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Art Lessons: Charcoal

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charcoal, has been around since the dawn
of time.
And this is a vine charcoal,
which they get by burning willow twigs, or
So they just heat it up and it burns and
sometimes they come out
really looking just like a vine cuz
they're just vines that have been burned.
And this is really kind of interesting
it's very powdery and it kind of goes
In a really powdery way like that.
And you can go dark with it.
But it really, the magic of it is that it
kinda just rubs off.
Just totally rubs off, like this.
And that's why it's a good,
it's kind of a good base background.
It's a good base background.
So it's kinda good just to,
like, you know, literally start a drawing
[NOISE] Like that.
So let's say you're just kinda blocking in
a face, like this.
And if there's areas you don't like,
you know, you can just, oh, I don't like
that and then you just take it right out.
So, it's a little more sculptural, and
So you can kinda, get into it.
And, it just, you can just lay, lay things
[NOISE] So it's a good start, good
To any charcoal drawing.
Like that.
And you can kinda see the head.
[SOUND] Coming in.
So, good way to start vine charcoal.
the other kind of charcoal is a compressed
So this is just way more compressed.
This is way darker.
Way darker.
So you could see here, this gets you into
a whole other world, like that.
See how dark, immediately, it becomes?
That goes on really thick, really dark.
Really fast, like that.
And with charcoal's very malleable, so you
really like to just kinda use your hands.
And then, of course, you have same in
You have your Hs, which are hard.
You have your Bs, which are soft.
So, you know, your 6B, is going to be you
know, very dark.
That's where you're gonna have like your
accents and stuff like that, or
your core shadow, or maybe your cast
shadows like that.
Or, your goatee.
Like that.
Now obviously you know your 2B on the
other end of the spectrum is going to be
a little bit more finer, a little less
So you're going to be able to get that
harder edge.
So, you know, coming in for details would
be good.
Detail that eye point here.
[SOUND] So 2B is a, is a good one.
You have your HB which is really hard.
And that's just working this dark.
It's kinda giving maybe another flesh tone
so like.
Maybe this would be good to change the
temperature of his nose,
make the nose a little redder like that.
Kind of more of a glazing thing.
And you could see, you really run the
spectrum of all the different charcoals.
So, you know, maybe I wanna go back in
with my, my vine,
I wanna just kind of hit this dark side.
Losing into space and
[NOISE] come in with my eraser.
And hit a highlight
here on that plane.
It's very malleable charcoal.
Just take, comes right off with an eraser,
like that.
[SOUND] See that?
Light's coming down, maybe, streaming on
the forehead.
Coming down to the brow ridge and then
really seeing the highlight [NOISE] on the
And once again here [NOISE] on the mouth.
Soften that up.
And charcoal's kind of easy to carve into.
So it's very painterly.
You know, Rockwell used to do finished
charcoal drawings.
And losing, you wanna lose.
Here you fall,
the light's falling off, going down, down,
Like that.
Charcoal's also really good because
you can kind of lose those edges.
And it's a little more like paint, see?
He's kind of.
[SOUND] Paint, paint,
come in with your vinyl eraser,
and really think sculpturally planes,
planes, going back into space.
And, you know, really can erase,
erase shapes.
Light is kind of hitting the top planes
That I could show a little better with my
Wrapping around the maxilla here.
The barrel of the mouth.
It's looks like a guy named Max.
I'm just kinda feeling something here.
I'm giving a charcoal demo here, but
now the character's kinda starting to come
to life with a little bit of a spirit.
And so, he's clamoring on getting a name,
cause he's like, name me.
I don't want to name you, I'm doing a
But you have to name me.
Why do I have to name you?
Because I've come to life.
But you're not Frankenstein.
Yes but, but still.
It's getting weird.
Is it?
It is.
[SOUND] Okay. See. Get very weird.
Because characters do come to life, so
you're breathing a certain
amount of life into them, and even if you
don't think you are.
Now up here, this is really interesting up
here cause you really wanna, the light,
the light is coming from above and it's
really hitting that plane,
top plane like that.
So as he kind of emerges from the depth.
You know he's got a really.
And lights, as lights falls down we
kind of lose the figure into a [NOISE]
into darkness.
I'm here with my.
That vinyl's
nice because it gets you a lot of those
You'll able to kind of carve it out and
use it as a wedge
It's kind of emerging from the darkness.
[SOUND] That face emerging.
That ear getting hit with light.
This ear getting hit with light.
The tragus getting hit with light.
The helix getting hit with light.
That ear's going out.
This ear's going back in space.
The bottom plane of the eye.
Bottom plane of that eye, losing the
that head.
And the light's falling off, falling off
like that.
I like to use mostly my charcoal because
my charcoal is a little
bit more like a paintbrush,so I get to
really kinda play with it more.
Now that light is,
feel like it's catching that lip.
Maybe not.
Maybe not.
And you can really sculpt.
Intensely with these things.
So, charcoal's really kind of a fun
Because it is so much like paint.
I'm just constantly [SOUND]
Keep the paint coming on.
This gentleman is bald, by the way.
I'm thinking too much.
Alright, so,
there you go,
just a little demo
on how charcoal is so
cool, and
you can get your dark,
super rich and
super creamy,
it's like paint.
So it offers you kind of the whole full
spectrum of lights and darks.
That's what makes charcoal so universally
used by artists, historically.
And that's what makes it fun.
So, try it at home, and I guarantee you're
gonna learn so much.
And you're going to get into avenues and
areas of experimentation
that are just going to take you into a
wild and wonderful journey of art