View Full Version : Charcoal

04-29-2003, 06:07 PM
Is anyone familiar with the medium? I have the supplies, but I'm scared to death when it comes to experimenting with them, as I've never used them before. Anything I should know? How similiar is it to drawing? How different is it?

04-29-2003, 07:31 PM
Look upsome techniques in an art book or online, and then start messin' about with 'em...

They're messy. Wear grubby clothing and keep some water and (disposable) towel nearby to get it off your fingers in a hurry if you need to answer a phone or something, and watch out that the dust doesn't get all over the place.You can create some very striking pieces with charcoal and pastels though.

And of course, every medium you practice in helps you improve in the other mediums that you use regularly, just by allowing you to look at your techniques in a new way.

Saturn Lad
04-29-2003, 08:02 PM
Yeah, just go get a huge tablet of newsprint and draw away. That way you won't be afraid of wasting expensive paper and you can go to town on it.

04-30-2003, 12:15 AM
When I started using charcoal, I just jumped right into it.

I use charcoal pencils, pretty heavy ones, and just use my fingers to blend everything around, then erase to create highlights.

Here's my first attempt with Charcoals. (http://meeksio.net/art/pictures/Kat.jpg)

...and my second (http://meeksio.net/art/pictures/My%20Muse%20(950x728).jpg)

...and my third (http://meeksio.net/art/pictures/Kat%203.jpg)

All were done with photo reference. I didn't really study any techniques or anything, and maybe I didn't really use the medium the way it was supposed to be used. I thought they turned out good, and she thought they turned out excellent (Which is what's really important).

So yeah, just jump in, start doing it, you'll get the hang of it easily. It's not that difficult of a medium to master. Then try using white and black charcoals on colored paper. Now that's hard!

04-30-2003, 08:48 PM
get a big ol pad of newsprint. Go nuts on it. The best way to get familiar with a medium is to make as many mistakes with it as possible... that's how you learn to exploit a medium's strengths.

don't worry about doing bad drawings... it really bothers me when people hold back, because they are insecure about what the work will look like. We all have a ton of HORRIBLE drawings... we need to get those out of the way, so we can get on to the good ones :D

there are no rules in art... so don't lock yourself into any

most importantly... HAVE FUN


05-02-2003, 12:47 AM
Thanks for all the advice. I guess the gist of it would be to jump in, so I'll give that a try. I'm not usually the type to go freestyle, but hopefully that could be the point of me exploring the medium.

PS- Pixelated_Pope, I like your work. It really shows the flexibility of charcoal.

Tony Moore
05-02-2003, 02:51 AM
the points they've given you are all very good.
just dive in. Charcoal is especially nice because you can build up a string range of values very quickly, even on a large surface.

You WILL get dirty, so go on and resign yourself to that fact, and forget about it. Just draw.

Also, vine charcoal is best for laying out drawings and doing light shading because it's very wispy and doesn't tend to stick to the surface very well. pencils are best for precise linework, and compressed charcoal is best for general use because the black is stronger and clings better to the surface of the paper.


Devil Man 666
05-08-2003, 12:09 PM
Yes, indeedly doo!! :D Those are good, I especially like the second one. Once you master/get used to charcoal, airbrushing should be easy to grasp. :cool:

05-10-2003, 03:05 AM
A cool technique I've used (and it has some neat effects) is as follows:

Get some good soft charcoal. Use the edge to lay down and coat the front of the paper. Use charcoal paper, too. It's a bit more expensive but it holds the charcoal so much better. After coating the front (coat it so it's a medium dark grey - NOT solid black) then take a tissue and smooth it out. Then, take a charcoal eraser (the gray blobby stuff) and then take AWAY the white areas you want in your drawing. Take away a lot of the charcoal in the places you want white. You can always add more blacks in later. Then, go back in and use the charcoal to deepen the blacks and you can use a smudge stick for the details. If you do it right, it can be a neat effect. Hopefully what I've said makes sense. I'll try to scan a sample of a peice I did this way. You can end up with some really dramatic greys this way.