Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
Tutorial:drawing with charcoal by Cynthia-Blair Tutorial:drawing with charcoal by Cynthia-Blair
for those of you who are interested in seeing how I draw a male portrait in charcoal, step for step.
(this one is Alex Suarez, who I drew recently) sorry I didn't have the room to get into detail about how I handle certain things like (eyes, lips, noses, beards, stubble, winkles, etc.) there wasn't enough room in this one.

this is my first tutorial, so forgive me if the gray background is not consistent (as it should be). If you have any questions at all, ask away. I'll be happy to help.

download size is the best for viewing
Add a Comment:
 
:iconjane-beata:
jane-beata Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Hello :)

Your work has been FEATURED in an article Artist's Toolbox: Pencil, Graphite & Charcoal. Thank you for sharing it with all of us :heart:

:iconprojecteducate:

:frail:
Reply
:iconnovvaik:
Novvaik Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I did not no you did tutorials...
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Feb 7, 2013   General Artist
Your wonderful tutorial has been featured here
Consider giving the article a :+fav: :heart:
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
I did! Thanks for featuring it! :hug:
Reply
:iconastrikos:
Astrikos Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2013   General Artist
My pleasure!
Reply
:iconjpshepard:
JPShepard Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2011
sweet pic!
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2011  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks! yeah, he's such a nice guy, too. :D
Reply
:iconhapuka:
Hapuka Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great tutorial, although I have few questions. Do you recommend using fixative after going over the image with white charcoal? Also if you want to black out the background at what stage of drawing the image would you do so?

Thanks =D
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I use fixative before I add the white, and very carefully afterward. I usually end up adding some more white after fixing it, because the whites tend to turn transparent.

If I were blacking out the entire background (like the ref photo) I'd do it near the end, and I'd possibly use black gouache or maybe even black acrylic. I know using the gousche, you can draw very soft black charcoal over it and create some great subtle black on black texture. You can probably do this with liquid acrylic, too. I suppose you could use charcoal to black out the background, I just happen to like a variety of textures in a piece. And I'd want the black to drop out, as it's not the focal point.
Reply
:iconhapuka:
Hapuka Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2010  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for your reply, I was working on a piece while I was asking the questions.
I ended up finishing the piece and the white did go a bit transparent, fortunately for me it was a light coat. =D

Nice tutorial and tips!
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Thanks!! anytime :)
Reply
:iconsqueaky-fish:
Squeaky-fish Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
do you know of any good tutorial for dolls? whenever i draw them they look bad XD
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
did you search tutorials? I've never drawn dolls, but same rules apply as people (or anything else), using light and shadow to shape the form. Simpler, actually...because the texture isn't skin...but of course it depends on what the doll is :)
Reply
:iconsqueaky-fish:
Squeaky-fish Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2010
yeah i searched

i'm better at drawing people than dolls, i think it is because they are too flat and smooth. i just tried it in colour, did a better job with that than normal pencil.
Reply
:iconmatrixie:
matrixie Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2010
That's amazing! How do you get the skin texture? My charcoal drawings always look flat, not realistic at all.
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
Skin texture is fairly easy with someone young...mainly I do alot of smudging with my fingers (so much easier than graphite in that respect). To model the form, I basically build up with charcoal and/or remove with kneaded eraser til I get what I want from it. So look carefully at your values, where the lightest lights are, the darkest darks, and all the gray values in-between. if they are correct and edges are soft where they should be, transition areas shaded correctly, it should look right. Remember most edges are soft, not sharp.

I have a tendency to over-contrast my sharp edges and values, and I often have to correct that. :)
Reply
:iconmatrixie:
matrixie Featured By Owner Apr 26, 2010
Thank you so much for the tips :D
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
I hope they help :)
Reply
:iconferchas-is-love:
ferchas-is-love Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2010  Student General Artist
O: you are amazing!
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
hey, I hope it helps...you can always ask me questions anytime. I know I should do more tuts :) one of these days when I'm not so busy :)
Reply
:iconferchas-is-love:
ferchas-is-love Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2010  Student General Artist
aww thanks a lot!! you are awesomely skilled D: i wanna be like u when i grow up!!xD
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2010  Professional Traditional Artist
just keep practicing and you'll be better than me, and with your own distinctive style! :hug: honestly, it's all about practice, practice, practice. :)
Reply
:iconferchas-is-love:
ferchas-is-love Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2010  Student General Artist
awwwww :3 thank you very very much :D
Reply
:icondancingflame24:
dancingflame24 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2009
Do you use charcoal pencils or just sharpened peices of charcoal?
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
oh, pencils, always! you can see what tools I use in the tutorial link I sent earlier :D
Reply
:icondancingflame24:
dancingflame24 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2009
sweet, i fav'd it, but yeah i can't see the writing properly so i guess i'll download lol :P thanks again :P
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
sorry, I need to learn how to make tutorials a bit clearer :D
its hard to get everything in
Reply
:icondancingflame24:
dancingflame24 Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2009
still very helpful though. thanks again!
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Dec 31, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
always welcome! :)
Reply
:icondemonhearts:
DemonHearts Featured By Owner Sep 23, 2009
Great tutorial!

I looked this up because in art class I have to do some self portraits in charcoal and then maybe transfer them...oh boy X3

Wonderful! I always wondered how people achieved such darks and such brights. Thanks so much for the help!

^0^/

~Anna~
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
I'm glad if this can help you!
Have fun and experiment!! :D
Reply
:iconshalpin:
shalpin Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2009
Thanks - really interesting. Are you really that disciplined that you do it all in strict sequence: charcoal black, charcoal white, gouache ... or was this just simplified for the tutorial and you vary between them as you tweak and adjust?
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Aug 8, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
well, the subject dictates my approach, so no, I'm not that disciplined. But for most drawings, that's the sequence. There's always tweaking and adjusting!! :)
Reply
:iconchica-hl:
chica-hl Featured By Owner May 3, 2009   Interface Designer
what do you use as a fixative??? Would a clear acrylic coating work?
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner May 3, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
I don't know, but it might. you could always test on a scrap piece of paper. you wouldn't want it to yellow with age. there are 2 different kinds of fixative, workable (when you want to work over it) and clear-coat (for finished work).

I use Lascaux fixative, but it's really $$$-like $25/can in the US. fortunately, a little goes a long way.
Reply
:iconchica-hl:
chica-hl Featured By Owner May 3, 2009   Interface Designer
Great, thanks!
Reply
:icongraphit3:
graphit3 Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2009
very nice tutor....very usefull
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Apr 13, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks! I should go into detail about certain areas, next time. too much for one tutorial, though :)
Reply
:iconmimza:
Mimza Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009
".. the tie looks pretty odd." That made me laugh.

If ever I risk using charcoal, I'll take this all into mind! Thankyou~
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2009  Professional Traditional Artist
yeah, I think I was listening to Pretty Odd while I was putting that one together :lol:

charcoal's easy, I find it easier and quicker than pencil :)
Reply
:iconmirokuplushie:
MirokuPlushie Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2008
I never thought to use gouache with charcoal! I'll definitely keep this in mind.
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
The gouache works great to unify light or dark areas. I usually draw right over it with charcoal, too, and you can get a tone on tone effect that way. I use white gouache for the catch lights in the eyes-or whereever I need the whitest whites.
have fun :)
Reply
:iconmirokuplushie:
MirokuPlushie Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2008
You also mentioned in the tutorial that you use a fixative. When do you use it, do you apply it lightly, and can you work over it easily?
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Dec 30, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
I apply it lightly and evenly in coats. never saturate the paper with it. yes, you can work over it easily (make sure you're using a workable fixative, not a top or clear coat) My fav brand is Lascaux, which is expensive (one can lasts me a long time). Any fixative should be used with good ventilation, though-the stuff stinks, probably kills brain cells and all. I just give it a quick spray and leave the room a few mintues. :)
Reply
:icondragonsanddaffodils:
Dragonsanddaffodils Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2008
Fantastic! :D
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
not that you need one :lol:
Reply
:icondragonsanddaffodils:
Dragonsanddaffodils Featured By Owner Oct 27, 2008
Aw!!!!!!!!! I have never tried charcoal! Looked at buying some a few weeks ago when I bought some new pencils! (Yay!) But lost courage :blushes:

Fab tutorial!
Reply
:iconcynthia-blair:
Cynthia-Blair Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
thanks! you're doing so great with pencil, maybe you need to take that medium as far as you can go with it. when you get the itch to try something different, then try some charcoal pencils out. They're much easier to smudge and very matte in finish.
Reply
:icondragonsanddaffodils:
Dragonsanddaffodils Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2008
I agree! I've got a long way to go with Graphite pencils first, so that was one of the reasons I chickened out, figuring if I haven't got the hand of this then I need to stick with it first.

Thanks for the hint though, will bear that in mind!
:D
Reply
:iconperytiion:
Perytiion Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
Oh wow! This is possibly one of the most helpful tutorials I have ever read!
I never thought to use gouache on charcoal. But thinking it over it's a great idea. Thanks so much!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
×
Download JPG 2160 × 600




Details

Submitted on
August 1, 2008
Image Size
934 KB
Resolution
2160×600
Link
Thumb
Embed

Stats

Views
16,383
Favourites
198 (who?)
Comments
61
Downloads
3,312

License

Creative Commons License
Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
×