How do you draw with charcoal?


Quick Answer

To draw with charcoal, select charcoal and paper, draw the darker tones of your subject, and spray the drawing with a fixative. Drawing with charcoal can be very expressive and realistic, because it blends so well.

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Full Answer

  1. Select the charcoal and paper

    There are various types and forms of charcoal, including willow, pencil, stick. Select whichever you prefer to work with. Select a paper with some tooth, such as charcoal or pastel paper. Paper with tooth holds charcoal much better than paper without tooth. Since drawing with charcoal can be a messy task, it is advisable to wear clothes you do not mind getting charcoal on.

  2. Draw, blend, and erase

    Note the light and dark areas of your subject. Leave light areas white as you fill in the dark areas. Use the most pointed side of the charcoal for smaller details and cover wide areas with the flattest side. Apply the charcoal with mild to moderate pressure, because charcoal crumbles easily. Use a rag, cotton, or a tortillon to blend the charcoal. Erase the charcoal with a kneaded or other soft eraser.

  3. Spray with fixative

    Spray your finished drawing evenly with a fixative, such as artist fixative or hairspray, from 1 to 2 feet away. Let the drawing dry and spray again for additional protection, since charcoal smudges so easily.

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