A Cowboy’s Tale – still life

This was one of the more difficult pieces I’ve drawn due to multiple light sources, lack of reference photos, and having no grouped subjects in one place.  Oh well….I guess I can’t have everything. 

The horrible reference photo.


MATERIALS USED: Fabriano Artistico hotpress 140 lb (300 gsm) water-color paper; Wolff’s B, 2B, and 6B carbon pencils; General’s 2B and 6B compressed charcoal sticks; Nitram H and HB vine charcoal sticks; Kneaded eraser; piece of felt; chamois; a blending stump; a sanding block; and some very patient hands.



I began by first putting in the wood grain using Nitram charcoals. Once that was finished, I went to work on using the Wolff’s carbon to create a stainless steel whiskey flask and leather smoke pouch. If you get to the close-up photos below, zoom in on the whiskey flask and you’ll see the knurled pattern grip I put on the lid.

Once I had those two object laid out, I then went to work rendering the bull skull followed by the boots. I used Nitram and General’s charcoals on the skull and Wolff’s carbon for the boots. The boots were rendered using carbon powder and a small blending stump. Then hatched over using the carbon pencils. The final results are below.



I’m thinking of putting in a couple of nails with a piece of barbed wire tied between the two so that the skull appears to be anchored to the wall to keep it from tilting over….maybe later….like tomorrow…or….never(?)

Here’s some close-ups. I really need to invest in a good quality camera  😦




See ya next time!



5 thoughts on “A Cowboy’s Tale – still life

  1. Love it, Marvelous Mark! The boots, the canteen, and the pouch – all came out soft and supple – touchable and real –

    The steer head needs some work – not sure wires would solve the problem – but, you do need to look at it with fresh eyes –

    Hold it in your hands – and prop it up – visually – it looks a bit weak – like it needs something behind it to balance it – some sharper lines to strengthen it – maybe – darker shading on the horns –

    Does that make sense to you? Just thinking out loud here – 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Duchess!
      Yes, I was looking at that after I got back from my walk. It needs “depth”, so what I’ll do is make the shadows a bit darker and also lighten some areas of the skull itself, in order to “bring it forward”.

      It also looks better in person as the camera from this iphone seems to create a reddish tinge to the image and I know it doesn’t have that. But I’m going to do some work on it probably tomorrow after I get some sleep and then I’ll see it with fresh eyes.

      Just glad you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Depth” – yes that is the correct word – “Darker Shadows” and “Lighter Contrast” – to “Bring it Forward” – Exactomundo!

        You did understand what I was trying to say in my tiredness! It is difficult to articulate what the eyes are seeing – but, you saw what I saw – that is amazing!

        Anticipating the depths of your enlightened revision – I am – 🙂

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