Introduction To Charcoal Pencil
Ideally we use an easel when using charcoal, try to find a space that allows you to work upright
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I’ve set up a still life with a dramatic lighting and a good range of value
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For beginning students, it is helpful to take a photo and switch it to black-and-white
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For this project I am using a kneaded eraser, pencil sharpener, stick eraser, and charcoal pencil
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Tear your kneaded eraser in to two pieces
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One part will be your “clean” eraser, use it for removing charcoal, clean by kneading
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The other part will be your blending tool (no fingers!), you want it to stay dirty, don’t knead it
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Charcoal pencil is difficult to erase, keep your preliminary drawing light and tentative
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Think of page as quadrants for accuracy of placement of shapes (remember all our gridwork?)
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Get the entire drawing laid in, with the goal of working general to specific
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Block in values using a rough textural mark
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Use your dirty kneaded eraser to move charcoal around the page and smooth your mark
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Move around the drawing developing it in layers, no one area gets overly finished at each stage
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More blocking in values with rough textural marks
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More smoothing with kneaded eraser
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Continue the process of drawing, erasing and drawing back in throughout your drawing
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As your drawing becomes more refined, use charcoal pencil and a stick eraser to sharpen shapes
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Until you reach your desired result
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Draw in the general shapes
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Smooth the shapes
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And draw some more
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Be sure to protect your drawing from your hands with smooth paper
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The stick eraser will work like a reductive pencil, and may create its own textural mark
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You can also smooth that with your dirty kneaded eraser
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Add any fine detail last, it will get obliterated if you attempt to put it in sooner
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Go back through and correct and smudging that may have occurred
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Darken up shadows and brighten highlights that may have lost contrast while you worked
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Always be aware of how sharp your pencil is, charcoal wears down quicker than graphite
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Compare your source image with your drawing to see if it’s complete
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Take your drawing outside and spray it with fixative, never use fixative indoors
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