Two drawings and playing with charcoal

Hey all, 

I've done these two lately, find it really hard at the moment to paint and I really miss it :/. But fortunately drawing is less messier and you can stop and begin at any time.
The woman's sketch is only pencil and the young man's face is done with pencil, white lead and charcoal.
Any tips on how to use charcoal and anything that would help create highlights on the paper?
Here's the drawings and I also made a Timelapse of the second one. I went too soon to add details without having my measurements correct and ended up erasing over and over the eyes. That made the whole drawing look overworked.
But was good fun anyway. 
Thx for stopping by!


  • These are really good, @Marinos_88. The second in particular is very strong and I like it a lot. I don't think it looks overworked. You added and subtracted until it was right. It has a lot of energy. I think it's a great drawing.  :)
  • dencaldencal -
    edited August 2021

    Any tips on how to use charcoal and anything that would help create highlights on the paper?

    Put powdered charcoal in a sock. Dark cloud the canvas, intensify darks, subtract lights with an eraser.
    Use alcohol spray if you want run and drip effects. Drawing on a coloured ground can make the lights pop, see below. Use a brush to blend or lighten charcoal. A chamois makes a good eraser.
    Great lights are possible with white chalk, white pastel or white charcoal. (Derwent XL Charcoal).
    I can get good results using packs of graduated white —grey— black pastels (Mungyo Soft Pastels).

    Drawing by K. Tonn


  • These are great drawings @Marinos_88 Been trying to learn charcoals myself and have followed Andrew Tischler and Miroslav the Pencil Guy on YouTube.  Tischler uses a toned gray paper, which really makes the highlights pop when using while charcoal.  What @dencal suggested also works great in getting highlights lighter.    
  • @Marinos_88
    Great drawing. The best to for adding light and white tonal tights is to start on a mid tone paper.
    Canson Mi-Teintes is what I draw on.

    The paper is the mid tone. The charcoal is the darks. The white conte is the lights. Never mix the lights with the darks. I also use the soft pastels shown above for quick gesture work.

    You need sometime that will allow you to be expensive.

    Again great drawings.
  • edited August 2021
    Good work @Marinos_88,

    I find it a nice change to switch medium and get into the drawing too.

    There is a good contrast of the darks and lights in the 2nd one that add to the intensity.

    Ive tended to use mainly graphite (pencil &/or powder) with some charcoal, I use the willow kind and the different tools/utensils I se are kneaded or putty eraser, an eraser pencil, cotton buds, blending stumps, fingers and thumbs.

    So far I have not got hold of anything that I can do whites with well, but I have tended to work on white paper and work with eraser to bring out the whiter areas.

    I will reiterate though I’m not mainly using charcoal, just partially,

    Its fun getting to know it though.

    Looking forward to seeing more.


  • @tassieguy , thx for your kind comments Rob!Through the creators eyes it always looks not so good :)

    @dencal , thanks for the tips Denis! That's why i used that yellowed old paper instead of pure white and i didnt even do it consciously.It's the toned paper that does the difference. That drawing is class, whos the artist? i looked him up ut couldnt find anything on the web.
    @A_Time_To_Paint thx for your kind comment! I watch Andrew on the youtube didnt know he was doing charcoal videos.
    @KingstonFineArt appreciate your kind comments. That paper seems expensive. I found a supplier in the UK, i'll give it a go!
    are these your drawings? If yes they are so well done, they look so efforless. Lovely!

    @MichaelD Thanks for your kind comments :). I've never used a blending stump, I used the ancient tool called finger to move the charcoal around :. Do they make a difference in blending compared to just using a cotton bud? Yeah, charcoal is fun to work with, the marks one can leave on the paper, are more expressive compared to a graphite penci!

  • Great drawings! I particularly like the second drawing with the nice darks and lights! I find that paper really makes such a HUGE difference with how my drawings turn out. Using a good quality charcoal paper helps a lot (but for just practice, I find you really can get quite a bit out of newsprint). I start all my charcoal drawings using a combo of vine charcoal and charcoal powder. I press fairly lightly so that it doesn't fill up the paper right at the beginning and gives me a chance to build up layers. Honestly, I find that for highlights, a kneadable eraser is my best friend. It is really an amazing tool.

    Really like what you did here though! Looking forward to seeing more :)
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