Charcoal is one of the most versatile drawing media available, capable of rich, velvety darks, easily achieved midtones, and subtle shading differences. It is an easy medium to learn, albeit messy—and there are ways to control that characteristic. A full range of tonal values can be developed much faster and easier with charcoal than with graphite. We have already discussed the term chiaroscuro, which describes the appearance of strong, high-contrast lighting on the subject matter. Charcoal is the ideal medium for creating a high-contrast, dramatic drawing that epitomizes the meaning of chiaroscuro.
In these first few techniques ...