Do I Need to Use an Easel?

When you start drawing most people draw flat on a table but if you can access an easel then I would recommend using one.  Some learners feel quite intimidated by the easel, with all its screws and parts they seem cumbersome and unnecessary.  It might be worth giving it a try and seeing how you get on because drawing or painting on an easel is quite a different experience to drawing flat.

Give the Easel a Chance

At first it will seem a bit strange to anyone who is used to working flat on a desk or table because you are standing up usually instead of sitting.  The other thing that feels very different is the angle of the paper, it is upright on an easel rather than flat. 

If you have never used an easel don’t be scared to try

Continue reading “Do I Need to Use an Easel?”

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Pencil or Charcoal?

When I start teaching beginner drawing classes the materials I put out are pencils and charcoal.  I soon noticed that some learners were confused by the choice and don’t know which to pick.  This is because they are not sure of the differences between the two and in particular they know very little about charcoal.

How is charcoal different to pencil?

Charcoal is produced by burning twigs.  The smoldering wood, usually willow results in a sooty black that makes a dark, rich, smooth line that can be smudged with ease.

Willow Charcoal
Willow Charcoal

Charcoal comes in stick form, willow charcoal is the most common and they look ‘twig -like’ being long and thin.  Below is a thicker type of stick of charcoal know as ‘compressed charcoal’ the result is a thicker, blacker line more like a pastel.  Both types are very versatile and encourage a bolder, more free line than pencil can give. Changing the pressure will give varying tones, much like pencil but charcoal can give very dark, black areas.

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