Charcoal is the one of the most adaptableof all rawing media. With it you can make lines of any thikness and density. You can create areas of heavy shading, and you can also describe form by means of delicate, graded tone. Charcoal however, is naturally grainy and makes an uneven, textured mark of line, especially when used on course paper. If you want a faller or smoother finish it is necessary to blend the charcoal - usually with the finger, torchon, or a piece of tissue or cloth. Before embarking on drawing, it is worth devoting a little time of practising this technique, and discovering the sort of effects which can be achieved.

To create an expanse of blended tone, first buiold up an area of lightly scribbled marks, making this even and consistent as possible.

Do not press too hard with the charcoal - if the mark is too ingrained, it will be difficult to blend. Use the tip of your finger, lightly rubbing the surface of the drawing to blend the marks together.
The finished effect is a deep, soft shadow which cn be made darker by repeating the process until the required depth of tone is achieved, or lighten with further blending.

Remember, blending simply means smoothing or rubbing and need not be confined to large areas - you can be selective, picking out small ptches and details, or even blending a single line if this is the effect you want. Chalk and charcoal with chalk can be blended exactly the same way.

Drawing is essentially about line , about creating form and movement with charcoal, charcoal pencil, chalk, or any other drawing instrument - all of which produce a line. With soft materials it is possible to blend lines to achieve a solid areas of tone, as the artist demonstrates on th epicture. But it is also possible to create tone with line alone, using the tradisionl method of hatching and cross-hatching. By building up a series of hatched lines on a selected area you can suggest solid tone and colour, making this darker or lighter by varying the closeness of the lines. For a formal graphic effect, keep the hatching regular and even; use free, scribbled line for a
looser, more sketchy look.

The pictures here show the artist creating hatched effects using both charcoal and charcoal pencil.

Charcoal pencil produces a harder line than charcoal, making it possible to control the tone to a large extent. Here the artist is using adjoining patches of neat parallel lines, allowing the amount of light-tinted paper showing between the black marks to dictate the shade of final tone.

The thick, soft line of stick charcoal is less suited to controlled hatching and here the artist adapts the marks accordingly. Instead of a regular pattern, the strokes are laid freely in loose hatched and cross-hatched areas, creating a slightly patchy mesh of tone. The colour of the paper affects the final tone, so experiment on both white and tinted supports.


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