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Updated by Joanna James on Apr 23, 2022
Headline for 5 Expert Tips for Charcoal Drawing – Express your vision through ash
Joanna James Joanna James
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5 Expert Tips for Charcoal Drawing – Express your vision through ash

When it comes to exploring an idea in black and white, one of the best mediums to use is the simple approach of putting charcoal to paper. This allows for an artist to create broad strokes while also ensuring that the depth and emotion in the painting is never overlooked.


Find the core essence in the painting

One of the most basic ideas that many artists struggle with is to find the core of the idea they are trying to communicate in their art. The best way to describe this would be to simply reiterate that the main idea should be the main idea.

When using charcoal as your main utensil during the artistic process, the fundamentals of art never change. As you begin your creative process, the first thing to establish is what you are going to draw about. It could be an abstraction on the process of government or simply a sketch of a still life item. However, once the main idea is settled the rest of the artwork will fall into place.

There are many Sri Lanka artists who have successfully achieved this and are now apart of the Sri Lanka Art Gallery.


Understand the importance of Value

What this refers is not necessarily your core values but the kind of tones and shadows that you want to implement into your artwork. For example, it would be very easy to keep it basic and simple focus on the dark and light tones. However, the reality is that life is never so black and white, therefore in order for your artwork to be balanced, there needs to be a consideration that is taken in terms of the midtones or 'halftones' as well.

One of the best ways to guide yourself through this process is to work from the middle out and coordinate your lights and darks. This way your accents and highlights will have significantly more balance and compliment the artwork overall.


Take some time to squint

Sometimes have perfect vision is overrated. This is because the eyes are always focussed on getting sharpness and clarity into whatever we look at. However, when it comes to creating an artwork, the reality is that there needs to be a bit more simplification of the 'seeing' process to be able to construct an accurate artwork.

Squinting will help your identity the core colours of an object as well as the placement of the colours on the object in a simplified manner.


Use lines with care

There is no harm in charcoal art with trying to mix in some thin and thick lines. The reality is that many artists will tend to overlooked the value that this simple technique can bring.


Get an eraser

The reality is that there are going to be instances where a simple rub of an eraser can help you elevate your artwork. It is flexible, easy to use and extremely compatible with charcoal making it an artist's best friend!

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

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