All About Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal drawing

A drawing technique that employs an implement of charred wood, charcoal drawing is a staple of any artist’s study. Charcoal drawings are a great way for any artist to practice gesture and how to zero in on big shapes without getting bogged down in detail. A charcoal artist is able to create great levels of gradation by merely varying the pressure of his or her fingers, and simply turning or rotating the implement can create a whole new kind of stroke on the surface of a work. As with many drawing media, charcoal responds strongly to the grain of the paper it is used on.

In this topic section, you’ll find links to lead you to the particular aspects of charcoal drawing that you need to research, as well as youtube drawing tutorials to help you along the way.

For more inspiration, follow Artist Daily’s Charcoal board on Pinterest.


Charcoal vs Graphite vs Conte

To the untrained eye, these media are interchangeable, but if you’re just starting out, it pays to know which will be best for you. The nuances that divide the dark drawing instruments are the same that offer them strength for different purposes. Find out more about the best drawing tools for you in Artists Network’s free guide.


What’s the best paper for charcoal drawing?

charcoal drawingBecause charcoal is a dry medium, you’ll need textured paper that will grab the charcoal and help it to stick. Look for paper with tooth – similar to the sort of paper you might need to paint with pastels.

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.