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How To Draw Charcoal Portraits

How To Draw Charcoal Portraits

If you want to create a beautiful portrait, then this is for you to watch. Learn how to make charcoal portraits.

I'm going to show you how to make a drawing of a face using charcoal. Okay, I'm going to work very very loosely, I'm going to take my charcoal and this one will be a willow charcoal. I'm going to keep a rubber putty in my hand as well to keep me nice and warm for whenever I want to remove the charcoal.

Drawing with charcoal, I feel is as much as putting the charcoal down on as to taking charcoal off. So the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to get the head shape, working from this photograph and to get the head shape, I'm not going to worry about getting down the marks that I don't want, so I could just remove them and just make an energetic start to it to start your drawing. And I can see the right hand side of this face is all in shadows, so I'm going to start just shading right there, just getting some charcoal down and then on this side, it's lighter and then the background, we've got a darker background like so.

And I'm just going to show you how to work that charcoal with your fingers, making it lighter on that side and getting darker on this side and some background in there. Once I've got the general tones down, I can now start putting out the details on. So halfway across the face is the line of the eyes, and then straight down the center of the face to make a bit of a portrait which is equal to the sides, a line for the nose, line for the mouth and them I'm just going to remind myself where on the end of the face the chin is.

The eye socket is much darker in there, so I'm going to put the eye socket in dark down to the side of the nose, underneath the nose, and put in my second layer of charcoal. The first one was really loose and just treating the head almost like an egg. And now, I'm looking much harder to see where it's dark and lighter.

The eye socket there is quite dark as well, and the hair that comes round like so, and underneath the neck in there. I can even work the charcoal in once again, I wanted to do a little bit of smudging. It's better to put marks on them and then take them away, than to worry about putting the marks in the first place.

I'm now going to take my putty rubber and I'm going to put it in a point so I can almost like work here almost like a pencil. And I'm going to start here where the light is, so I'm going to start with some detail. So on the left hand side of the nose, it's very light and it comes across to the top of the head here and lighter up here and then that comes round by underneath the eye, around the side of the cheek like so.

I'm just following the shades, I'm not trying to tell myself to draw a nose or a mouth, I'm just literally drawing the light and dark that I see. And we flip, it's lighter, and there's a few bit of detail which you see underneath the eye there, on the eye socket there, it comes round. And this side isn't light at all, so any light on this side, I'm just going to use my finger just to lighten the side here, so underneath the eye, underneath the eye brow, and the eye slightly, a little bit over here, just a little bit there, it shows where the cheek is, and the side of the mouth, the bottom lip, and so under the neck slightly as well.

I can now take it back to my charcoal and start being a bit more precise with a slight detail. So now I'm going to start with this side here, and I'm going to make the eye work by choosing the place where I need the eye to be which is here, a little dark there, get the putty rubber to a point, lighten that side and lighten that side with a little highlight in the eye just there. Make sure the highlight's right in there so it doesn't make it look old, a little highlight just there.

Then I've got the eyebrow, a bit which is nice like that and a bit of shadow underneath and very thin shading just over there and smudge it so it gets very very pale, and then the eye on this side which is in much more darkness that we still need to suggest where things are. Make sure the eyes are in line, top