Matthew James Taylor
Art › Life drawing › Mediums ›
Charcoal Life Drawing
(Examples On White & Toned Paper)
Charcoal is my favorite medium for life drawing, particularly charcoal pencil because it's a lot cleaner to use than willow charcoal.
"Girl leaning on chair" A charcoal life drawing of a female model
This is a nice, relaxed pose. I love how her hands are just a shape.
"Girl reclining head on hand" Charcoal drawing
This is a really nice and simple reclining pose.
"Great seated pose" Charcoal figure drawing
This was a really interesting pose to draw. I love the way she is twisted around but the pose still looks relaxed.
"Seated girl head on hand" Large charcoal figure drawing
This was quite a large drawing so I had plenty of room for detail but not enough time to complete the rendering.
"Man on tall stool" Soft charcoal pencil rendered drawing
My favourite thing with this drawing is the knee that his hand is on.
I intentionally made the outlines on his knee slightly stronger than the drawing in the background and as a result his knee is pushed forward and kind of stands out from the picture.
I will definitely be using this technique from now on in my work, it's very effective.
"Softly drawn girl" Soft charcoal pencil drawing
I attempted to make this drawing really soft. I avoided using harsh black lines and I tried to keep the lines I did use to a minimum. I really like the result.
Look at the Detail in her face to see how I've simplified the drawing:
See more of my portraits.
"Foreshortened girl" Charcoal sketch
Just a simple drawing of a girl lying down in a foreshortened position. I didn't do a very good job on her hair, it looks a bit messy.
"Man seated with hands on stool" Rendered charcoal drawing
This drawing came out well even though I was quite tired when I started it.
I put a lot of effort into the shading and I tried to vary the intensity of the outlines depending on if that area of the body was in shadow or not.
One regret is that I didn't draw the stool in, it looks like he is awkwardly crouching in space which of course he wasn't! A picture like this will always look better if the pose seems relaxed, without the stool it looks a bit odd.
"Girl with pillow" Reclining charcoal figure drawing
This type of pose can be difficult, most of the drawing time is spent working out where everything is.
I don't think I quite captured the perspective, her head and arm should have been slightly smaller, but apart from that I'm quite happy with this one. Both of her hands look nice and relaxed too.
"Girl sitting with arm back" Seated life drawing of a female model
I'm very happy with this drawing. I didn't draw the whole figure this time so I could focus on the detail of the face and upper body. I drew her face very quickly and it worked out nicely. I also like how her legs just fade off the bottom of the picture.
"Man leaning on block" Figure drawing of a dynamic twisted pose
This is a really interesting pose, unfortunately I didn't get enough time to do all the shading. It still has a nice relaxed feel to it though.
"Girl leaning over from back" Charcoal nude
This is a quick scan from my sketchbook. There are some nice light and shadow shapes in the pose and I think her hair turned out well. I should have spent more time on her hands though.
"Crouching man's back" Quick charcoal sketch
Just a quick sketch of a man's back in charcoal pencil on white paper.
You can still see the light construction lines where I mapped out his spine, rib cage, and shoulder blades.
"Sitting man's side" Quick figure drawing
Just a simple drawing that I liked of a man sitting on the floor from the side.
"6 girls from my sketchbook" 3 minute life drawings
This is a page of 3 minute drawings from my sketchbook. When I'm drawing well it's nice to see the model in different poses all together on the one page.
Something like this would be nice to frame if it was drawn on toned paper with colored chalk.
"Cute girl" Tonal drawing
I love the way she is holding her hands and how she is looking at them, it creates a beautiful focal point for the drawing. This girl was a brilliant model.
"Reclining girl with pillow" 30 minute life drawing
"Girl reclining on back" Charcoal life drawing
There are some nice lines in this drawing but I think her hand is slightly too small.
"Foreshortened girl sitting" Figure drawing
I really like this pose but it's not a very good sketch considering how long it took me. Some days I just can't draw as well!
"Sitting girl in burgundy" Simple life drawing
There is not much to this drawing because I only had 10 minutes to do it. You can see how I start constructing the drawing, especially the rib cage.
"Nude series on blue paper" Three minute life drawings
This is a series of four, three minute life drawings of a female model. I quite often draw a number of quick sketches on the same page because it can look nice seeing the same model in a variety of poses.
"Reclining girl's back" Figure drawing on grey paper
This is pretty much just an outline (no shading) but I love the proportions, very nice.
I think if I had more time, adding white charcoal highlights would have made a huge difference to the drawing.
Best Charcoal For Life Drawing
The General's Charcoal pencils are my favorite medium for life drawing.
Here's why I think they're the best:
- They have a beautiful sooty texture.
- They have strong charcoal leads that rarely break.
- They make minimal mess because they're in pencil form.
- They come in white which is perfect for highlights on toned paper.
- And there are many grades to choose from.
It works out cheaper to buy these in the following set:
- 3 × charcoal pencils (6B, 4B, 2B)
- 1 × white charcoal pencil
- 1 × kneadable eraser (Bonus!)
I highly recommend you try these out! (Amazon link)
See more of my recommended life drawing mediums.