Charcoal is one of my personal favorite media. I -adore- intense shadows and lots of contrast, and charcoal gives me that and a double benefit of feeling so very satisfied when my hands are all messy and I have marks on my arms and face.
Currently working on another Celty piece, which combines charcoal, sharpie and pencil. Her shadows are so much fun <3
Yeah, one of the problems with charcoal is that if you want really clean white, pretty much any mark you make is a commitment. I find, though, that you pair it with a kneadable eraser and smudging tool, and use large paper (this one is 14 inches long and that's the smallest I go for this medium) you can create some really lovely textures and gradients. And I noticed from your photography that you have a good eye for light and shadow!
^.^ Thank you. It's not hard for me with Photography. Especially black and white. With drawing though i'm very indecisive with my marks. So I sketch, and i'm afraid to press down too hard(even with charcoal) for fear that i'll fuck up the line and not be able to erase it.
I've never seen Durarara!!, so I can't make any comments on this based on that, but I can say that I really like the smoky effect with the...wings? is that what those are? I also like the...ah...ambiguity (is that the right word?) of this picture--that is, how one minute it seems like you're looking at the front of the character, but the next you realize you could be looking at the character's backside. (At least, that's how I saw it.) In any case, really nice.
Yeah I really like the magicalness of your smoke and power of your rendering. It has a cool vibe and strong rendering of her (really built up realistically, though it also has some more minimalistic feelings--the power of a single stroke outlining the cat ears part of the helmet...)