Coal, sipia, sauce

Coal, sipia, sauce

The softness of charcoal and pressed crayons makes it easier to work with tones in graphics, and sharpened charcoal pencils allow you to achieve maximum detail even on a small canvas.


Although charcoal is mainly used for sketches and under-drawings, graphic artists choose it as the main material for work. Albrecht Durer (a Renaissance artist known for realistic portraits and an abundance of details) achieved an amazing realism of the image of skin and hair, age pigmentation, texture of matter, etc. by combining several techniques of working with charcoal.

Sanguine and sepia

Red-brown shades of sepia, sanguine and other crayons with natural pigments are ideal for transmitting the natural tones of human skin. Leonardo da Vinci used this property in his legendary anatomical drawings, portraits and self-portraits. Crayons easily fill the space: try large-format sketches of nature and countryside and feel how much easier the material lies in comparison with a pencil.

Depending on the density of the pigment concentration and the percentage of wax in the composition, crayons and pencils can be darker or lighter. These materials mix well and blend into each other, they are easy to shade, and pencils are suitable for detailed study of the drawing.


One of the softest materials in graphic drawing. Foreign artists hardly know about him, but he was popular among the best Russian painters – Repin, Savrasov, Kramskoy, etc. The sauce practically does not lend itself to dry shading, so it is impossible to work out details through hatching.

The expressiveness of the graphics written with sauce is achieved through a combination of "watercolor" and the traditional method of applying pigment. The surface of the drawing is covered with a general tone, then the brightest places are highlighted with an eraser or a nag. Dark areas are painted over with a dry layer of sauce or charcoal after the substrate has completely dried. Due to the viscosity of the material and the impossibility of detailed hatching, the sauce is not produced in a pencil shell. Do you want to try working out large details with sauce? Sharpen the chalk to a point with a penknife. Save the loose pigment to use for wet painting. There are 10 basic shades of sauce. They include a black and gray palette, natural shades of yellow and green, brown tones, gray, etc. Beginners are recommended to limit themselves to 2-3 dark shades: even a small bar of sauce will be enough for 1-3 years of fruitful work, if you use mainly a liquid method of applying pigment.

Modern painters acquire ready-made charcoal. To learn how to choose it skillfully, it is necessary to constantly practice and try the products of different companies, because very often when choosing a material, artists focus mainly on personal preferences. However, some of the most famous producers of charcoal for painting can still be singled out.

Types of charcoal for drawing

There are two types of drawing charcoal: ordinary charcoal and pressed charcoal. Pressed is blacker and greasier than wood. It is made from coal powder (while using the blackest varieties), with the use of vegetable glue as a binder. Pressed coal is sold in the form of sticks, they come in three hardness numbers.

Pressed coal, like wood, requires fixing. Although it keeps on paper a little better. Charcoal drawing paper

When working with coal, you need to use rough paper, it crumbles from a perfectly smooth surface. You can use paper for pastels or special for charcoal. An interesting pictorial effect can be obtained using watercolor paper – eggshell, canvas, linen. You can also use a dense drawing board, having previously rubbed it with fine sandpaper or a rigid elastic band. Interesting works can also be done using tinted paper, white chalk or pastel can be used to create highlights on it.

To work, the paper is fixed on the tablet, having previously moistened it with water. After drying, the paper will stretch evenly, and it will be convenient to work on it.

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