What is charcoal art and why is it so popular

What is charcoal art and why is it so popular

Posted on September 29th, 2022

Charcoal art might be a new term for many of us. Many might be aware of this but don’t have much knowledge. So are you also among them? Then here we are with a brief article on Charcoal art and why is it so popular. All you need to do is just read till the end.

What is charcoal art?

Charcoal art is a form of art in which charcoal powder and different types of charcoal- vine, compressed, pencil form is used. Charcoal has remained a popular medium for drawing since the Renaissance. The medium is prized for its ability to produce an interplay between light and shadow known as chiaroscuro.

History of charcoal art?

Charcoal was the first tool that early humans used to make artwork, in caves. This type of painting was done around 28,000 years ago. Then later artists refined the medium from burnt wood to finely-ground charcoal bound with wax or gum into sticks, crayons, and pencils. Around the late 19th century Georges Seurat perfected charcoal drawing.

Types of Charcoal used

Most artists recommend charcoal pencils to beginners.

  • Some of its other types are:
  • Willow or Vine charcoal
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Charcoal powder
  • Charcoal art Techniques and Tools 


When using charcoal to draw, a few tools will need to be at your disposal. First, you may need a variety of different types of charcoal- vine, compressed, pencil form. You will also want to have a kneaded eraser.

Kneaded Eraser – A kneaded eraser is a special type of eraser that is designed to lift the material off of the surface. Kneaded erasers work especially well with charcoal.

Blending Stumps – You may also want to have a blending stump. A blending stump will allow you to have full control over the blending and smearing of the charcoal. You can create a blending stump by tightly rolling up drawing paper to a point.

If you are drawing on a flat surface, it’s also a good idea to have a paper towel handy. You can lay the paper towel between your hand and the surface of the drawing so that your hand doesn’t smear your work.


Charcoal drawings can be loose or they can be rendered to a high degree of realism. Because of its characteristics, charcoal can easily be spread, blended, and erased. This allows the artist to use charcoal in a variety of ways. One way of creating unique marks is by using the eraser to remove the lighter values (tints). This method is called “Highlight Rendering”

As Artist Prasanna Narayanan says, “you should be very patient while drawing with the charcoal.”

“Charcoal art is completely different from drawing with a pencil. Most people are used to drawing with a pencil, so it may take some time to become accustomed to charcoal. But don’t worry, you will get better with time,” she further adds.

Prasanna Narayanan is a very versatile artist who made a very good painting of our Hon’ble Prime Minister and gifted him. Prime Minister praised him for this as it was very beautiful.

Source: TSM 

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We only send out periodic Newsletters when we have new News!