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How to Draw With Charcoal

How to Draw With Charcoal

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Published by: maynotbe on Dec 21, 2012
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How to Draw
Cindy Wider
Author of:
Draw and Paint in Your Pyjamas! 
Medium: Charcoal on grey Mi Teintes paper
In this lesson you will be taught four populartechniques for drawing with charcoal. Once youhave completed this you might consider the lessonon ‘How To Draw Curly Hair’ or enroll into the unitfour portrait unit where you will learn another 8charcoal techniques among many other wonderfulthings.
This lesson is divided into the following five sections:
Introduction to charcoal
Willow charcoal and charcoal pencils
Charcoal papers
Fixing your image after completion
Prepare your paper for drawing with charcoal
1. Cover medium sized areas with willow charcoal
2. Draw fine lines with willow charcoal
3. Draw fine lines with charcoal pencil
4. Experiment with erasing techniquesThis project is recommended for artists age 14 and up, as well as studentsof home schooling, academic, and recreational fine-art educators.
Published by Drawspace.com, Halifax, NS, Canada – August, 2010
Copyright to all articles images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this course belong to StuartCindy Art and may not bereproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of StuartCindy Art.Email info@paintpj.com Web site http://www.paintpj.com
HBCharcoal Pencil(for fine lines)
White charcoal pencil
SeveralWillow charcoal sticks preferably 6mm and 9mm in diameter
 Automatic or click eraseror normalplastic eraserandcraft knifeto cut into a thin slither or chisel shape
 Putty Eraser (or kneaded eraser) 
 Pencil Sharpenerto sharpen the charcoal pencils (optional extra; you could considerbuying a special charcoal or pastel pencil sharpener.)
Medium to coarse sandpaper 80 grit (to prepare your willow charcoal)
Special Paper:Canson Mi-Teintes Drawing Paper– light grey; suggest Flannel Gray(colour 122)
Soft, cleanwater colour brush(I recommend the 3/4" size) or a new and clean make-upbrush for gently removing eraser particles
Can offixativeis optional to spray your charcoal drawing afterwards
Non-greasy baking paper to place under your hand while you work and protect the imagefrom smudging. This is optional but recommended.
Glassine sheets (special paper purchased from an art supply store which prevent yourwork from smudging.) This is optional.
Charcoal has been used in various forms by artists for centuries and is one of the oldest drawingmaterials.The Charcoal that artists use these days is made from willow, a plant that grows in long rods upto seven feet high. Willow is grown in plantations and harvested every year in winter. Thewillow is cut into long lengths, bundled up and boiled in water. It is cleaned, dried in open airthen sawn to the right length before being placed in metal boxes, filled with sand and lids placedon. The sticks are then fired at a very high temperature in a kiln for several hours before beingleft to cool. The entire process takes about three days. Finally the sticks are packaged and sentoff to stores.
During this lesson we will be using charcoal that has been prepared by the manufacturer in twodifferent ways; willow charcoal sticks and charcoal pencils. Charcoal pencils are quite difficult toerase. We will mostly be using these for fine details or after an initial under-drawing with thewillow charcoal stick.
Copyright to all articles images, text, projects, lessons and exercises within this course belong to StuartCindy Art and may not bereproduced or used for any commercial purposes whatsoever without the written permission of StuartCindy Art.Email info@paintpj.com Web site http://www.paintpj.com
There are two sizes of willow charcoal that we will be using in this lesson; medium (9mm indiameter) and thin (6mm in diameter.) Providing you don’t press too hard, willow charcoal willwipe off your paper almost like chalk off a blackboard. Just a fine line will be left behind. Oftencalled a ‘Ghost line,’ this remaining fine line that cannot be removed becomes an expressivepart of your drawing.You will be shown how to prepare your willow charcoal so that you can achieve either very finelines or cover large areas.
Charcoal is a wonderful sensitive drawing medium; your results will be greatly influenced by howyou hold the charcoal. Hold the charcoal softly in your hand for fine results and smile while youwork to relax your shoulders and entire upper torso. To help prevent your charcoal fromsmudging you can place a small sheet of non-greasy baking paper under your hand but makesure you always peel back and lift it off – never drag it across the surface or it will smudge.
The type of paper you choose for charcoal drawing is a vitally important part of the process ofdrawing with charcoal. Charcoal cannot adhere to a glossy or shiny surface. The paper needs tohave a little bit of texture, or ‘tooth.’ There are many different papers on the market which youcan use, with a variety of colours. A popular paper used by artists is; Canson Mi-Teintes paper.This paper which has a 65% rag content is very strong. It is especially designed to allowrepeated reworking so it is ideal for charcoal work.One side of this paper is smooth and the other is quite textured; both sides give different effects.When we use a mid-toned grey paper, the colour of the paper provides the middle values in yourartwork. It gives your drawing a fresh appearance if we leave the paper untouched in thoseareas then add white charcoal or white conté into the center of those areas as a finishing touch.Your choice of paper is really just a matter of personal preference, providing you choose a paperwith some tooth. Watercolour papers are also great to use. You can use white paper withcharcoal, however for the purpose of this lesson your will need to use light grey paper with alittle tooth.
Charcoal images are very delicate as the particles can easily fall off the surface of the paper. Toprotect your image from smudging with a swipe of your finger, you can spray your artwork with a‘Fixative.’ There are some very good spray fixatives available on the market today. Whensprayed your image usually dries very similar to before you sprayed, or it may go a little darker.Always test a small sample whenever using any new product to see the effect before using it onan important artwork. Spraying your charcoal drawings still does not completely protect yourwork but just makes it a little less likely to smudge.You can further protect your artwork from smudging by placing a sheet of glassine over the top.This is a shiny paper that can be purchased in many good art supply stores.

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