Choose a landscape image from our free reference photo collection on Flickr.
Before starting on the final drawing, spend at least an hour playing around and making marks on newsprint (or any other inexpensive paper) to see what wet charcoal is capable of doing! Use paper that is about 18″ x 24″ so you have plenty of room.
Place towels on the floor that you can put your finished drawings on. The drawings dry fairly fast, so it’s okay to place a wet drawing on top of another wet drawing.
Create an 18″ x 24″ wet charcoal drawing, using the landscape image you chose from our photo collection as a very loose reference. The purpose of this assignment is not to replicate an accurate drawing of the photo, rather it’s to use the reference as a starting point so you can take it in any direction.
Compressed charcoal or a black soft pastel. Note that vine charcoal will not work for this technique. Newsprint is good for the experimentation segment. For the finished drawing you may want thicker paper like watercolor paper which will be less fragile. A spray bottle is handy to wet your paper.
Artists for inspiration
Norman Ackroyd, Caspar David Friedrich, Michael Mazur, Eric Fischl’s monotypes.
Wet Charcoal: Techniques
Art Prof Clara Lieu demonstrates techniques for wet charcoal drawing. Prof Lieu shows how to use a spray bottle, newsprint, and compressed charcoal in order to experiment with making abstract strokes on the paper to create a dynamic and engaging range of contrasting marks.
Wet Charcoal: Landscapes
Art Prof Clara Lieu demonstrates how to draw landscapes with wet charcoal drawing techniques. Prof Lieu shows how to use a spray bottle, newsprint, and compressed charcoal in order to experiment with making abstract strokes on the paper to create a dynamic and engaging range of contrasting marks.