Friday, 6 January 2012

The Geek: Charcoal

Fuel free power, husky dog
Charcoal sketch by Estelle Rocca-Serra
Charcoal has been known since antiquity, and used for a very wide range of purposes: fuel, medicine and even as a constituent of gunpowder! It is also one of the oldest art materials used for drawing.

Produced by the incomplete combustion (with little or no air, otherwise it would turn to ashes) of sticks of wood, this process makes it extremely stable and durable.

Charcoal is usually supplied in sticks with sharp edges, very useful for drawing fine lines. It turns into a dusty powder when applied, which makes it a very versatile medium that can be blended for very smooth shadowing, used for rough sketches or primary drawings before a painting. The pigment is easily removed with an eraser, which can also serve as a drawing tool. From subtle finish drawings to dramatic and expressive sketches, the range of charcoal is very wide.

An important point though, it needs to be sprayed with a fixative, or the drawing will be, literally, slowly blown away over time.

Source: Wikipedia

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