Charcoal Drawings

Charcoal drawings give a beautiful soft effect to sketches. Mentioned in this article are charcoal sketching tips and tricks, which will help beginners to get started with charcoal drawing.
Simple charcoal drawings are easy to create and with a little practice you can do better sketches. However, when it comes to creating detailed realistic looking charcoal drawings, a lot of practice and study of anatomy, proportions, and lighting is required. Charcoal drawing differentiates itself from other techniques of drawing like pencil drawing, brush work or pen shading, because charcoal helps to create a soft feeling in the sketches, without much effort. So, even beginners, by learning of drawing basics, can create soft looking landscapes, portraits or still life. Here are more charcoal drawing ideas, which will help you to get started.

The first thing you need to do is gather the necessary supplies. If you are a total beginner, then instead of investing in buying an expensive all-in-one charcoal drawing kit, just buy few basic charcoal drawing supplies, to first get the feel of drawing with charcoal.

Primary charcoal drawing tools are paper and charcoal sticks. However, as you follow the advanced drawing lesson in charcoal shading, you will also need other tools for charcoal drawing, and different varieties of charcoal sticks and papers. To get started on charcoal drawing, get a thick sheet of paper and a compressed charcoal, which is a charcoal pencil that looks like a graphite pencil, but gives a charcoal effect.

Then with these charcoal drawing supplies, start drawing on a thick sheet of drawing paper. You can make rounds, or draw strokes, or draw a simple sphere and try shading it. This is the basic feel of charcoal drawing. Practice this way, for few days. Then you need to invest in some other supplies to get better effect. There are basically two kinds of charcoal drawing techniques and they both require different supplies.

Here are some of the charcoal drawing tools described. First comes, willow charcoal, which is vine uncompressed charcoal, which gives a very soft effect, but needs to be handled with care, as it crumbles fast. Then there are different kinds of paper, thick textured paper works best. Then there is charcoal pencils, which are compressed charcoal. Erasers like normal plastic erasers, kneadable erasers, etc. are used. Small pieces of paper towels are also used for rubbing vine charcoal drawings. Blending stumps also known as tortillion, also helps to add minute details. Here are sketching tips and tricks, that will help you learn two techniques of charcoal drawing.

Drawing Tips on Basics
So, once you have gathered all the tools, there are two main techniques which you can explore for drawing with charcoal. If you are good with pencil drawing and shading, then using the charcoal pencils for drawing is a good way to get started. However, if you want to draw the very dark drawings, then go with the charcoal drawing tips for the second technique.

For the first technique, simply on a thick sheet of drawing paper. Make basic guidelines with a light pencil. Then use charcoal pencil to draw over these outlines. Then observe the subject, and figure out the dark tones, mid tones, dark tones, shadows and highlights on the subject. Then start changing the pressure with the charcoal pencil, and make these tones on the sketch. If you think the drawing has become messy, or too dark, then use eraser to pick up the charcoal to make the drawing lighter. To create highlights you can use the fine tip of an eraser.

The second charcoal drawing technique involves using a thick sheet of textured paper, use these sketching tips to experiment with this technique. This paper on one side is completely covered with the charcoal. Then to get the form in this dark charcoal, different charcoal drawing tools are used. Then in this black patch, block the form of object you want to draw with a paper towel, by making the background lighter. Then to add mid tones, use a kneadable eraser. Then to add highlights use a sharp normal eraser. This technique helps to create hazy velvety looking drawings.

Once you have finished your drawing, you will need to use a spray fixative over the drawings. As charcoal drawings don't have a long life, so use a spray fixative to preserve your charcoal sketches. Good luck!
By Pragya T
Published: 11/10/2010
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