Friday, 30 December 2016

Charcoal workshop at Dr D Y Patil College of Architecture ( Nerul )

Art workshop at College

Dr D Y Patil College of Architecture is an institution dedicated to D. Y. Patil Group's mission of imparting modern updated education. It was established in 1992, is recognized by AICTE and affiliated to the University of Mumbai.The institute has made its name in a short period of time. The main emphasis is given to integrating science and technology for the development of student's aptitude towards architecture. The college has excellent infrastructure. Academic excellence is ensured by experienced faculties and facilitated by art facilities.

Dr D Y Patil College of Architecture

Dr D. Y. Patil College of Architecture

Dr D Y Patil College of Architecture

Dr D. Y. Patil College of Architecture

On the 28th of Deccember I was invited to do a Two hours Charcoal Workshop with forty students who had registered their names for the same as a part of the ongoing Student's annual festival "SRUJAN" Students Annual Festival.

I normally take my Art workshop over a period of two days in which I teach about the tools, techniques and do several demo's. ( Total of six hours ). Therefore to complete the "Basics of charcoal workshop" in a two hour period was a challenge and I had to plan and work on it. For me it is important to teach, discuss and then help the participants in creating a few works as a warm up exercise.

Prior to the workshop I had sent a list of topics which I had planned to cover during the workshop such as the following

  • Use of drawing tools
  • Design and composition 
  • Significance of values
  • Blending and shading
  • Making a mark using pencils and willow charcoal
  • Techniques involved in creating grass, clouds, sky, rocks, mountains, sea, waves, bushes, trees, foliage, door, wall etc
  • Creating an original painting
  • Advantages of regular practice
  • Use of fixatives
  • Framing of paintings
  • Care and preservation
During the workshop I discussed in detail about the tools that I use as an artist to create the Charcoal drawings. ( I have blogged about it earlier with images ). Today there are umpteenth variety of tools available in the market but one has to be selective and decide to use only those which work for his/her kind of work.

 In order to have a better understanding of all the above mentioned topics I demonstrated in bits and pieces ( Different elements such as foliage, door, bushes, door etc ) and the participants followed the same exercise in their drawing sheets. This helped them to get to know their tools for charcoal medium.

using Willow charcoal for creating different marks By Manju Panchal

Using willow charcoal for mark making
( Similar explation was done for using
charcoal pencil as well as charcoal powder )

After getting accustomed to the charcoal tools like the pencil, willow charcoal and the charcoal powder I showed them one of my recent demo works and we discussed the steps involved in creating it.
Charcoal drawing - Demo by Manju Panchal

A demo work that I recently created during
 a charcoal workshop ( Photo reference Courtesy: Geotripper )

In the last hour I started a Charcoal drawing using a photograph as a reference ( Maya Bay ) explaining the steps involved in creating the same. The participants worked along with me and they too created the same work in their Art Book which comprised of cartridge sheets.

As the drawing progressed there was a lot of discussion about the do's and don'ts in charcoal medium and exchange of ideas. I emphasized a lot on creating "Original Drawings" using still life subjects or personal photographs as a reference.

Maya Bay ( Thailand ) photograph by Manju Panchal

Charcoal drawing and sketching demo
in forty five minutes
To understand the value study, techniques
involved in creating sky, clouds, mountains and rocks,
water and waves.

The workshop went pretty well and I was satisfied as I could cover all the topics as I had planned earlier. It was a great pleasure to share my techniques and style with students of Architecture and I am sure this medium will be of great benefit to them in their future work.

The staff and students were very cordial and I was touched by the hospitality extended to me.

Looking forward to more such workshops in the year 2017.

Thanks to everyone who has been browsing through my blog on a regular basis and please do visit my DEVIANTART gallery and my FACEBOOK page.

Ending my post with a beautiful and inspiring quote

"Drawing is a vision on paper." Andrew Loomis

Monday, 26 December 2016

Tree trunk in shadow - A soft pastel painting

"Trees are the earth's endless effort to speak to the listening heaven." Rabindranath Tagore

Beautifully written quote by Rabindranath Tagore. Trees are such an essential part of beautiful nature that surrounds us. I have been doing a series on "Trees" using different mediums and my love for this subject continues to grow. 

This particular tree on the banks of river Kaveri, was in the shadows and the sunlight perforated through the foliage to light up the raised areas of the exposed roots. The light and contrast in the scene appealed a lot to me and I selected this scene for my soft pastel work. While in Dubare forest area last March we got the opportunity to photograph many such strongly rooted beautiful trees and I will be painting many of them soon.

Soft pastel painting of a tree trunk in shadow by Manju Panchal

Tree trunk in shadow
A soft pastel painting on Canson Mi Teintes paper
Size 6.5"X 8"

I started this work on a black coloured Canson Mi Teintes paper which was taped on to a hard board for support and then I placed this board on the on the Easel. Having purchased a table top Easel is a great advantage and I am putting it to use for most of my art works. It is very convenient to work with the easel as I can look at eye level and sketch. Once placed on the easel I begin with the first step which involves creating the basic outline of the tree trunk and the exposed roots. At this stage I put in efforts to check on the design and composition.

Steps in creating the soft pastel painting of a tree trunk by Artist Manju Panchal

Step 1
Creating an outline
keeping in mind the design and composition

Next came the "BLOCK IN" stage wherein I carefully selected the colours keeping in mind the values and I filled in the masses. I keep the detailing for the final stage.

Steps in creating the soft pastel painting of a tree trunk by Indian artist Manju Panchal

Step 2
Blocking in the colours
paying attention to the values

In the final step I add the details and the darker values to create the depth. I also add a few pastel marks in earthen shades on the trunk to suggest barks and other growth on trees.

I got into drawing and sketching trees somewhere in 2014 when I was making a transition from "Still Lives" to "Landscapes". That is the time when I felt the need to understand the anatomy of the tree in order to paint it well. From then on I have created a series on "Trees" and continue painting and sketching them.

This weekend I had a great workshop in soft pastel medium with three participants who were very passionate about art. They learnt the basic techniques involved in creating a soft pastel painting and then went on to create a soft pastel painting of "Santorini, Greece" and "Maya Bay". I shall be posting the images of their works soon in my art workshop page.

Thanks for browsing through my works and please do leave your comments.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Thumbnail sketches in the soft pastel medium

Thumbnail sketches or Preliminary works in soft pastel medium.

As mentioned in my last post, I decided to get back to Soft pastel paintings and the best way to warm up is by creating a few "Thumbnail sketches" or the "Preliminary study works". Thumbnail sketches are fun because it is done more freely and spontaneously. It is a vital step in drawing and painting and I have made it a habit to follow this disciplined routine. 

 The soft pastel sketches sized 4" X 5.5" are done with reference to scenes from Coorg and Himachal Pradesh. The time spent in creating each of these sketches was about fifteen to twenty minutes. It's just one layer of pastels without any kind of detail works.

Thumbnail sketch in soft pastels by Manju Panchal

A scene from Coorg

Thumbnail sketch in soft pastels by Manju Panchal

On the banks of Kaveri river ( Karnataka )

Thumbnail sketch in soft pastels by Manju Panchal

On the way to Ladakh

Thumbnail sketch in soft pastels

Journey to Ladakh

Thumbnail sketch in soft pastels

Spiti Valley

A lot of planning and effort goes in creating a simple thumbnail sketch which then serves as a reference for my future art work. I try as much as possible to create bigger works of using all my study works. 

As a part of Christmas Day Celebrations, I am glad that I recently got the opportunity to hold a "Pencil Sketching Workshop" for twenty five lovely kids at Sneha Sadan, an orphanage at Jogeshwari west. I got about enough time to teach them value shading, design and composition, shading and blending techniques. Later I demonstrated a "Simple Archaic Door" drawing and all the kids followed the step by step procedure to create the same. It was a pleasure to share my knowledge and technique with the kids and I have offered them to be there for other workshops too in future.

"How you draw is a reflection of how you feel about the world. You're not capturing it, you are interpreting it." Juliette Aristides

A beautiful quote and I love it all the more because I truly believe in it. Every painting that I create is of a "SUBJECT" that I love and feel the connection with it. It is my interpretation of the scene. My intention is not to create a photo realistic image but rather a work which speaks for my creativity and thoughts that went into making it happen.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Graphite pencil drawings in my new sketch book

"It takes 25 years to learn to draw, one hour to learn to paint." 

Last month when I was travelling I decided to carry a "Small art stationery travel kit". This kit consisted of  my routine blank sketch book, HB pencil and a 10B pencil along with a kneaded eraser. The plan was to get back to sketching and drawing in graphite medium. 

Did the plan work? Absolutely. In fact I have realised that for any plan to work, we have to make it work. It won't ever happen on its own. At times I have to push myself . Once I get started, the momentum picks up and then I start enjoying the whole experience. I am getting back into graphite medium after a long long time and no regrets. I am loving it.

I started off with a landscape and then went on to do few more interesting subjects using both the Camlin HB and the 10B pencil. The travel kit was small and convenient and and getting back to graphite drawing was a rejuvenating experience. 

Graphite drawing in a sketch book by Manju Panchal using Camlin 10B pencil

Pencil drawing and sketching
in sketch book with 4" X 5.5" cartridge sheets

Graphite drawing of a tree trunk by Manju Panchal in small sketch book

Tree trunk

Graphite drawing of a landscape by Manju Panchal in small sketch book

Snow capped mountains in the distance

Graphite drawing of a pear by Manju Panchal in small sketch book

A pear in sunlight

Graphite drawing of a garlic clove

A garlic clove

Art sketch book

The sketch book 
with 40 cartridge sheets.

The sketch book is small, lightweight and easy to carry. It has forty cartridge sheets sized 4"X 5.5". After every sketching and drawing, ( Each drawing takes roughly fifteen to twenty minutes ) I make it a point to mention the date and a little remark underneath so that some day in future when I browse through this book it will remind me of my little experiments and stories connected with each work.

By now I have a big collection of these small books and each of them is specifically for a different kind of artwork. Like there is one exclusively for my portrait studies and there is another purely for my water colour works. Therefore as and when I take a break from my "Normal daily painting routine" I turn to one of my sketch books to try out some new idea, some new medium or simply drawing and sketching.

I have been working a lot in charcoal medium lately and some of my "Soft pastel works" have been left unattended. They are half way through and so next thing I am planning is to focus on completing them. My "Two days soft pastel workshop" is coming up this weekend and I am pretty excited about it as I will get to meet new participants. Interacting with others who are as passionate about art as you are is very inspiring. I always look forward to having my workshops.

Monday, 19 December 2016

The charcoal drawing tools used by me for my charcoal art

Charcoal sketching tools

I have been wanting to this post since long as it is a common question asked to me by all those who love charcoal art. The participants who attend my art workshop too have requested me to post this information on the blog.

Being a self taught artist I have experimented with a whole lot of different pencils and blending tools in the past. However over a period of years I have zeroed in on a handful of them and they have been in my charcoal tool box since then. There are a few paper stumps which are almost sixteen years old and I dread misplacing them. The older they get the better they are at blending. 

Basically the charcoal kit consists of the pencils, blending tools and the erasers and a fixative.

paper stumps, charcoal tools for charcoal sketching

The paper stumps ( Old collection, almost fifteen years old )
Rolled up paper

tortillons or paper stumps, charcoal tools for charcoal sketching

The blending tools  or Tortillons ( New ones as available in the market )

charcoal blending tool, old soft cloth for charcoal sketching

Old soft cloth for blending
Tissue paper  also can be used as an alternative, to blend the 
charcoal on paper ( I normally use only the cloth )

Camlin soft charcoal pencil used for charcoal drawing and sketching

Camlin charcoal pencil
I almost use it for all my charcoal drawings and sketchings

Conte a Paris charcoal pencil used for charcoal drawing and sketching

Conte a Paris charcoal pencil

General charcoal pencil


A normal eraser ( Staedtler )

kneaded eraser used for charcoal sketching and drawing

Kneaded eraser ( Faber Castell or Cretacolour )
Very helpful to create the highlights and can be moulded into any shape

Willow charcoal ( Chinese brand )
I have Daler Rowney willow charcoal too but I find this
particular one very soft and it covers the paper
very uniformly as a base value.

Charcoal powder
I use if for creating the darkest values in my charcoal sketching.

Cretacolour Chunky Charcoal
( Sparingly used )

General's Compressed charcoal sticks
This has been with me since last year and only very recently
I have started using it. I find it pretty good.

Masking tape

Masking Tape
Masking tape is required to fix the paper
on to some hard surface or an acid free board
before beginning the drawing begins

Blade cutter tool

Blade Cutter
I normally a blade to sharpen the pencils instead of using a sharpener
 as the tips break off easily. It leads to a lot of frustation
especially if the pencil is very expensive.

Winsor and Newton fixative for charcoal and pastel works

Winsor and Newton Fixative
There are lot of different brands of fixative's in the market
but somehow I have always liked the one as above.

Apart from all the tools mentioned above, I also keep sand paper handy as it helps me to sharpen the pencil tips when I need to do the details. And I also forgot to mention a simple HB pencil ( Any brand ) which is required in the beginning to do the initial drawing on the paper.

I have also written a post about the PAPERS that I use for my charcoal works and you can CLICK HERE to browse through it. I hope this post is helpful to all those who are into charcoal drawing and sketching. 

If you are into charcoal art work and if you use any tool other than what I have mentioned above, then please do write and share with me. It will be a pleasure to be informed.

Thanks a lot for browsing through my works.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Sketching a landscape in charcoal medium

Charcoal sketching of a landscape

This charcoal sketching is inspired by the early morning scene at one of the trekking pathways at Karnala Bird Sanctuary. I loved the composition of the scene and selected this landscape as it helped me in understanding the tonal values of the complicated scene which had distant hills, sunlit pathway, bushes, trees, rocks, scattered leaves etc. 

Charcoal sketching of scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary

The winding pathway
Charcoal sketching on Favini paper
Size 6" X 8"

Over a period of years I have collected a whole lot of art stationery which includes paints, brushes, pencils, papers and a miscellaneous collection of "Unused things". Among the not so used up paper is a "Favini" paper which I picked up from a Stationery shop at Thailand. ( I still have a whole lot of them with me ). Therefore for my present charcoal sketching I decided to put this paper to use. ( I have used it on earlier occasions for portrait sketching ).

In conclusion this paper is fine but I would prefer to use "Scholar" which I have started using pretty recently for my charcoal landscape works. Presently my stock of this paper is over and I am waiting to buy some soon. Unfortunately it is not available at ART STATION, the stationery store near my residence.

To view my soft pastel painting of yet another scene from Karnala Bird Sanctuary, CLICK HERE
I plan to use soft pastels to recreate the above scene on Canson paper.

"There is no retirement for an artist, it's your way of living so there is no end to it." 
Henry Moore

I believe every word of the quote as mentioned above. Art is a way of life. It happens everyday. I am always looking out for new subjects, new plans to add to the day today excitement of creating and learning at the same time. Art is fun.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The man with the turban - Charcoal and white pastel pencil sketching on toned paper

"You never outgrow drawing, It's so fundamental to everything." Debra Groessner

"The man with a turban" is my latest portrait study on Canson Mi Teintes paper. 

Pagri ( Turban ) refers to a headdress worn by men in many different parts of India. Turban is a long piece of cloth which needs to be tied manually on the head. In desert regions it gives constant protection to men from the harsh climatic conditions. It also has many other practical functions such as travellers use it as a pillow, a blanket or a towel. An unravelled turban can also be used as a rope to draw water from a well with a bucket. ( Courtesy: Wikipedia )

Charcoal portrait of a man from Rajasthan, by Manju Panchal

Man with the turban
Charcoal and white pastel pencil sketching on Canson paper
Size 5" X 7"

Apart from painting and sketching on a regular basis, I conduct two days workshop from time to time. Art workshop brings like minded people together. People who are passionate about art but have not had the opportunity to continue their hobby for some or the other reason. During the workshop I share the techniques that I use to create the paintings my way. It is a one on one guidance as the group is always a small one. 

My intention is to teach generously by holding back nothing and to bring joy to others through art. My art is teaching me to live life in the most beautiful way that I could have imagined. 

If you like my works please visit my FACEBOOK page and LIKE and SHARE.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Looking back - Soft pastel paintings of seashore

"Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things." 
Edgar Degas ( Soft pastel artist 1834 - 1917 )

I am a big fan of soft pastel works by Edgar Degas and always take out time to browse through his works. It is very inspiring.

Having an "Art blog" is like maintaining a digital record of all one's works. Sometimes I browse through my own works which I created in the past. I do it so as to observe, analyse and do a little study of the design, composition, colours and techniques that I used to create a particular work.  

I am posting below three of my favorite seascapes that I created using soft pastel medium. The top two were inspired by my visit to Langkawi island in Malaysia and the last one in the series has been inspired by the white sandy beaches of Florida.

Soft pastel painting of a seashore by Manju Panchal

Soft pastel painting of a seashore by Manju Panchal

Soft pastel painting of a seashore by Manju Panchal

Soft pastel paintings of Seascapes 
created in the past

Browsing through old works brings back some pleasant memories and it also motivates me to continue working with my art.   

For most of my soft pastel paintings I use Canson Mi Teintes paper which is acid free and comes in many different shades. I have posted earlier about "The papers I use for my soft pastel paintings" and you can click on the link to read the same.

Thank you for browsing through my works.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Portrait of a woman on Canson Mi Teintes paper

Portrait sketching in charcoal and white pastel pencil.

The portrait below is a happy smiling face of a young lady from Rajasthan, with a beautiful traditional silver nose ring and a sparkle in her eyes. Each piece of jewelry worn by a woman has its own significance. What I love about the jewelry is its uniqueness and beauty.

To me, portrait sketching is more than just rendering the strokes using different pencils. It is more about capturing the emotion. The most challenging part apart from getting the anatomy right, is to bring life into the face through the eyes. The eyes speak it all.

Portrait of a Rajasthani woman on Canson Mi Teintes paper, by Manju Panchal

The smile
Portrait sketch on Canson paper
Size 4.5" X 5.5"

"Drawing is the best way to meditate, while staying connected to the world around us." 
Elsha Leventis

This quote sounds so perfect as I personally believe in every word of it. During my art workshops too I come across participants who share the same feeling. Drawing and painting, they say keeps them busy and happy.

I have my "Two days Charcoal workshop" coming up on the 17th and 18th of this month in which I will be mostly demonstrating landscapes using willow charcoal and other charcoal pencils. I take a very small group of three people so that each participant gets individual attention. If you wish to know more about it you can write to me at 

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Demo works in charcoal and white pastel pencil

Demo works created during ART WORKSHOP

During my last workshop which was held on 3rd and 4th of December, I did a few demo's using charcoal and white pastel pencil. I am posting the images of two of them. Normally I try to cover as many subjects as possible including still life, seashore , landscape etc.

On the first day of the workshop the participants get accustomed to the tools required for the artwork and the different techniques to use them. It is more of a warm up session.  After getting used to the tools they go ahead and create two different small works and I guide them as they proceed step by step to complete their painting.

On the second day of the workshop the participants decide on their choice of subject and then proceed to do the same after creating a "Thumbnail sketch" or "Study work". I insist on getting used to doing study sketches as it helps in the initial stages to get the right design and composition. Rest everything falls in place.

Demo work done during charcoal workshop by Manju Panchal

A tree trunk with exposed roots
Demo work on grey hand made paper
Size 4" X 5"

Demo work of Abbey Falls created during charcoal workshop by Manju Panchal

Abbey waterfalls ( Karnataka )
Demo work on grey hand made paper
Size 4" X 5"

For the demo work I have used a grey hand made paper which I picked up from an art stationery shop. It has rough texture on both its sides and serves well for initial drawing purpose. When I am in town in Fort area I always make it a point to pick up a few hand made papers in different colours. Some of them turn out pretty good for drawing and sketching. 

I have made a collage of the works made by two participants and you can find them on my ART WORKSHOP page.

Ending this post with a beautiful quote by Salvador Dali

"Drawing is the honesty of art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad."

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Charcoal and white pastel sketching of a "A Closed Door"

"Drawing keeps the eye fresh, the mind alive, and the intuition nimble." Timothy Nero

"A Closed Door" - a charcoal and white pastel work on Canson Mi Teintes paper. The paper I used is dark grey in colour, and this colour of the paper itself acted as a shade darker than the mid tone value. Rest all values were created using the white and the black pencils. 

Foe the darker shades I have used Camlin and Conte A Paris soft charcoal pencil and for all the lighter values I have used the Conte White pastel pencil and Cretacolour white pastel pencil.

I created this work last week prior to my weekend workshop. During the "Two days workshop" I also demonstrated a few other subjects and I shall be posting about them soon. 

Charcoal and white pastel pencil sketching of a door on Canson Mi Teintes paper by Manju Panchal

A Closed Door
Charcoal and white pastel on Canson paper
Size 5" x 7"

"A Rustic wooden door" is another of my similar sketches that I created in October 2015.

Canson Mi Teintes is available in many different shades and it can be purchased either online from Amazon, Flipkart and other such stores or if you happen to be in town then you can buy it from Art Lounge, a stationery shop at Churchgate.

To browse through my artworks in different mediums you can visit my DEVIANTART Gallery.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Santorini Greece - water colour study works in my sketch book

Water colour study works on cartridge sheets

Some time back I posted about my sketch book in which I create small water colour works . I added a few more works in the same book referring to photographs sent to me by a friend who recently visited Santorini, Greece. The blue traditional doors and the pink bougainvillea flowers around it, casting beautiful shadow patterns on the white wall look so amazing and I could not resist painting them. For the study purpose I have used the water colour medium but some day later I shall recreate them in soft pastels too.

The size of each of these paintings is 4" X 5.5" and I call them "Study works" as I have done them at a great speed with very loose brushstrokes in an attempt to get a better understanding of the subject.

Water colour study work of a door from Santorini, Greece. By Manju Panchal

Water colour study work of a blue window in Santorini, Greece by Manju Panchal

Water colour study work of a door and bougainvillea flowers from Santorini, Greece. By Manju Panchal

Small water colour study works
of scenes from Santorini, Greece
Created in my sketch book.

My Sketch book
with 40 Cartridge sheets in it.

Sable hair brushes from Himalaya Fine Art
A Stationery shop at Fort, Mumbai

Painting small works in the Sketch Book is total fun. There is absolutely no fear of  going wrong or ruining a painting and probably this freedom to paint freely and loosely helps me to enjoy and learn better. Learning for me is a part of my art journey. It has no boundaries or limits. There is a lot to do and a lot to learn. 

Albert Einstein said, "Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death."

I fully agree with the above statement. Each and everyone of us irrespective of age and other factors must continue working at whatever he/she loves. It changes life for the better and makes life so much more meaningful.