Observational Charcoal Drawings

There has to be something countering acts of destruction with acts of creation. Gates

Back in the Studio!  

It is so rewarding to be back in the studio with students.

This little community centered around Picket Fence Art Studio completes the well-roundness of my creative life.

And we need this. We all need time to create and refresh, now more than ever. And I need it.  

I wanted to share some step-by-step directions for those of you who cannot attend an in-person class. Send me pics if you complete the project.  

Stay well, and stay creative!


Working on tinted paper, use charcoal and follow these steps to create a value drawing:

  1. Use tinted paper and draw big rough shapes. Check accuracy with:
    1. Negative Space
    2. Horizontal Lines
    3. Symmetry
    4. Diagonals 
    5. Verticals
  2. Lightly apply vine charcoal to the entire drawing – holding the vine charcoal on its side color over the whole drawing.
  3. Create a 2-value drawing -squint and erase all large light areas. 
  4. Squint and color in darkest darks.  
  5. Adjust middle values drawing into the image using your kneaded eraser. Readjust the lights and darks as you work on the middle values.  
  6. Pick your focal point and emphasize with higher contrast, sharper edges, and more detail.
  7. Lastly, apply the highlights (lightest lights) with white Conte crayon. Note that highlights will follow the form of the object.  

You can purchase all of the supplies you need for this project on Amazon at the following links:


2 thoughts on “Observational Charcoal Drawings

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