A commissioned piece for a client; a birthday present for her friend.
Both the horses are named Hershey.
The story of the two 'Hershey's is a fascinating tale of love, loss, and reunion.
Here is how the piece progressed.
First, I covered the entire surface with charcoal 'dust' from ground charcoal. Then, I lifted the general highlights out with a kneaded eraser, and laid in the general dark areas with vine charcoal.
Then I began laying in the general details in charcoal and lifting out more highlights with the eraser.
I developed the left side first, then the right, in order to prevent smudging. (I'm right-handed.)
Then I began to develop the right side.
After that, it was a process of push-pull; darken with charcoal, lift out the lights with the eraser. I used a paper stomp, but not to blend; rather, I used it to lift out light areas that were more subtle, where the eraser would be too drastic.
At this point, I began to develop the values in the background.
And finally, laying in the darkest darks and final adjustments of the background values.