Embrace the mess! Learn to use charcoal for expressive art

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’ve put together a course called, shockingly, Expressive Charcoal.

Here’s a taste of what it includes:

  • 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.


Expressive CharcoalIf this sounds interesting to you, click here or the image on the left to learn more and sign up.