You’ve heard the saying “the right tool for the job,” especially when drawing with charcoal. While you can use any type of charcoal for any subject matter, some tools work better than others, depending on your goal.
For example, a stick of compressed charcoal is excellent for sketching because it produces clean lines quickly but doesn’t smudge as easily as a vine or white charcoal. If you’re looking for more control over your lines and want something similar to traditional pencils, white charcoal is your best bet—it also doesn’t smudge!
You can also check out the charcoal drawing guide from acrylgiessen.com to knowing about the color wheel after reading the below-mentioned Charcoal Drawing tips and Ideas:
1. Use the right type of charcoal
It’s essential to use the right type of charcoal. Charcoal is a product of the incomplete combustion of organic matter, typically wood. There are many different types, but they all have one thing in common: they’re made from carbon-containing materials such as tree branches, bark, or peat moss. Charcoal has been used for drawing and sketching since ancient times and remains an important medium today.
2. Know your tools before you start
Just as a painter needs to know the difference between brushes, a charcoal artist should understand the various types of charcoal and their uses. Charcoal comes in various types, including vine, compressed and vine-free.
Vines are made from willow tree branches and tend to be suitable for practicing shading techniques because they’re easy to hold onto and produce marks more quickly than other types of charcoal. Compressed charcoals are stronger than vines but generally not as easy to draw with because they have less give.
3. Sketch lightly in pencil and erase before applying charcoal
Before applying charcoal, you will want to sketch your image lightly in pencil. Using a soft, clean eraser is best for this step. Don’t press hard on the eraser when erasing your sketch; it should be as light as possible.
Once all of the pencil lines are erased, use soft strokes with a piece of paper towel or tissue to remove any smudges left over from the erasing process. Make sure to use a clean piece of paper towel every time you need to erase something—this will prevent smearing or tearing up other parts of your drawing with dirty clothes or towels.
Finally, once everything has been removed from your drawing surface (and not before), add some charcoal!
4. Keep a spray bottle of water nearby
Keep a spray bottle of water nearby. Even if you’re using a different medium, having a spray bottle handy is always helpful for controlling dust. If you make mistakes, it’s also great for cleaning up the area when you blend it with your brush or sponge.
5. Use a fan brush to blend
A fan brush is a painting tool that can blend charcoal and create smooth transitions between different tones. Blending charcoal is one of the essential parts of creating a realistic drawing. It can be done with a paper towel or napkin, but a fan brush provides better control and lets you blend quickly.
6. Consider using other types of charcoal
Charcoal drawing can be done in many different ways, and you will likely have to try a few out before deciding on your favorite. Consider using other types of charcoal, such as compressed charcoal, vine charcoal, and charcoal sticks.
All three are made from compressed wood that has been heated to remove moisture in them. Compressed charcoal is dark black with a soft texture, whereas vine or stick charcoals are slightly lighter in tone than compressed and tend to be more brittle.
7. Use a fixative to prevent smudging and fading
Fixative spray or liquid applied to charcoal drawings prevents smudging and fading. Fixative can be applied with a brush or spray bottle and should be used in a well-ventilated area. It should also be applied evenly, but not too much at once; fixative dries quickly, so there’s no need for thick coats!
Both charcoal and graphite can be fixed with spray bottles or brushes. But don’t forget: if you’re using charcoal, you’ll want to ensure your fixative isn’t water-based; otherwise, it could dissolve your drawing.
8. If a drawing is too dark, use white charcoal or chalk to lighten it up
You can use white charcoal or chalk to lighten your drawing. You can also use a soft brush to blend in the lighter areas or a fan brush for larger areas. You can also use a spray bottle of water to help blend in the more delicate areas if you want some variation in tone. If your piece is already dark and you’d like it darker, that’s okay! Just keep layering charcoal until you get what you want.
Burnishing can be used to smooth out rough spots or blend small areas smoothly. It is the process of rubbing a hard, smooth object over the surface of something to smooth it. In charcoal drawing, burnishing can be done with a piece of paper, a pencil eraser, or even a hard pencil.
Don’t forget to check these as well:
- Easy Charcoal Drawing Techniques and Ideas to try
- Artistic Charcoal Painting and Sketches for Beginners
So there you have it! These are some of the most effective charcoal drawing tips to help you start a charcoal drawing. We hope they help you!