OCAD Studio: Chalk and Charcoal Portrait Drawing Part 1

This series of lessons will walk you through the complete process for drawing a portrait in charcoal and white chalk on toned paper.

The first session will focus on getting an accurate block-in of the basic shadow shapes and darker tones that make up the drawing.


  • Toned paper
  • Charcoal
  • White Chalk Pencil
  • Kneadable Eraser
  • Sanding Block
  • Sharpener
  • Drawing Board
  • Easel
  • Begin with the biggest proportions; height of the head, width of the head, body etc.
  • Sketch these in very lightly with soft lines that will be easy to erase.
  • Keep correcting things until everything is setting in the right place.
  • It is important that you don’t rush the early stages.
  • Once the major proportions are in place you can start to find dark shapes (shadows).
  • Sketch these in lightly using straight lines.
  • Don’t add too many curves or details yet – as these tend to be less accurate.
  • Finally, once all the outlines of the shadows are sketched in, you can fill them with a single tone.
  • Keep working lightly at this stage as you may see some bits you need to correct once you’ve added the tone.
  • You online need two tones at this stage – the tone of paper and the shadow colour – that is all!

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