OCAD Studio: Charcoal Still Life Part 2

In this lesson we will be building on the lines and shapes from Part 1 by adding tone and some texture before starting to refine parts of the picture.


  • 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


Adding Tone and Texture

  1. Using the softest stick of charcoal (Nitram B for example) you have, start filling in the darker shapes loosely. You can add quite a lot of tone because charcoal will erase more easily than graphite. Stick to the shapes you drew in Part 1 but don’t worry if you go over the lines a bit, we are going for a mostly loose sketchy style with this one.
  2. Once the tones are blocked in you can mess around with them. Try smoothing out the tone by rubbing it with the sponge or use pieces of scrunched up kitchen roll to make a rougher texture.
  3. You can also build up some charcoal dust by sharpening the charcoal on your sanding block. Once you have a pile of charcoal dust built up, try tipping or blowing it onto the page, this can make for really interesting droplet style textures.
  4. Keep experimenting with textures for as long as you like, it doesn’t matter if the original drawing is somewhat lost, we will find it again in the next step. The important thing is that you make a nice abstract composition with your tones and textures.

Rediscovering the Shapes

  1. Once you’re happy with the textures, you will need to rediscover the original drawing which will have likely become a bit lost during the previous stage.
  2. Focus on the main subject of the drawing as this is where we will add detail – the rest of the drawing will stay loose and sketchy.
  3. Just lightly erase any part of the subject that has been covered in charcoal during the texture stage.
  4. Once the subject is clearly visible again you can move onto the next stage.

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