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Helen Standing - Music Tutor (West Wales UK)



P22 – Using Charcoal

In the past, I have not got on very well with charcoal as I always made so much mess. However, I was determined to get to grips with it more on this course. I drew a chart to compare thin sticks, charcoal pencil and large sticks across lines, shading and patterns.

Thin Charcoal

  • Broke easily
  • No sharp corners for thin lines
  • Difficult to make a variety of patterns
  • Easy to shade
  • Gives a strong colour
  • Quick to cover large area
  • Thus good for large work

Charcoal Pencil

  • Difficult to sharpen
  • Slow for shading as can’t use the side
  • More robust so good for out and about
  • Still good for smudging
  • Good for thin lines
  • Good for patterns/cross hatching
  • I found the harder pencil easier to use than the soft

Thick Rectangular Charcoal

  • More difficult to shade quickly
  • Variety of angles on the stick allowed me to draw various lines/patterns etc
  • More robust