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Charcoal Art

© by Carl (CAKUart); all rights reserved

Charcoal art is rich and earthy. Using charcoal is great for expressive sketching. The only real set back with using charcoal is that it smudges quite easy...so it pays to use a fixative. A fixative is kind of like a hair spray. 


A little spray of fixative now and then on the finished areas, helps to keep the artwork free from messy smudges. I also give my charcoal sketches a good going over with fixative on completion of the drawing. 

So what is charcoal? What is this strange yet natural art application material anyway?

Charcoal is the carbon residue left over from the heated (dehydrated and scorched) remains of animal and vegetation matter.

"Char" essentially means to scorch until reduced to carbon. So as a result it becomes a porous chemical ash that resembles coal. This is the reason why they threw "coal" in as a second syllable to make the word charcoal.

Charcoal Art
"Girl Clutching Her Knees"
Original art by Carl (CAKUart)

I tend to use charcoal as my base sketching tool on a lot of my paintings because it is fantastic for drawing nice lines. In fact, I liken it to drawing with cotton wool. I know that may sound like a strange way of describing it, but charcoal really has a soft versatility to it. 

Using charcoal on its own is excellent for developing deep tones, volume, depth and realistic light. 

If you've ever seen a quality charcoal drawing hung on a wall, then you'll agree with me when I say that it is truly "attention grabbing" art. 

Charcoal paintings or sketches have a very decorative appeal as they are neutral; no colour. It is an art form that can really bring rich organic simplicity to a room.

Lady of grace
"Lady of Grace"
Original charcoal art by Carl (CAKUart)

I favour "figurative" subjects if I am solely drawing with charcoal. It is an excellent medium for getting facial and body definition along with tone. 

Feel free to watch my video below. Here you will see me sketching three different charcoal drawings.

Press "PLAY" to watch me sketching with charcoal

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