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Let’s start with art

Part 1 Charcoal Whether you are just beginning to paint or want to try a new medium, Linda Birch begins a new series discussing the uses of popular media

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

What is charcoal?

The materials you will need

Tips and techniques for drawing with charcoal

Charcoal is a marvellous simple-to-use medium. It may be messy at times, but it is such a rewarding material and its versatility far outweighs a smudged nose or dirty hands. Charcoal yields results so quickly and relatively easily that it is a great confidence builder if you are new to this medium.

Charcoal is probably the oldest art tool used by mankind. Somebody somewhere a long time ago took a burnt branch from the fire and made marks on a rock face that can still be seen today in cave artwork.

Popularly, charcoal is known as a medium to draw out an image, prior to an oil painting. However it is also an exciting tool for strong, sensitive, expressive and atmospheric drawing, as it yields an immense range of subtle tones, which is the key to all good painting. When teaching beginners I introduce them to charcoal before beginning to paint, because of its tonal versatility.

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About Leisure Painter

Have fun as you learn to paint with Leisure Painter. Aimed at beginners and amateur painters, this month's magazine offers step-by-step demonstrations, tutorials, projects from photographs, illustrated techniques and tips and techniques for painting with watercolour, acrylic, water-mixable oils, pastel, coloured pencils, ink and other drawing media. Find out how to paint seasonal landscapes, seascapes, wildlife, flowers and figures. There's also an article on mindful drawing techniques and one artist's experience of painting a large-scale mural on a remote tropical island. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.