The Secrets to Drawing: Charcoal

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Lesson Discussion

    • Hi Marlyn,

      Could you tell me the error message you are receiving? It seems that everything is working normally. There is a slight delay before the download begins.

  1. Hi Matt.

    I am in the process of buying some charcoal for this assignment. Is there a difference between compressed charcoal and charcoal pencils? Should I stick with the compressed charcoal sticks and vine?

  2. Charcoal is a media that is amazing to me for some reason. I feel like the simplicity to it, combined with the amazing work you can create with it just blows my mind. Charcoal is something I would really like to keep practicing and become a lot better with. Great Video!

  3. This video was great but kept stalling and freezing ….it took forever to watch it…. I closed all the other tabs I had open. I am using a Safari browser; have you had issues with it before???

    • Hi Frankie,

      This is called buffering and occurs when your internet connection cannot keep up to play the video in high definition. You can scroll over the player and click on the “HD” logo to turn off high definition which will allow the video to load faster.

  4. This lesson represents a breakthrough moment for me. I knew about shades and tints but didn’t really grasp the understanding of lights and darks until I followed this lesson. It was a perfect A-hah moment.

  5. My questions may be naive but I’m a beginner to drawing and art. Is there any concern on the effects charcoal may have on the skin? Also, will a fixative or finish keep the charcoal from smudging after the drawing is completed or does the charcoal become permanent on its own? If a fixative is needed, do you recommend any particular kind or brand? I have a can of Krylon Low Odor Clear Finish; will that work okay? Thank you.

    • Hi Marc,

      Not sure how it may effect the skin, but it’s definitely not good to inhale. Charcoal will always smudge unless you apply fixative. I typically don’t apply fixative because it affects the values. But if smudging is a big concern, then fixative may be the best option for you. I would look for “Final Fixative” – you can usually find it at the local art store with the drawing supplies.

    • I just watched the charcoal module and then tried the apple exercise. The result was surprisingly good for a first attempt with charcoal. I loved working with this messy medium!

      Your lessons are addicting. I just joined a week ago and find myself going through as many videos as I can fit into the day. What a great teacher you are – very precise, organized and easy to follow. This is a life changer for a 75 year-old retired teacher who was playing far too many computer games before I found The Virtual Instructor.
      Thank you.

  6. Hi Matt, just wondering about the oil in your skin, in previous videos you have mentioned that rubbing your finger over pencil drawing will leave an oil mark, this doesn’t seem to apply to charcoal?
    Regards Tracey
    PS. Loving everything your teaching us

    • Hi Tracey,
      Thanks! For whatever reason, the graphite behaves differently from the charcoal. The charcoal seems to resist the oils from our skin, but graphite is another story.

    • Hi Meenakshi,

      Any of the well known brands of charcoal will do. I like General’s products, but with charcoal, there’s not a broad spectrum of quality.

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