Traditional Drawings

Charcoal Lion

I followed Aaron Blaise charcoal tutorial. I’m doing life drawing regularly lately, so I’m trying to acquire some techniques to use and get more at ease with the medium during my sessions.



Vine charcoal
2B charcoal
Charcoal powder
Kneaded eraser
White charcoal
Canson paper
(I used many alternative materials for this drawing)


1. The first step was to roughly trace the base shapes with vine charcoal. I used willow charcoal instead and it seemed to wipe out easily with tissues or chamois. Vine charcoal is used for roughs, because it can easily be erased.

2. I lightened the rough by wiping it out with some tissues. We are still able to faintly see the rough. I drew the shapes and indications with 2B charcoal. At this point, I made sure everything look  solid (proportions and strokes positioned accurately).

3. I spread charcoal powder all over the paper with tissues. I used a large compressed charcoal, rubbed it lightly on the paper and spread it with a tissues. It’s not very efficient, as it leaves stroke, but it’s all I had at the time.

4. I added dark zones and details with 2B charcoal. I traced the outer shape. I  drew the fur and filled the dark zones. The drawing should look pretty complete at the stage.

5. I added whites by removing  the charcoal with the malleable kneaded eraser.

6. I readjusted the dark and light with more drawing and erasing.

7. The last step is to add white with white charcoal. My paper wasn’t tinted enough, so I tried gouache first. It didn’t work, because the paper was absorbing all the paint and it gave grey instead. As this drawing was a practice for me, I used journal paper. I tried white acrylic. It was better, but very hard to control with a brush. I think I could have tried a white pen, but I didn’t have any. This step wasn’t very successful for me. I had trouble getting thin strokes for mustache and fur.

Overall, It’s a useful technique. Starting with vine charcoal makes you able to quickly setup your drawing freely, because it’s so easy to wipe out. Erasing with the kneaded eraser works pretty well.


7 thoughts on “Charcoal Lion

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