Live Lessons: Figure Drawing with Charcoal

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This lesson series features:
6 Hours of Instruction
6 Videos

About This Lesson Series...

In this lesson series, we create a drawing of a figure in a workshop with charcoal on white drawing paper. Vine and compressed charcoal are applied after using a grid to draw the basic contours. Learn how to apply and blend charcoal to create a proportional drawing.

Lesson 1 (1:04:06)

In lesson one, we tone the paper and begin the contour line drawing using the aid of a grid.

Lesson 2 (1:14:15)

In lesson two, we begin work on some of the details of the drawing including the face.

Lesson 3 (1:09:48)

In lesson three, we develop the folds of the shirt.

Lesson 4 (1:04:43)

In lesson four, we work on clarifying some of the objects on the table.

Lesson 5 (1:08:15)

In lesson five, we develop the details found on the objects on the table.

Lesson 6 (1:10:35)

In lesson six, we complete the drawing.

Resources for this Lesson...

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Photo Reference

Finished Result

Here's what you'll need...

  • Vine Charcoal
  • Compressed Charcoal (Pencil)
  • Blending Stumps
  • Erasers
  • White Drawing Paper

(Disclosure: Links to art materials are affiliate links which means we make a small commission if you purchase at no additional cost to you.)

Lesson Discussion

  1. When we first started this drawing, I was terrified because of how complex the image is. What I’m finding is that it is teaching me to work on one small area at a time, although I do still bounce around some. It is also teaching me to REALLY observe small details. Thank you, Ashley, for choosing this image.

    I was convinced at first that I simply couldn’t do the subject matter justice. I said to myself that I’d just watch the process, but I am now obsessed with this drawing and charcoal. I have also done all the posted lessons of the new charcoal course. Thank you Matt for including the tree landscape. I can’t stop looking at my finished drawing. It feels as if I could walk into it.

    All this is to say, these courses and the teaching provided have truly and finally, at the age of 71, awakened my artist. I cannot thank you enough.


  2. I recently purchased some charcoal paper and I’m excited to get caught up on this series for next week. Also, thank you Ashley for warning me in a getting sketchy taping that charcoal paper is thinner than I would have expected. If you hadn’t said it, I would have absolutely been disappointed.

    I’m learning so much and always improving in my art. I’m very grateful to be a member.

  3. Just been working in charcoal on another course and it drove me a bit mad as I would draw one area and then accidentally smear away some of my work while working on another area.

  4. Southeast Florida and other areas got hit real bad. My prayers are with them. I live in Southwest Florida and we got feeder bands and strong winds, but we got really lucky.

  5. Really enjoyed this one and learned so much. At first I wasn’t excited for the subject matter but once we got going, I realized my mistake – this was perfect for charcoal. So much contrast and the detail does come thru! Can’t gush enough about these live lessons and everything else on this site. THANK YOU!!!!

  6. I saw this lesson and really liked the subject. Reminded me of my dad in the garage. However, I thought there was no way I could do it myself. Then I did the lesson of the “Ostrich” with charcoal (which I also loved) and started thinking that maybe I could tackle it. I’ve just finished it and couldn’t be happier with my results. Ashley you are a great instructor and listening to you two friends is so enjoyable as I am drawing. Matt and Ashley keep up the great work!

  7. If I use one of the reference photos and make a picture of it (let´s say with soft pastels or acrylics) can I post it on social media? (my piece, not the photo)

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