Improve your charcoal art
Patrick J Jones shares his personal techniques and thought processes on squeezing the ultimate artistic expression out of charcoal and blenders
When cave people first dragged a stick of charcoal across a cave wall the artist was born. Today that same primitive tool is unmatched for creating instant, expressive marks. In this workshop I’ll share my favourite charcoal tips, and demonstrate how to manipulate that black, magic powder once it’s laid down on paper.
Charcoal techniques are often discarded by students once art school has ended and they move on to the serious business of art, but as a working artist I can attest to the importance of charcoal in the professional world of art. With all the wonderful digital and traditional painting tools at my disposal, my first port of call is still charcoal and paper.
Why has my love of charcoal drawing endured? The answer is simple, and a little bit romantic. No matter where you are in the world, every tool you need to create great art can be carried in a small satchel. To illustrate that idea I’m looking forward to running a charcoal drawing workshop in Fiji next summer. No electricity or satellite is required to sit down on a mountaintop or under a shady tree, smudge some charcoal across a blank space, and experience the same kind of magic our ancestors felt.