel pencil on toned paper" as my two days workshop for the same is coming up on next weekend. 

Ending my post with an inspiring art quote

"It's only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise, that you have rendered something in its true character." Camille Pissarro

Friday, 25 November 2016

Willow charcoal drawing - A scene from End point, Manipal


Of late I have been doing a lot of charcoal drawings and sketchings in an attempt to explore the possibilities of using "Willow charcoal" along with my other commonly used tools. Willow charcoal on its own is definitely great for preliminary studies as it helps in blocking in of bigger shapes. However when used along with charcoal powder and pencils the effect can be totally different. As an artist I will have to consider if it goes well with my kind of techniques and art work.

I am using Scholar drawing paper for my present charcoal works but this was the last of the pieces with me.( I used it earlier for charcoal portrait works). Since I am loving it I may go ahead and purchase my new stock soon. The scene that I have referred to for my presend charcoal sketching is from End Point, Manipal ( Karnataka ).

I have used willow charcoal, charcoal powder, Camlin charcoal pencil, Conte charcoal pencil, General charcoal pencil, blending tools and the kneaded eraser to complete this work. For my next work I am contemplating using Canson c a grain paper and all my above mentioned tools except the willow charcoal. That will help me analyse and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using willow charcoal in the final work.



Charcoal sketching on Scholar drawing paper
Size 5"X 7"


The willow charcoal that I am
presently using ( Chinese brand )


Charcoal powder
( Available in any stationery shop )

Posting an image of the General charcoal powder
Which I plan to use in future.


As an artist I love to paint and sketch. Blogging is equally important to me. However to find time and to manage both becomes a difficult task. Therefore I have decided as of now to write posts at regular intervals if time. My works can also be seen at my Deviantart Gallery. I also have a FACEBOOK page for my artworks and if you like my works please share.

An interesting quote

"I don't say everything, but I paint everything." Pablo Picasso

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The sea waves washing ashore - A soft pastel study.

Soft pastel painting


The soft pastel painting as below has been inspired by all the beaches that I have visited in the past. I particularly chose to do this composition in order to have a better understanding of the anatomy of sea waves. When the waves are reach the shore, the transparency is so visible. The foam that forms on the surface of water has a unique wavy pattern and depending on the light source it casts shadows on the sand beneath. It's a great feeling to stand at the beach and watch these waves move back and forth in a constant rhythm.

A soft pastel painting of scene from Bamboo island by Manju Panchal

The waves at the shore
Soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 5"X 7"

For this particular painting I used a very limited set of colours as posted in the image below. The brand that I normally use are Mungyo and Kohinoor Toison Dor. I selected the pastels at the beginning itself and placed it on my temporary palette( An old ceramic plate). Making a choice of colours at the beginning saves a lot of time and confusion as I have a big collection of blues and greens.

Limited soft pastel palette with few colours required to create a painting

Limited soft pastel palette
 as used for the above painting.

Art quotes inspire and motivate me continue painting.
Posting a beautiful quote- 

"I would rather die of passion than of boredom." Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Working with willow charcoal, charcoal powder and charcoal pencils


The charcoal scene as below is a scene from End Point, Manipal ( Karnataka ). I started this charcoal sketching with the intention of getting the dense forest effect using willow charcoal in combination with the charcoal powder ( Not a branded one. Easily available in art stationery stores ). 

This sketching went through stages of correction or rather I worked a lot more on it to experiment with different techniques so as to arrive at the end result that I wanted. To a certain extent I was successful. However a lot more can be done using the pencils, willow charcoal and the powder. The charcoal sketching helps me in the tonal value study and someday I may recreate the same scene using the soft pastel medium.


At Endpoint, Manipal
Charcoal sketching on Scholar drawing paper
Size 5" X 7"

A painting is like a visual poetry. When I create a painting or a sketching, it is my interpretation of the scene. I paint what I see and observe. For me it is more than just drawing and sketching. It is my visual perception that I give shape to. For every painting that I create, I have a story behind its creation. My passion drives me to paint and sketch on a daily basis and I am grateful for having started this blog in January 2014. Having a blog and the thought of blogging keeps me focused towards my art and it inspires me to work with more dedication. 

Ending with one of my favorite quotes,

"If I could say it in words, there would be no reason to paint." Edward Hopper

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A Charcoal sketching of an early morning view at End Point, Manipal


I just completed a Charcoal sketching with reference to a view from "End Point, Manipal"(Karnataka ). During one of my morning walks that I came across this scene and it appealed to me a lot. The distant land slowly faded away and merged with the Arabian sea. The wild growth in the proximity and the intertwining blades of grasses and branches all around made the foreground very dramatic and in all I loved the composition.

For this particular sketching I made use of willow charcoal to lay down the initial leaves as seen on the left. Later I added the details and the variation of values using my different charcoal pencils. For the background I have used my charcoal smudging tools. Since the view is taken from a cliff, the land at the distance is pretty much hazy, so I did not have to add any details to it.

Charcoal sketching of a view from End Point Manipal, By Manju Panchal

A morning at End Point, Manipal
Charcoal sketching on Scholar drawing paper
Size 5" X 7"

I have started integrating the willow charcoal in my charcoal works quite recently and feel that I am still on an experimental level. Every time I create a small work I get to know the strengths and weaknesses of each tool. As I work more and more, my technique will slowly evolve. I have started two more small works in the same medium to get a better understanding of this beautiful versatile medium.

When I have time on my hands I devote a little of it to browsing through some beautiful photgraphs of nature. I recently came across some stunning photographs taken by Kalyan Verma who is a wildlife photgrapher, a naturalist and explorer dedicated to documenting wildlife and enviornmental issues that define our time. 

Ending the post with a very meaningful quote

"A good artist has less time than ideas." Martin Kippenberger

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Experimenting with water colour techniques in my sketch book.


Sketchbook has become a very significant part of my art journey. I use it for my small preliminary works in different mediums. These days I am creating water colour paintings in them. I posted about these works earlier too and you can CLICK HERE to browse through them.

The works are sized 4" X 5.5" and are done in a very free and loose manner. Working small helps me to learn better. I start with the reference photo, analyse the elements and then work out the procedure in my mind regarding the technique that I shall be using to create the background, middle ground and the foreground. Then I go ahead and mix the colours as required in my palette ( Camlin artists water colour tubes ) and begin the work.

It takes me roughly ten to fifteen minutes to create each work. Since it is a small preliminary study I have to constantly remind myself to avoid getting into too many details and stop after a while. However many a times I get so involved with my art that I lose the sense of time and overdo the strokes which is not really required.

After completing each of the small paintings I make a small note at the side which in future can remind me of my little experiments that I did each time. At times the painting does not match the vision that I had in mind and it challenges me all the more to try out something different to make it work.

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

A rocky seashore

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

Maya bay

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

Breezy day at the sea

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

Foggy day at seashore

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

A tree in shadow

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

Mandalpatti hills ( Karnataka )


Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

Dense foliage 

Small water colour painting in a sketchbook by Manju Panchal

Aerial perspective - study work

Sketch book for creating small water colour landscape paintings

The sketch book with 40 cartridge sheets in it.

I am loving this sketch book. I purchased it from Art Station, a stationery shop close to my residence.
Posting below a beautiful quote that I came across recently and it so well worded. Anyone who is painting in water colour medium will agree with it.

"Watercolor is like golf. Every stroke counts." Katie Wood McCloy

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

The fog - A Charcoal sketching on Scholar drawing paper

Shades of grey


The charcoal sketching as below has been created using charcoal powder, willow charcoal and few charcoal pencils. I started this work a few days back but for some reason could not complete it then.
Now taking a break from my pastels, I spent a few hours on it and completed it.

Through this work I wanted to get the feel of the fog at the distance. I have made use of kneaded eraser and my blending tools to keep the distant foliage and trees hazy and sans any details.

For this work I decided to check out "Scholar paper" which has a smooth textured surface. If it works well for my landscapes then I will include it in my list as a favorite. I have posted earlier about the papers that I presently use for my charcoal artworks and you can CLICK HERE to view them all. 

A charcoal sketching of a foggy day by Manju Panchal

The Fog
Charcoal sketching on Scholar drawing paper
Size 5"X 7"

Creating this charcoal sketching reminds me of yet another "Foggy landscape" work which I did as a demo work during one of my charcoal workshops in June 2015, and I am posting an image of the same here. The work below was created on Canson c a grain paper.

A charcoal sketching of a foggy day by Manju Panchal

Charcoal sketching on Canson c a grain paper ( Demo work done in the past )

I have started a few more landscape works on Scholar drawing paper and will be posting them soon.
Thanks for browsing through my works.


An art quote
"Great art picks up where nature ends." Marc Chagall

Friday, 11 November 2016

Reaching the shore - A soft pastel painting of a seascape.


I just completed another of my seashore paintings from Bamboo island, Thailand, using the soft pastel medium. Every painting that I create speaks to me of the moments spent there. Each painting is in fact like bringing to life some beautiful memories of the past. Posting below a few beautiful lines that I came across recently on the net but cannot remember the source.

"The sand may brush off
The salt may wash clean
The tans may fade
But the memories will last forever." 

I titled this painting "Reaching the shore" with reference to the waves that travel a long distance and then finally reach the destination gently washing ashore after a long long journey.

soft pastel painting of a seashore at Bamboo island ( Thailand ) by Manju Panchal

Reaching the shore
Soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 5.25" X 7.25" 

I recently came across some beautiful photographs taken by nature and wildlife photographer, Sudhir Shivaram. It is interesting to read the articles written by him and it is a pleasure to browse through the beautiful photographs. Presently he is Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh Tiger reserve and you can follow his works on his facebook page. 

As mentioned in one of my previous posts I have also started following another great photographer namely Rathika Ramasamy   who has been posting some stunning photographs of birds with their local and scientific names. It helps to know more about the bird and animal species around you and as an artist it helps to connect with nature.

A Quote

"I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart." Vincent Van Gogh

Friday, 4 November 2016

About my newly purchased Tabletop Easel

One of my latest additions in art stationery is a Table Top Easel. I had been looking out for one since long. Some of my last few paintings have been created on this Easel. It is light weight, easy to use and carry. I may use it for my plein air sketching very soon.

A very big advantage of using this easel is that my neck muscles do not get strained any more as I paint and sketch at eye level. The base is adjustable and I can easily adjust the height as per my requirement. For my soft pastel and charcoal works I use a masking tape to pin the paper on a simple mount board which can then be placed on base of the easel. 

When the painting is placed at an angle on the easel, it becomes very convenient to get up every fifteen minutes and to watch the work from a distance. Analysing the work from a distance helps in a better evaluation. I am loving this easel and plan to use it for all my future works. I purchased it from ART STATION but after an online search later I realised that it is available on AMAZON too. Online shopping is definitely more convenient but it can become an addiction. I browse regularly these days to check on certain pastel brands and get very tempted to place an order but then I remind myself of all the unused stationery that I already have at home. Self discipline and patience in every field is so very important.

Table top easel for artists

My newly purchased Table top Easel
The base can be raised higher using the screws provided 
at the sides. Its angle too can be adjusted.


Table top easel for artists

Table top Easel with canvas board placed on its base.
I can fix the paper on which I want to create the work
with masking tape on to this board.

Soft pastel painting in progress, on table top easel, by Indian artist Manju Panchal

An arrangement that is working good for me.
The reference photograph is at the top.
My Canson Mi Teintes paper is on an archival quality
mount board ( Fixed with masking tape at four corners )
One of my Coorg paintings in soft pastel is in progress.

I love to read inspiring quotes. Sometimes they are the exact words that I would want to hear to keep me motivated so that so that I can draw, sketch and paint on a regular basis. The passion for art is always there from within but at times it needs to be fueled. Therefore through this blog I share the quotes that touch my heart and keep me on track on this art journedy.

Today's Quotation

"The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Rocky Seashore at Bamboo island - A soft pastel painting


I love painting seascapes. Having spent my childhood close to the sea, it brings back memories.
I have a big collection of photographs and sketches yet to be painted and I don't think I will ever get tired of painting this subject. In fact the more I paint the more I fall in love with it.

The seashore as below has been created using very soft pastels ( Mungyo and Koh-I-noor ). I rarely use the hard pastels. In fact I have just one set with me and I never felt the need to purchase more. The scene below is from Bamboo island, part of Phi Phi Leh ( Thailand ).

In this particular painting I got to create a few textured rocks, the froth on the sea waves and their shadows. While adding the waves in the shallow waters I had to pay attention to the perspective in the scene. In all painting this scene was a new learning experience. I am looking forward to creating a few more seascapes soon.


A Rocky Seashore
Soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 7.5" X 9.5"

I am blogging after a long "Diwali festival" break. As an artist I would love to paint and blog everyday but I have this priority list in which my art is sometimes not at the top. There are other very important personal things to be taken care of. However as and when I get free time to myself I devote it passionately to my art. 

The next painting that I may begin is of a forest pathway from Coorg in soft pastels. It has been a long pending assignment which has already painted visually in my mind and I just have to put it down on the paper. 

Last week while browsing through the net for nature and wildlife photographers in India and I came across some amazingly beautiful photographs taken by Rathika Ramasamy. I am truly inspired and have become a big fan of her works. If you are into photography or nature study you must visit her site.

Ending with a quote  - "Art does not reproduce what you see. It makes us see." Paul Klee