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« STUDIO Gallery - The 'Tiny' Show | Main | Workshops »

Winged Victory Drawing Demo

See the larger version here

I made this 8 minute movie of my 10-hour drawing of my cast statue "Victoire de Samothrace" to demonstrate the optical block-in method.

1. The line drawing is all straight lines.
2. The shadow side is first filled in as all one even tone.

These two methods are difficult to adhere too, but if you can do it they address the main difficulties in drawing: capturing accurate proportion, and understanding light and shadow.


  • Strathmore 400 drawing paper (not ideal for charcoal)
  • vine charcoal, hard medium, and some soft (sharpened very sharp with sandpaper)
  • kneaded eraser
  • white "magic rub" eraser
  • paper blending stump
  • rough, cheap paper towel for blending


Winged Victory
charcoal on paper
18 x 24 inches


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Reader Comments (13)

thank you for sharing this process, r.

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrahina q.h.

Beautiful demo! Thank you Sadie for sharing.

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlain Bertin

That was fun to watch.
I have to tell you something hilarious.
First I love Jazz. (It makes you feel like a millionaire when all you have is 20 bucks in your pocket.)
Second, while I was watching the video and listening to the music, my wife was in another room doing homework. She heard the music and hurried into the living because she thought I was watching porn on the internet. She said it sounded like a bathroom scene. I died laughing.
I have no idea why my wife would connect that music to a bathroom scene or even porn in the first place.
I laughed for a good ten minutes.

October 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Becker

Victorious drawing! But I miss to see your 'modell' once; was it a poster? Or a statue-copy? Greetings from Austria!

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRUDHI - Chance

The model is my statue, a half-size cast of Victory, about 3.5 feet tall. If you look at the first shot again you will see it.

Thanks everyone! Gregory I love the story - the music is Nicholas Payton, Fleur de Lis from his album Into the Blue.

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri

Great video, Sadie, thanks a lot for sharing it :)

October 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCarolina

Sadie, I'm amazed that you could make such a good drawing with a camera watching. I'd be too nervous.

November 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCharles Pompilius

Lovely demo - thank you!

November 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCindy Procious

Awesome, I watched it several times now and it still surprises me.

I wonder though why don't you start off with a mid tone grey rub-inn ?

November 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRené PleinAir.

Me encantó tu pintura...que pena que estés tan lejos!
Me facinaría ser alumna tuya.
Muchos cariños desde Chile!

May 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRosario

Another thank you for sharing. Beautiful work! It helped me to understand what it takes to complete a drawing to see it from start to finish. Where do you find your casts?

May 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulie Young

Thanks Julie! This cast I got as a fluke, I happened to see it when a guy had if for sale outside his house! But the best (and really only) place to get quality casts is Giust Gallery (can't link from here, but google it and you'll find it).

Rene just realized I never answered your question about toning the background:

First, I start all my drawings with a highly detailed contour drawing that require a lot of erasing and re-working. So having a ground of charcoal just makes a mess long before I am ready to start with tone.

Second, I was filming this demo for my students at the Academy of Fine Art, and I was teaching them to very clearly define the light side versus the shadow side. If we start with tone everywhere, we can get confused about what is light and what is shadow.

Final note - I was using low-quality charcoal and smooth drawing paper because the Academy dictates the materials list for this class and that's what my students were using. So I wanted to use the materials they were using to show them how to build up values, because a lot of them were struggling with the materials.

May 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSadie J. Valeri

wow great demo, thanks for sharing!

August 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCostescu
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