Charcoal drawing is a primitive form of visual art that has survived thousands of years. This form of art can be rooted in the early days of the world from paintings of cavemen who used burnt sticks as drawing tool.
Charcoal drawings are used as sketches in many art pieces, particularly in painting. However, it is also popular as it is (or sometimes combined with paint) because coal is a versatile tool that can create a wide variety of tone, shade and depth of a subject.
Some of the pioneer charcoal artists are Michelangelo (“Study of a Man Shouting”), Antoine-Louis Baryen (“Dead Young Elephant”), Ernst Barlach (“Self Portrait”), and Robert Blackburn’s (“Man With Load”).
1. (“Noire”) Alexis Marcou – Source
Charcoal, the main medium used on these works, is formed by burning carbon-filled substances like wood, until a soft, black and absorbent material is produced. It is a smooth substance that easily smudges on many media, which makes shading easier to do; shadows and highlights are achieved by using gradients of black and gray. Check out more inspiring charcoal drawings below:
2. (“Ear) Alexis Kadonsky – Source
3. (“Cloth Study”) Lise Statelman – Source
4. (“Still Life on Skeleton”) Dana Jefferson – Source
5. (“Spider and Crab”) Kamila Szadaj – Source
6. (“Portrait of Doug”) Brittany Wolsterdorf – Source
7. (Blessed Ludovica Albertoni) Pedro Andre – Source
8. (Drawings) Danielle Worrall – Source
9. (“Delayna”) Daniel Bapst – Source
10. (Drawings) Tomasz Szkodzinski – Source
11. (Charcoal Drawings) Alicia Martin – Source
12. (“Noir”) Elena Cabitza – Source
13. (“Object Self-Portrait”) Alexis Kadonsky – Source
14. (“Elvis Presley”) Lolly Crook – Source
15. (“Charcoals”) Samjad Kandilat – Source
16. (“Charcoal Zen”) James Franssen – Source
17. (“John Wayne”) Hoop and Stick – Source
18. (“(Shaded) Charcoal Work”) Ivana Miranovic – Source
19. (“Jaclyn Portrait”) Sarah Nichols – Source
20. (“Charcoal”) Carlos Ignacio Delgado Moreno – Source
21. (“Charcoal Art”) Nathan Mattson – Source
Charcoal comes in different forms — vine, pencil, chunks, sticks and compressed —depending on the preference of the artist. Charcoal artworks are polished with a fixative to prevent further smudging that can ruin the art pieces.
Charcoal art, in spite of its simplicity, can provoke thoughts and stir emotions from people. This is one of the reasons that charcoal drawing is still practiced and appreciated by many artists.