Matthew James Taylor 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

Girl leaning on chair
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
28 Jun 2012
Time
20 minutes

This is a nice, relaxed pose. I love how her hands are just a shape.

"Girl reclining head on hand" Charcoal drawing

Girl reclining head on hand
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
17 May 2006
Time
20 minutes

This is a really nice and simple reclining pose.

"Great seated pose" Charcoal figure drawing

Great seated pose
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
6 Dec 2005
Time
5 minutes

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

Seated girl head on hand
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
6 Dec 2005
Time
30 minutes

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

Man on tall stool
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
1 Dec 2005

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

Softly drawn girl
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
29 Nov 2005
Time
1.5 hours

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:

Softly drawn girl: Detail
Detail of the model's face and hair

See more of my portraits.

"Foreshortened girl" Charcoal sketch

Foreshortened girl
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
3 Nov 2005
Time
10 minutes

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

Man seated with hands on stool
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
18 Oct 2005
Time
1 hour 10 minutes

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

Girl with pillow
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
13 Oct 2005
Time
20 minutes

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

Girl sitting with arm back
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
13 Oct 2005
Time
15 minutes

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

Man leaning on block
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
22 Sep 2005
Time
5 minutes

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

Girl leaning over from back
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
15 Sep 2005
Time
30 minutes

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

Crouching man's back
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
16 May 2005
Time
5 minutes

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

Sitting man's side
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
16 May 2005
Time
5 minutes

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

6 girls from my sketchbook
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
18 Apr 2005
Time
3 minutes each

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

Cute girl
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
19 Oct 2004
Time
1 hour and 20 minutes

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

Reclining girl with pillow
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
10 Aug 2004
Time
30 minutes

"Girl reclining on back" Charcoal life drawing

Girl reclining on back
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
10 Aug 2004
Time
30 minutes

There are some nice lines in this drawing but I think her hand is slightly too small.

"Foreshortened girl sitting" Figure drawing

Foreshortened girl sitting
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on white art paper
Date
8 Jun 2004
Time
15 minutes

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

Sitting girl in burgundy
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on burgundy paper
Date
4 May 2004
Time
10 minutes

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

Nude series on blue paper
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on blue paper
Date
4 May 2004
Time
3 minutes each

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

Reclining girl's back
Artist
Matthew James Taylor
Medium
Charcoal on grey paper
Date
4 May 2004
Time
10 minutes

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.

General's Charcoal pencils black and white
My charcoal pencils might be dirty but I still love them! ♥

Here's why I think they're the best:

It works out cheaper to buy these in the following set:

I highly recommend you try these out! (Amazon link)

See more of my recommended life drawing mediums.

Life drawings drawn with different pose times from 1 minute to two hours

Life Drawing & Pose Time (From 1 Minute to 2 Hours)

Best Life Drawing Mediums (Plus Examples, Tips & Techniques)

My standard life drawing equipment

Best Life Drawing Equipment (What to Bring to a Class)

Chalk life drawing with Conté Crayon

Chalk Life Drawings (Conté Crayon Vs Chalk Pencil)

Graphite Pencil Life Drawing

Graphite Pencil Life Drawing (Rendering & Sketch Examples)

Sepia ink life drawing

Ink Life Drawing (6 Experiments with Nibs & Brushes)

Detail of a male model in white charcoal

White Charcoal Life Drawing On Toned Paper

Charcoal still life drawing of my shoe

Still Life (Drawings & Paintings)

Black and white charcoal study of folded fabric

Drapery Drawing (Folded Fabric Studies in Charcoal & Pencil)

A charcoal portrait of Angela reading a book

Portraiture (Exploring Different Mediums, Styles & Techniques)

A nice sharp pencil

The Art of Sharpening Pencils (Styles & Techniques)

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