The Charcoal Drawing Course: Basic Forms

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This course features:
Over 2.5 Hours of Instruction
19 Videos
5 eBooks
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Lesson Description

In this module, we review the element of art, value and apply this knowledge to draw a still life of basic forms with vine/willow charcoal on charcoal paper.

Lesson 1 - Value

In this lesson, we review value and the basics of light and form.

Lesson 2 - Contours and Mapping

In this lesson, we use a mapping technique to draw the contours of the forms.

Lesson 3 - Refining

In this lesson, we continue to develop the value but begin refining the drawing using blending tools and erasers.

Lesson 4 - Finishing Touches

In this lesson, we complete the drawing.

charcoal drawing of basic forms

Lesson Materials

  • Vine/Willow Charcoal
  • Compressed Charcoal Pencil
  • Charcoal Paper
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Vinyl Eraser
  • Blending Stumps or Tortillions

Lesson Resources


Photo Reference

Finished Drawing

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Lesson Discussion

  1. I imagine art students start out with charcoal, but learning on my own I started out with graphite, so charcoal is a new medium to me. Consequently, I appreciate seeing how you use the vine charcoal and charcoal pencil together to create an effect. I look forward to more lessons and more diverse subject matter.

  2. I started today as full membership, and charcoal is incredibly delicate. Nevertheless, since I am on the process of completing 25 days to better drawing, it is going to be fun. My only problem is that I cannot find the charcoal pencils I bought, in the midst of my drawing room.

  3. Really enjoying the charcoal course. I find I need to remind myself to slow down and focus on one form at a time until my skill improves. The drawing course was an excellent prequel. Thank you.

  4. Matt, I heard you say on “Getting Sketchy” that this course was not getting a lot of traffic on your website. Well, I’ve waited for this course and I love it. I started using graphite, am currently learning colored pencils and have experimented with charcoal–and I love it! It is such a rich, flexible, easy medium and I, for one, am delighted you’re doing this. I can’t wait to see the portrait you’re developing now using white charcoal on black paper. Thanks so much for doing this!

  5. Hi Matt! This is my first course on your website. I’m finding it, oh-my-gosh-hard to even get the form shapes on there in the correct proportions. I don’t have any experience in drawing prisms or pyramids or spheres, and shading them. I thought if you drew a rectangle, brick shape that the angles on each end would be the same, and would be the same length. Not so at all. Think I might need to stop here and go back and see if I can find something that gives me some more basics. If you have any recommendations? Let me know.

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