6 Charcoal Drawing Tips Every Artist Should Know

Charcoal drawing has been around for years and might be the most unique and alluring types of illustration design to existing. The conventional methods of charcoal drawing relied on the use of actual pieces of charcoal as brushes and pens. Now with the changes in artwork and design methods, software programs and tools have even adopted an option of charcoal pens and brushes for digital artists to use.

If you pay heed to the work of an illustration agency then you will notice how there will not be any imperfections but for a novice artist, it is required to learn illustration design in small phases and steps.

Charcoal drawing and painting is not for everyone but since it is so addictive, you can as well give it a try by following these essential tips every expert illustrator follows.

1. Pay attention to the main concept

Every illustration has a main idea and it needs to be supported and paid attention to the most. In other words, the main idea could be the real essence you are trying to portray in your illustration. Since charcoal-based illustrations are based on a monochromatic color palette, the actual essence and concept of the drawing are lost in between. However, if you pay attention to it since the beginning, the essence will not be lost.

2. Color tones matter the most

Since a charcoal painting will not have many colors, it is probable the darker shades to overshadow the lighter shades and vice versa. That is a mistake many illustrators make but if you know the value of shadows and different tone types for a charcoal illustration, you might not ending up making such a mistake. Changing the colors and shifting them from light to dark should be done with the utmost attention and then in between the color-changing process, a few hues of grey should be added.

3. Bring asymmetry in the line art

If you think for an illustration to look good every line needs to be symmetrical then you are mistaken. The rules of symmetry can be neglected when it comes to abstract artwork but the same can be done for an illustration or drawing type. Especially in charcoal drawing, the lines can vary from thick and thin and that itself has its own very unique appeal. When drawing thin lines, do not put a lot of pressure on the canvas as it could ruin the look you are going for.

4. Remove excess darker color tones               

If you have filled out a specific area with excessive color then do not worry as that can be fixed to look artistically appealing. It is fully under your control as you can just pick an eraser and clear out the area that you think seems too dark. Such as the hair of a character if have been darkened a lot then just lighten the hairline and that itself will turn into an appealing look of its own. The concept of illustration itself is all about experimenting so keep trying until you find the appeal you are looking for.

5. Use charcoal pencils for hand-drawn artwork

Now if you are not using a digital tool or software program since charcoal pens have become too common for these tools then there is a better alternative for it as well. In order to begin practicing, purchase some quality charcoal pencils beforehand. Make sure you have brought pencils in different sizes and forms as you would be making both thick and thin lines in your artwork. Once that is done, begin with simple strokes with the charcoal pencils on the canvas. Keep practicing and you will get a hang of it in no time.

6. Try out different tools for drawing

Trying out new tools to create charcoal drawings is a good experimental idea. If you keep on using charcoal pencils all the time then it might just get too boring for you eventually. If drawing is your passion then you should not grow tired of it. Use different tools for making charcoal drawings and might as well come across a unique form of artwork while practicing. Supposedly, choose an eraser and erase the charcoal lines to add more shade or lighter tones to the drawing. There is so much you can experiment with if only you know what to pay heed to.


Charcoal drawing surely does sound easy as there are almost zero efforts to use color but it might just look easy as in reality, it is not. You need to have a very sharp eye for every detail you add or else there will be almost zero appeal in the drawing you make. Choose different pen and charcoal pencil sets and utilize them accordingly.