Live Lessons: "Portrait" with Charcoal

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This lesson series features:
9 Hours of Instruction
9 Videos

About This Lesson Series...

In this lesson series, we develop a portrait with charcoal on gray paper.

Lesson 1 (1:10:38)

In lesson one, we discuss the materials and surface and begin adding vine charcoal to the surface.

Lesson 2 (1:02:25)

In lesson two, we continue work on the "underpainting", addressing the main features of the face.

Lesson 3 (1:12:56)

In lesson three, we complete the "underpainting" with vine charcoal.

Lesson 4 (1:04:54)

In lesson four, we begin refining the drawing and adding details by layering compressed charcoal. We begin this process with the hair.

Lesson 5 (1:09:51)

In lesson five, we begin working down the face, modeling the forehead and starting work on the left eye.

Lesson 6 (1:08:22)

In lesson six, we complete the eyes and work on the nose.

Lesson 7 (1:09:29)

In lesson seven, we address the mouth and lips.

Lesson 8 (1:10:49)

In lesson eight, we finish the cheek and the ear.

Lesson 9 (1:15:38)

In lesson nine, we address the clothing and complete the drawing.

charcoal portrait drawing

Resources for this Lesson...

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Photo Reference

Finished Result

Here's what you'll need...

  • Toned Gray Paper (Ingres)
  • Vine Charcoal
  • Compressed Charcoal and Charcoal Pencils
  • White Charcoal and White Charcoal Pencils
  • Kneaded Eraser
  • Blending Stumps or Tortillions

(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. Should the vine charcoal be extra soft, soft, medium or hard? Same question goes for the white charcoal. Sadly I can no longer be at the live lessons now that the semester started. I teach nights. 🙁 I’m trying to keep up with your lessons at a later time. Thanks.

  2. Enjoying doing this one, though not live. Its great learning, and listening to the banter, looking forward to getting sketchy too. To the person who asked about zest-it, i use it a lot with pastelmat, the secret is only putting a small amount on otherwise it does bleed. I tend to keep away from the edges, then push into edges with a clean brush.

    I think I ve guessed the paper chioce for your coloured pencil lesson .

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