Charcoal, it seems, is a somewhat misunderstood art material.

For me it’s always been a favourite tool – I love its wild nature, its versatility, and the tactile experience of using it. But talking about it, I’ve noticed, garners mixed responses. Of course many people do love it, but just as many are wary or resistant.

Perhaps you aren’t familiar with how to use it, or you’re put off because it’s messy, or you don’t feel confident about how to make it work for you.

Charcoal in art dates back to cave paintings from over 30,000 years ago, and for a long time it was just used for sketching and planning paintings, not as a material in its own right. In fact, it wasn’t until the 19th century that that started to change.

So in historical terms, it’s relatively new on the scene as a tool for jubilant self expression. :)

In response to the doubt and confusion surrounding this magical material, and because I like any excuse to a} use charcoal and b} create something fun and arty and useful, I’m putting together a course called, shockingly, Expressive Charcoal.

It’s currently under construction, but here’s a taste of what it will include:

  • Charcoal 101 – the different types, how they can be used, how to protect and fix your charcoal art, tools to use with charcoal
  • A look at some artists using charcoal to make beautifully expressive art from which to draw inspiration
  • Lots of exercises to start getting comfortable, then confident, with charcoal
  • Using charcoal with other media
  • A focus on gesture, liveliness, rhythm, and response {if you’re looking for help with realism, this isn’t the one for you}
  • A range of subject matter, but mostly abstract, figurative, and anything with movement in it {and don’t worry, you don’t need to have mastered any of that to take the course!}
  • And of course lots of videos, ideas, prompts, resources and inspiration, and an invitation to my private Facebook group for sharing and feedback

My aim is that by the end, you’ll be familiar enough with the joys of charcoal to be able to play freely with it in your own work.

If this sounds interesting to you, I’ve created a page where you can register your interest with no obligation. That means when it’s ready I can alert you directly with more information and you can see how you feel about it then.

As yet there’s no set date for this course, but it will be sometime in the first half of 2017. It’s likely it’ll be a shorter course too. You can click the image below to sign up to be kept in the loop.


Click on the image to find out more and register your interest. :) And if you have any charcoal related questions please feel free to share them in the comments, and I’ll make sure to cover them in the course!

Hello artist friend!


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