Category Archives: Charcoal Drawings

Drawings done in charcoal.

Jana’s Sheep

I have been keeping from posting this drawing for some time now.  A very good friend of mine, (check out her amazing knitting blog! ) and I decided we’d enjoy doing an art swap.  So we both did an artwork in secret and then exchanged the drawings by mail.  We then had a Skype chat so we could exchange them face-to-face, as we live a long way from each other.  What fun that was!

She did the most amazing watercolor painting of a flock of sheep grazing on a lush, grassy field beside the ocean.  I am so thrilled to have this beautiful painting.  It is spectacular!  Thank you, Jana! 🙂 🙂

Jana kindly gave me permission to post her wonderful painting, so I’m going to do it so you all can see how great it is!


Jana's Painting

Isn’t it just beautiful?  It’s so serene and peaceful.  The colors are even more vibrant in real life.

Here is what I did for the swap.  My friend, I think, likes this drawing so I am very glad for that.  It was such a fun swap!

Jana’s Sheep

– The drawing is 5×7 inches and drawn on Strathmore gray tinted Pastel Paper, if I recall correctly.

– I used Faber-Castell Pitt Artist pens for this, mainly the brush tip size of various grays and blacks.  For the wool, I made some vague, light colored marks with my pen and then finished it by using a very sharp white charcoal pencil to pull off the fuzzy, abstract look of the sheep’s wool.

Jana's Sheep CR

Thanks for looking!


Posted by on July 10, 2014 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings, Pen and Ink


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Gift Horse (Er…Drawing)

Last November, the Southwestern/Western Art Forum from WetCanvas held an Art Swap, where pairs of names are drawn and each person must complete a work of art to trade with their partner in the swap.  It was the first time I had taken part in this, and I had a lot of fun with it!  This is what I drew to send to my partner.  In return, I got a very beautiful southwestern landscape painted in oils. 🙂

I knew time would be short for this swap project, so I chose to draw with my quickest medium, charcoal.  Ink or graphite would have been too slow, and paint, while fast, still isn’t in my comfort zone.  I’d been longing to draw with charcoal anyway.

“Gift Horse” (I just chose this title now.)

-8×10 inches in size.

-Charcoal on watercolor paper.  The golden colors of the paint on the horse’s face are drawn with tinted charcoal.

Hope you like it.  Thanks for looking! 🙂


Posted by on February 8, 2012 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings


Chief in Charcoal

Here is an older one (while I try to get my act together on the Boxer drawing).  I used a rather different method of drawing for this piece.  I covered the whole paper with a reasonable layer of charcoal, and then erased out the image.  It was fun, and maybe I’ll do something like this again one day.

It is 5×7 inches in size, and drawn with charcoal.  I assume this was drawn on some sort of charcoal paper, as the texture is quite pronounced.  The paper is a natural, sandstone sort of color.  I liked the way it looked with the charcoal.  This is one of those drawings that looks better from a distance than it does up close. 😉

For lack of a better title, I call this “Chief in Charcoal”.

Thanks for looking.


Posted by on November 13, 2011 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings


A Horse with a Strong Will

This is one that was inspired by a stunning sculpture I once saw in a magazine.  I loved the passion and the strength of the horse, and decided to draw something somewhat similar.  This is the result.

This one hasn’t really got a title (titles are not my strong suit! 😉 ), so I guess I’ll call it…


-Drawn with charcoal.

-I used watercolor paper for this.  You can see the heavy texture of the paper; I love this for charcoal, because you can really grind the darks deep into the paper.

This is approximately 8×8 inches in size.

Please excuse the poor photo…it isn’t easy to photograph artwork – especially with this rough paper.  You may click this image to see it larger.  Thank you for looking!


Posted by on October 14, 2011 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings


Bethlehem…All done

Well, this is finally finished.  I wasn’t very sleepy the other night, so I sat down at my table with the tv on nice and quiet and got back at this.  It was around 2:00 AM before I was ready to let it rest for the night.  I made a few more adjustments the next afternoon, and am now calling this complete.

I reworked the background toward the left of the image.  I wasn’t happy with the way the hills were a bit higher than the buildings…they seemed to be competing with the foreground that way.  So, I did some erasing and pushed them down a little so they were flatter and also simplified them so they weren’t pulling the eye from the foreground and the more important part of the drawing.  I did a lot of touching up of the details throughout the drawing, since charcoal seems to smear if you so much as look at it!  I also ended up blending the camel and most of the people and goats and sheep gently with tortillians so they were softer.  I also added some more detail to the brick buildings.  All in all, a lot of little things were tweaked here and there.

I considered using some white charcoal to make the highlights really pop, but ended up going without.  While I love the look of white charcoal, it tends to really glow, so it’s not very subtle.  Also, if it should get mixed with the regular charcoal, it creates an ugly, blue/gray muddy color that never looks good.  The whitest part of this drawing is that distant building in the center of the drawing, and I didn’t really think it was necessary for that building to stand out any more than it already does.

So, after this long WIP, I thank you for following along and for the kind comments along the way.  I appreciate it very much.  I hope you enjoyed the process, and I hope you like the drawing.

…Now, just to spray this with fixative (several times, with charcoal!), and deliver it to my client.


11×14 inches


– Graphite mechanical pencil (for the preliminary sketch)

– General’s Peel and Sketch pencils (sharpened frequently with an X-Acto knife)

– Bostik Blu-Tack (as a kneaded eraser)

– Sanford Tuff Stuff Eraser Stick

– Tortillians and Blending stumps

Drawn on Strathmore Windpower Watercolor paper (cold press 140 lb.)

Thanks for looking!


Posted by on May 12, 2011 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings


Another Bethlehem Update

I am nearing the finish of this drawing.  I spent a few hours on it this afternoon and now there is almost no paper left uncovered.  I still have some small adjustments and tweaks to do, but it is nearly done.  The rolling hills/background toward the left side are something I’m not thrilled with.  It’s hard to know just how to capture the distance effectively.  I expect that letting it rest overnight is necessary and will be helpful for that issue.  I find that if I work too long on a drawing in one sitting, I end up getting a little frustrated with it, so it was time to let it set.

The sky was done with some very light, careful layers (almost like a dusting) of charcoal, and then a thorough rubbing with a larger sized, well-used blending stump.  For even, thorough coverage, I rub very firmly in a tight, circular motion with the blending stump.

Thanks for looking.  I hope to finish this up very soon!


Posted by on April 28, 2011 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings


Bethlehem WIP Update

After much too long a break, I finally got back at this commission.  It’s slowly but surely coming along.  The detail on the people and animals is so tricky because they’re about the size of ants on this drawing, and to try to capture gesture, movement, even expression, on that scale is next to impossible.  But, I always have been a fan of a good challenge.  The foreground beneath the camel and people in the center of the drawing and toward the left was quickly filled in and will need more attention and, obviously, much deeper darks.  The distant building near the center of the drawing will need a little more detail, though I want to leave it pale and a bit vague to suggest the distance.

Any comments are always appreciated, including constructive criticism, if you see anything off.  Thank you for looking.


Posted by on April 21, 2011 in All Artwork, Charcoal Drawings