Charcoal Drawing Techniques

Capture Your First Images

Charcoal drawing is basically using that often dirty black stuff you use to make marks on a piece of paper. It is a charred stick of wood which can be soft (willow wood is soft) or pretty hard. It can be quite enchanting to create a drawing in a deep, rich velvety black line—or a mass of black tones to create a lovely visual image of just about anything!

You can smooth out your charcoal from black to white without showing any lines.

Most charcoals smudge very easily but as a medium for drawing preliminary outlines for a finished painting, it works well as it is easy to rub out. It is used primary for quick rough sketches where the artist can draw freely with bold movements and where changes can be made immediately.

Charcoal is available from very soft to hard but my advice is to use a medium-soft to the softest one you can find.

There are many drawing techniques to consider after you have selected a suitable range of charcoal. It is essential to choose a paper with a roughish surface—definitely not smooth. Charcoal paper comes in a variety of textures and colors. Choose a roughish paper but not white or too dark—get one with a medium tone/value. At an early stage, try and not use compressed charcoal or carbon pencil, they are more difficult to smudge or rub out.

The next item is a kneaded eraser where you can shape them to rub out specific areas and add a rubber eraser to take all your lines off your paper if needed.

As you get the "feel" of charcoal you will get to love it and perhaps even use it as your main medium?


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