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Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal drawing means the use of charcoal for making drawings or paintings. Charcoal is the blackish residue which can be obtained by removing water and other unstable elements from animals and vegetations. It is usually produced by burning wood in the absence of oxygen. The final residue resembles coal and also contains substantial amount of carbon. Charcoal drawing has been in practice since prehistoric times.

Aspects of Charcoal Drawing

The origin of the first part of the word charcoal is unknown but the word “coal” was first used in English to signify charcoal. Charcoal produces an intense and very dark velvety black line which can be easily smudged or smeared. However, charcoal is a very fragile medium of drawing as its hold on the fibers of the support are very shaky. But despite this fact, there are many painters who use charcoal as the base of drawing in any other medium. Usually charcoal “float” away from the grooves of canvas, allowing the artist to freely draw and make changes if needed. One of the most important aspects of charcoal drawing is that it should be covered with a fixative to prevent its shine.

The two most generally used woods for charcoal drawing are willow and wine.

Famous Charcoal Drawing

There are many painters who have made excellent charcoal drawings. Some of the remarkable painters and their works are Tahitian Woman by Paul Gaugin, Silent Song by Charles White, Man with Load by Robert Blackburn, Sleeping Elephant by Antoine Louis Barye, Man in Turban by Thomas Eakins among many others.

Technique of Charcoal Drawing

Charcoal drawing should initially be done with medium sized charcoal because it is much easier to use and is more effective. In order to rub off any part of the drawing, you can simply use your finger or a wading tissue. There are different kinds of pencils which can be used to make charcoal drawings like charcoal sticks, compressed charcoal and charcoal pencils. There are several steps of toning, shading, highlighting, merging, etc. which are involved in a charcoal drawing. It is also very important to choose the right kind of paper. Nowadays, many books are available in the markets which provide helpful tips to users about charcoal drawing.

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