Charcoal drawing

A charcoal drawing first appeared in paintings of the ancient caves. During the Renaissance, the use of charcoal to create sketches and preparations for works of art stood out. It was not until the end of the 15th century that methods for fixing charcoal drawings were developed, which without fixation are smeared and erased over time. The charcoal drawing has a very dramatic character, can range from subtle shades of gray to strong and deep black. It is recommended to get to know and experiment with the different techniques

Charcoal drawing

Facts and properties of charcoal for drawing

  • Natural drawing charcoal is made from charred vine or willow branches and has a dark, black, powdery, delicate, crisp and fragile substance. It burns in a place without air and thus is more uniform and strong. Synthetic charcoal is a charcoal powder that is compressed with a bonding material. he Blacker and more oily than natural charcoal, comes in varying degrees of difficulty and usually in the form of a roller stick or charcoal pencil.
  • Charcoal drawings can be made on almost any type of surface, smooth or rough. The drawing tends to smear, get dirty and erase if not fixed using a special substance called fixative.
  • Charcoal drawings can be combined with graphite or chalk pencil drawings.

Emotional dimension and personal expression that allows registration in charcoal

Any touch of charcoal on white paper has a presence that conveys a dramatic feel. Coal ranges from an emotional and expressive expression to dirt and a sense of chaos. Along with a sense of freedom, sensual pleasure and a sense of control over chaos, working with charcoal can also raise feelings of anxiety, guilt and fear of getting dirty.

By working with charcoal you can process feelings of anger and pain. Charcoal has a very wide black-gray range, which expands and flexes the range of emotions.

Charcoal allows for stratified work and thus deeper emotional work. Through the creation of grids in the upper layers, a sense of depth is created in the painting, and it is possible to observe through them inner and deeper layers.

A charcoal eraser can be used that illuminates places laden with charcoal. You can also use a dry cloth that wipes everything and thus opens the process again. The range of possibilities in working with charcoal expands the capacity for flexibility and deepening, and allows for relaxation and release.

Charcoal drawing - equipment and related materials

  • Drawing paper Newsprint, black Bristols and thick drawing papers.
  • Registration board או Yes registration - Depending on your preferred way of working; Yes desktop registration or yes standing for standing registration. Outdoor, nature or urban registration; A drawing board resting on the arm, or a drawing in a hardcover drawing pad.
  • Clear - When working with charcoal it is recommended to use a charcoal eraser for lightening and building The light and the shadow In the registry. A regular eraser is not effective as it will not erase the charcoal but will only smear it.
  • sharpener - Sharpener with strong metal that does not break the pencil, with a large hole diameter for charcoal pencils.
  • Coal diffuser Blurring and smearing charcoal for a uniform texture, gradual color transitions and entry into subtleties in the small details.
  • Soft pastel colors - When working with charcoal, you can combine soft pastel colors and pit pencils, to add white color and a richer color range in the drawing.
  • Fixed - In the transition to additional layers and at the end of the work with coal, it is essential to spray on the fixative registration for fixing the powdered coal.

Tips and advice for the process of working with charcoal

  • The charcoal can be easily spread by coarse application or using a charcoal spreader to achieve subtle details. You can work with the coal in a line or stain; At or near the end of the coal. You can shake the charcoal powder by exhaling, or using a dry cloth. 

  • A charcoal pencil does not get your hands dirty, suitable for smaller drawings in charcoal, or for precision in small details, such as an eye, which is difficult to do with regular charcoal. It is recommended to combine charcoal sticks and a charcoal pencil in the drawing.

  • There is a tendency to use charcoal blurring with the fingers, but it is recommended to stay in the use of charcoal sprinklers, this is because the skin tissue has an accumulation of fat that can create stains on the painting. Another option is to fix using fixative and continue with additional layers. At the same time, working with your fingertips enhances the experience of sensuality and pleasure in drawing with charcoal.

  • In an initial acquaintance with coal, it is worthwhile to experiment with it; Apply the charcoal in different directions, in different movements and apply different pressure on it.

  • If you want to make a drawing before painting it is better to use natural charcoal because it comes off more easily and is less visible than the synthetic charcoal which is blacker, dirtier and greasy.

Watch an exercise on the proportions of the human head with charcoal 5:14

Registration studies at the Cherkov Studio in Givatayim - you are welcome to join:

Art workshops in a personal track - Painting, sculpture and drawing studies under the guidance of Alexander Cherkov for adults and young people, beginners and advanced. The studies are in a group setting with guidance and personal treatment for each participant.

Art workshops for children - Painting, sculpture and drawing studies under the guidance of Sophie Cherkov for children of primary school age, beginners and advanced. The studies in small groups with guidance and personal treatment for each participant.

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