Art Technical Q&A: Working With Powdered Charcoal

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on 10 Mar 2009 12:00 PM | Locked

I am about to start several medium-to-large (30"-x-40") charcoal drawings and want to use powdered charcoal. Do you have any recommendations for how to apply and use it?

You can apply powdered charcoal with blending tools such as cotton balls, bristle brushes, mop-style brushes, blending stumps, chamois cloths, Q-tips, or any other such material. For erasing charcoal powder, a kneaded eraser will take off some of the charcoal pigment, and a pink pearl or vinyl eraser removes most or all of the pigment in much the same way as it does with charcoal pencils or sticks. Another method of using powdered charcoal is to put some ordinary household rubbing alcohol on a cotton cloth and rub the cloth over the charcoal on the paper, which produces a lovely steel-gray tone. Because charcoal powder can spread into the air during applications, it is advisable to wear a mask when working with it over an extended period of time. Be practical and lay out only as much powder as you need to achieve the desired effect.

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