5 reasons why I love charcoal drawings

Not to long ago, I was curious enough to start using charcoal for sketching. The regular graphite pencil can never yield the darker shades of black like charcoal pencils. Today I’m sharing the first charcoal drawing that I tried. It’s a very simple one-tone drawing, probably took about an hour to finish.  

The reasons why I love using charcoal pencils for my drawing.

  • The history – Knowing that this could be one of the tools used for pre-historic cave drawing is fun. In my past experiences, graphite pencils have resulted in shiny finish upon layering for darker shades. I was ready to move on and graduate to using charcoal.
  • The look-and-feel – of the drawing is completely different. Using charcoal or charcoal pencils are like liquid pencils, creating paint-like sketching.  It is more spontaneous and natural.
  • Depth- As a self-taught artist, using charcoal has made my drawings more realistic. The depth and texture it creates with rich black tones makes it the mother-of-all pencil sketching mediums.
  • The technique – I like to mix and match graphite and charcoal together. Charcoal can produce bold contour drawings as well as volume drawings. Some of the examples are mountains, wood, bark of trees, shadow, hair or fur and so on.
  • The mess – I have to admit, using charcoal can be messy, but it make me feel like a real artist when she finishes her master piece and watches it with a messy had and streaks of paint on her face and hair. 😉 As a beginner, I try to stick to charcoal pencils for more controlled strokes.  Also be wary of the smudge during and after the drawing is finished. Use a spray fixative or a cling wrap for quick fix!

Couple evening

Graphite Fashion sketches

The ones below are some fashion sketches where I used graphite pencils. Practicing to sketch figure and facial expression. Fashion sketching turned out to be harder than I imagined, considering the time constraints to finish it. I enjoyed drawing various eras of hats and hair styles.

Hats and hair


Also check out the other post on charcoal sketching from a photo –  Yosemite.


31 thoughts on “5 reasons why I love charcoal drawings

  1. Welcome to Sunday Sketches and thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on charcoal. I have some pencils as such but have to attempt doing something at some point. Right now, I’m enjoying teaching myself watercolour. Happy SS! 🙂

  2. Love the charcoal, makes me think I might get a piece and try it too. Add it to my repertoire. I especially like the the fashion sketches. It reminds me of the sketches I used to do in highschool when I was bored. Nice to remember that.
    Jenn @ JustAddWaterSilly.com, hopping from Sunday Sketches

  3. What a lovely art style you have!! I love using charcoal too, when I did a post on all the comments from other artists were that they don’t really like using it which I can’t understand at all. Great work, thanks for shairng 🙂

  4. beautiful work, charcoal is messy, I have trouble keeping my paper clean, I know there are ways to do this but I get absorbed in my work and forget, you have mastered people for sure,

  5. Really love your first charcoal sketch… I love using it and have used it for so long… think charcoal was what really got me started actually… always feel better with smudgy fingers and a mess on the desk… happy Sunday Sketches…xx

  6. Pingback: Sometimes a Picture is Just a Picture « Once A Little Girl

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