OCAD Studio: Charcoal Still Life Part 3

In this lesson we will be refining the forms in your subject. Adding and removing tone where necessary to give the main subject in the drawing a 3D quality.


  • 1 sheet of strong drawing paper (I recommend Fabriano Ingres or something similar)
  • A couple of similarly sized sheets of cartridge paper
  • A few different types of charcoal (I recommend Nitram Charcoal in B and HB)
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Hard white eraser (the normal type of eraser)
  • Sponge
  • Kitchen roll
  • Sanding Block
  • Drawing Board
  • Masking Tape


Reinforcing Shadows

  1. Sharpen your charcoal and use the point to darken the shadows sufficiently. You should find some areas within the shadows which are almost black.
  2. Look for reflected light as well, this will give the shadows an airy quality. Use your kneadable eraser to remove tone where necessary. It is also possible to smooth out and lighten areas with a soft brush.

Refining the Halftones

  1. Once the shadows are complete, start laying large flat areas of halftone planes. You can do this by lightly hatching in a single direction.
  2. Keep building up areas of tone until the forms seem correct when you blur your eyes.
  3. Now you can add and remove tone where necessary to soften the transitions from shadow to halftone and between the halftone planes.
  4. Don’t make everything evenly soft though, you want a mixture of soft and hard edges throughout the drawing

Remember to keep your charcoal sharp!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *