Realistic Charcoal Sketching – Tips for Finishing a Drawing Quickly

In this series we will be working from a sculpture in the Met Museum collection in New York. This is a great exercise for learning traditional drawing techniques in charcoal. The MET is a great free resource for artists who want to copy from high quality images and references.

In the final sessions of this three part series, I will show you how to use accents, texture and quick blending techniques to get a finished look fast.

You can download the original image I’m working from here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collect…

These are the minimum materials you will need:

  • Drawing paper
  • Compressed charcoal pencil
  • Hard willow charcoal
  • Kneadable eraser
  • Sharpen all your charcoal to start with (and try to keep it sharp throughout the final session).
  • Then use the compressed charcoal to add some punch to the darker accents across the drawing.
  • Adding selective detail and contrast this way is an efficient method to make the drawing look more finished without too much effort.
  • You can also pass over larger areas of tone with your hard willow charcoal to smooth things out a bit (I recommend watching the video to see what I mean).
  • Finally, see if you can find any little notches of texture that stand out and pop them in.
  • A good example of this is the light chip on the cheek in shadow – I added this in by simple erasing a light shape and then putting a darker note above that.
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