In this post, I'm going to tell you why you should consider mixing charcoal with graphite.
A while ago, I made a video about things I had learned about charcoal.
Something I've never shared, though, is that sometimes I like to mix charcoal with graphite, as I did in these two drawings.
The reason I sometimes mix charcoal with my graphite is because sometimes I want something to be truly black, such as the sweater on the woman in the one drawing, and the bars of the gate in the other, and even the darkest graphite pencils and shading sticks don't get truly black. The darkest you can get with them is a very dark gray. I think charcoal pencils are great for small areas, like the pupils of people's eyes, but for both of the above drawings, I used compressed charcoal, which looks like this.
The thickness of compressed charcoal allows me to cover an area much more quickly and smoothly than I could with a pencil. I demonstrate this from 1:18 to 3:09 of the video below.
The only downside to this is, because charcoal is so soft, it smears easily. To that end, try as hard as you can not to touch it. You also might want to try using a workable fixative. This is something you can spray on the charcoal portion of your drawing, which will lock it in place, but while still allowing you to continue working.
You don't have to mix charcoal with your graphite, but I wanted to let you know it's an option.
There’s a popular artist on youtube named Leonardo Pereznieto, who’s channel is called Fine Art-Tips. I’m on his email list and it was an email I got about just this topic, mixing charcoal with graphite to make your blacks really black, that inspired this video.
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Painter of portraits and wildlife