Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal drawing allows many artists to express themselves in new and exciting ways. Artists like SN believe that art is made to help fill the heart while pleasing the eye. SN uses mixed media, canvas, oil paints, charcoal, and dried butterflies for his art. With such beautiful art pieces, it is only fitting that this post explains everything you need to know about charcoal drawing.

What Is Charcoal Drawing?

Charred sticks of wood are used to make art pieces, which is what charcoal drawing is. One of the biggest reasons people use charcoal is that it can be easily smudged or erased. Many artists have used it for large projects like murals on walls or outlines on their canvas. Also, many artists use charcoal to help them plan out smaller drawings before using more permanent media like oil paints.

Is Charcoal Drawing Difficult?

Charcoal is often found in introductory drawing classes for many reasons. The charcoal itself can be forgiving and challenging, making it perfect for artists to practice their drawing skills. Also, a charcoal set has been manufactured in various densities, so artists will have different pieces of wood to create the image they want.

What Is Special About Charcoal Drawing?

There are many reasons why charcoal drawing is unique, but these are five of the top reasons:

  1. It is an ancient practice. Charcoal has been used to draw for thousands of years in caves and on paper worldwide. Even to this day, these drawings have been preserved and are still admired by people. Many people enjoy being a part of that because they feel a strong connection to our late ancestors.
  2. The materials are natural and are safe for our health and the environment. Many artists, like SN, use charcoal to create their beautiful pieces of art. However, they do not need to worry about it being harmful to the environment or themselves because it comes from the branches of willow trees or grapevines.
  3. Charcoal is affordable. A lot of people can afford charcoal because it is so inexpensive. Since it is regarded as ‘basic’ material, people can pick it up easily. Also, people will only need a kneaded eraser and a knife to sharpen their charcoal, and that is it. When it comes to materials – charcoal artists do not have to spend as much as others.
  4. Learn how tonal values come across in art. Charcoal is the perfect material for artists to learn how light and dark something needs to be on paper. Learning tonal values is essential for art because it can make any drawing look completely realistic.
  5. The versatility is endless with charcoal. The work that comes from artists like SN is entirely different from other artists. This is because charcoal is versatile and allows people to create the artwork that they want to share without holding them down to specific rules and constraints.

Charcoal Drawing Techniques

There are many techniques that professionals use when they begin their charcoal drawing. Below are some of the top tips for anyone who wants to draw with charcoal:

  1. Do not go too dark. Many beginners will apply too much pressure when using charcoal, which will leave marks that cannot be erased or easily softened. Practice gradation so you know how much pressure you want to put on when using charcoal.
  2. Experiment with materials. There are many different types of charcoal, from compressed to vine to pencil; every artist should familiarize themselves with the other tools. Also, there are different erasers that you can use to help you get a different result with your drawing. Moreover, you will want to think about the different kinds of paper that you can use for your charcoal drawings.
  3. Have time away. Many new artists struggle to understand the subtle gradations that charcoal brings to the table. However, this can also happen because people are not taking time away from their art. You must take a minute away from your artwork to come back and see the fine details in a new light.
  4. Keep the paper clean. The charcoal will get everywhere, making it easy for unwanted smudges to form on the paper. Instead, have a pinky resting on the paper while you work, making you less likely to smudge anything onto your paper.

How Do You Start a Charcoal Drawing?

It is easy for anyone to start working with charcoal, but there are always some important pointers that people should be aware of. The first thing you’ll need to think about is your materials. You will need:

  • Paper to draw on
  • A charcoal pencil
  • Vine charcoal
  • Charcoal sticks
  • Chamois
  • A kneaded eraser

After purchasing your materials, take time out and use all three of the charcoal forms. It is essential to take this time to figure out how each one looks when drawing with it because sometimes, people will use more than one when they are creating their art. Next, learn how to hold the charcoal. Every artist should remember that charcoal will get darker on the paper if you add more pressure.

Lastly, get some guidance. There are many videos, articles, and classes where people can learn about charcoal and how to draw with it. Every artist needed to practice and learn from someone else.


Charcoal artwork is beautiful, powerful, and intriguing for everyone that sees it. That is why artists like SN will continue to work with it to create beautiful pieces that speak to the heart and eyes of the viewer. If you want to start your charcoal journey, then grab the materials, and get ready to learn.

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