Pastels and Charcoals
Charcoal and pastels are similar in traditional application and in their
painterly effects. Select paper surface texture carefully because this texture
will dictate the overall appearance of charcoal or pastel drawings. For an
extended study of charcoal and conté crayon drawings, review the work of
Michelangelo, Rubens, and Rodin. To review sensitive renderings in pastel,
study Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas.
Charcoal is carbonized willow twigs. Sometimes called vine charcoal, it
produces a dense black, dull image and leaves a powdery residue. Charcoal
sticks may be encased in a sleeve of wood like a pencil.
Charcoal is available in different degrees of hardness. Extended
carbonization increases the hardness of charcoal. As charcoal becomes
harder, it is less useful as a drawing medium.
Charcoal is a drawing medium. Charcoal is an excellent medium to use
when practicing drawing exercises. Select charcoal in a degree of hardness
according to your preference. Handle the charcoal stick as you would a
pencil. Pay particular attention to removing the dust that builds up with each
stroke. Blend large areas with stumps or tortillons and create highlights with
soft, hard, and kneaded erasers. The images produced by charcoal are dense.
Figure 1-27 shows vine charcoal.
Figure 1-27.Vine charcoal.
Charcoal drawings require fixative when complete.
Continued on next page