Charcoal sketches landscape

Charcoal sketches landscape DEFAULT

The traditional drawing medium of charcoal is a favorite for many artists.  Charcoal produces rich tones and high contrast.   It is easily blended and erased allowing the artist to produce a variety of effects in an artwork.

Charcoal is manufactured in a variety of forms as well. Vine charcoal produces softer marks that are easily removed and blended, while compressed charcoal produces darker tones.  

Many oil and acrylic painters choose to draw out compositions on canvas with the softer vine charcoal prior to applying paint because of it's softness. Compressed charcoal is best suited for pushing darker values in a work, but is harder to erase or influence with smudging.

How to Draw a Landscape with Charcoal.

Why Use a Charcoal Pencil?

While the traditional forms of charcoal are great for most applications, some artists prefer the control that you can get from using a pencil.  Using traditional sticks of vine and compressed charcoal make it a bit more difficult to develop the details that some subjects will require. In these situations, the best solution may be to use a charcoal pencil.

A charcoal pencil is simply compressed charcoal material encased within a wooden or paper wrapped pencil. 

Types of Charcoal Pencils

How to Sharpen a Charcoal Pencil

Wood encased charcoal pencils can be sharpened as a traditional pencil using a pencil sharpener. For pencils too large to sharpen with a traditional sharpener, a knife is a good substitute. If a knife is used, be sure to carve away from your body.

Paper wrapped charcoal pencils should not be sharpened using a traditional pencil sharpener.  These pencils have a small string encased with the wrapping.  To sharpen, pull the string down a couple of centimeters, and peel the paper.

How to sharpen a charcoal pencil

The paper will unravel to reveal the shaft of compressed charcoal inside.

To sharpen the pencil to a nice sharp tip, you can use a sandpaper sharpening pad.  Simply rub the tip of the charcoal pencil over the sandpaper, rotating it as go. 

Drawing with Charcoal Pencils

You can draw with charcoal pencils just like you would with a graphite drawing pencil.  However, you may want to experiment with different drawing grips. A variety of marks can be made by just changing the way that you hold the pencil. 

Keep in mind that charcoal pencils have compressed charcoal inside of them.  Compressed charcoal is much harder to erase than vine charcoal, so marks should be light during the early stages of a drawing.  As you become more confident with your composition, you can apply more pressure on the pencil to produce darker marks.

Recommended Materials for This Tutorial

  • Charcoal Pencils
  • Powdered Charcoal
  • Drawing Paper
  • Eraser Pencil

The Process

In the video, the drawing is approached using a four step process.

  1. Sketch out the composition
  2. Apply powdered charcoal
  3. Draw the details
  4. Erase out the highlights

First, the image is sketched out loosely and lightly.  The basic shapes of the subjects are drawn organizing the composition.

Plan out the composition

With the initial sketch completed, a layer of powdered charcoal is applied to create a base tone for pushing dark and light values. This application will also help to create a "smoky" look to the drawing.

Apply powdered charcoal

With the powdered charcoal worked into the surface, the details can be added. Small circular strokes of varied intensities are made to create the textural illusion of leaves.

Add the details

Next, highlights and lighter values are erased out using a vinyl eraser. Breaks of light are added in and around the trees.

Erase out the highlights

Lastly, the charcoal pencil is used to develop the last bit of details.

Finish the charcoal pencil drawing.

The finished sketch can be fixed using a fixative to prevent the drawing from smudging.


Charcoal Pencil Drawing Landscape

Crashing waves original pencil artwork landscape seascape charcoal drawing sea. In this post we have collected 10 beautiful landscape drawings for your inspiration.

How To Draw A Landscape With Charcoal Pencil Step By Step Easy

How To Draw A Landscape With Charcoal Pencil Step By Step Easy
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Explore lisa fernandezs board charcoal landscapes followed by 204 people on pinterest. Find great deals on ebay for landscape pencil drawing. Drawing a waterfall in charcoal and white pastel is very easy to follow for beginners.

Or best offer 400 shipping. Landscape 7 charcoal drawing study of seashore landscape for. This art project is full of tips and techniques for artists of all skill levels.

From new to famous artists charcoal drawings on amazon art features works from a multitude of styles including contemporary figurative impression abstract and realism. In this video sean will demonstrate how to draw a landscape scene using graphite pencils. If you are looking for new ways to bring life to your sketches then watch this exciting free art lesson with professional artist sean dye.

You can draw with charcoal pencils just like you would with a graphite drawing pencil. However you may want to experiment with different drawing grips. Landscape drawing comprises the visible features of an area of land including mountains rivers lakes sea indigenous vegetation lighting weather conditions buildings and structures.

Realistic island drawing with pencil. Skip to main content. Amazon art houses the finest in pencil pastel ink charcoal crayon and chalk drawings.

All drawings are 100 hand sketched museum quality and delivered in 2 weeks. Keep in mind that charcoal pencils have compressed charcoal inside of them. 19th century pencil drawing vintage landscape castle lavernay 1838.

Drawing with charcoal pencils.

How To Draw With Charcoal Pencils A Landscape Sketch

How To Draw With Charcoal Pencils A Landscape Sketch
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Image Result For Easy Charcoal Drawing Landscape Charcoal Easy

Image Result For Easy Charcoal Drawing Landscape Charcoal Easy
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How To Draw With Charcoal Pencils Landscape Sketching Youtube

How To Draw With Charcoal Pencils Landscape Sketching Youtube
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Charcoal Drawings Landscape And Portrait Optimistic Art By

Charcoal Drawings Landscape And Portrait Optimistic Art By
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How To Draw A Landscape In Charcoal Arttutor

How To Draw A Landscape In Charcoal Arttutor
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Landscape Charcoal Drawings Hidden Vermont Landscape 2 Charcoal

Landscape Charcoal Drawings Hidden Vermont Landscape 2 Charcoal
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Easy Waterfall For Beginners Charcoal Drawing Youtube

Easy Waterfall For Beginners Charcoal Drawing Youtube
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Along With The Vibrant Colorful Landscape Pieces I D Like To Do

Along With The Vibrant Colorful Landscape Pieces I D Like To Do
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How To Draw A Landscape With Pencil And Charcoal Step By Step Youtube

How To Draw A Landscape With Pencil And Charcoal Step By Step Youtube
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One Kings Lane The Sophisticated Study Charcoal Landscape

One Kings Lane The Sophisticated Study Charcoal Landscape
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Trying some charcoal landscape drawing


Hi, I’m artist Lillian Gray and in today’s lesson, I am going to teach you various tips and tricks, and some advanced skills on how to use charcoal. At the end of the lesson, I will be showing you how to do a beautiful charcoal landscape, inspired by the famous South African artist William Kentridge.

Charcoal as a versatile Medium 

When working with charcoal, it is important to realize that it is an extremely versatile medium. It can range from super abstract, messy, loose, gestural lines to something that is super realistic. It all depends on how you apply the medium and how you work with it.  There are various kinds of charcoal that you can use when we draw. As artists using graphite, we tend to use a pencil set containing various kinds of pencils, so that we can achieve a large value scale

Charcoal, landscape, Kentridge

Some Realistic Charcoal Artists 

Robert Long

Dan Pyle

Elizabeth Gunther South African Artist

Some Expressive Charcoal Artists  

Dennis Creffield (1931-2018) British artist

Käthe Kollwitz (1867-1945) German artist

Leon Kossoff (1926-2019)

Frank Auerbach (born 1931) German-born painter, 

Henry Moore (1898-1986) 

Various types of Charcoal  

We have various kinds of charcoal. I would like to explain the various kinds of charcoal you can buy, as well as some additional tools that you will need to create a successful charcoal drawing.

Willow/Vine  Charcoal

First up is willow charcoal. Willow charcoal is probably in its most natural state. If you look closely you can actually see the little twigs, the branches, the knots in the wood. Willow charcoal is also known as vine charcoal since you can actually see the actual vine. They do come in various thicknesses. 

There are some thin ones and some thick ones, depending on what you buy. What’s important to know about the willow charcoal is that it breaks super easily. It has not been compressed, so it snaps easily and it makes an extremely light line. It can easily be erased and brushed to create a light gray. I love using willow charcoal to start building my base for my charcoal drawings.

Compressed Charcoal  

  • Hard 
  • Medium 
  • Soft
  • Extra Soft

Compressed charcoals come in a wide variety. You will usually find them in hard, medium, soft, and extra soft. They are made of ground charcoal that is mixed with gum and other binders. Then they get compressed together in a machine at various densities, which creates the medium, hard and soft. This charcoal is much darker and denser than willow or vine charcoal and it’s a bit more difficult to erase.

Charcoal Pencils 

Charcoal pencils contain a core of compressed charcoal that is then covered in a wooden shaft. It can be sharpened to a point, which is great when you want to add fine little details. You have to be very careful with your charcoal pencils. If they drop, the core of the pencil will shatter and break, which makes it a nightmare to work with, and to sharpen later. Charcoal pencils are also available in different colours where they add pigment to the charcoal when they manufacture it.

Woodless Charcoal Pencils

Woodless Charcoal pencils are slightly harder than willow and create a dark, rich mark. You can use them for covering large areas or creating fine lines. They are different from charcoal pencils that are placed in a wooden shaft. The woodless charcoal usually just has a hard lining around them.

Charcoal  Powder 

Charcoal powder usually comes in a tub. I prefer applying it with a fluffy makeup brush but you can also apply it with your blending stump, or with a bit of paper towel. This is great to quickly cover large areas in charcoal.

Other Charcoal Tools


  • Putty Eraser
  • Electric Eraser
  • Rubber Eraser

To create a successful charcoal drawing, you’re also going to be needing other tools in your kit. There are various kinds of erasers and I love having all of them when working with charcoal because every single one of them gives you a different mark-making technique. I use my erasers to draw with. They’re not there to really erase. They’re there to add highlights back into your artwork.

I have a putty eraser, also known as a kneadable eraser. I have an electric eraser that gives me beautiful fine lines. Then I have my plain old trusty rubber eraser. You can cut your rubber eraser using a blade to create a sharp mark to also add some finer lines into your artwork. When buying a rubber eraser, if you’ve got money to spare, opt for one that doesn’t lose flakes. You actually get wonderful erasers that do not create those little rubber hairs that get stuck in your artwork.

Paper Stumps & Tortillians 

Paper stumps come in various shapes and sizes and they are made of compressed paper that is tightly rolled. Paper stumps are super important because you do not want to use your fingers to smudge and blend your charcoal. When you use your fingers, all the oil on your hands, the hand sanitizer, last night’s lasagna, whatever you just touched will go onto your page and can potentially leave oily marks.


There are various ways to sharpen charcoal. For my compressed charcoal, I often use a little sanding block. It’s called a charcoal sharpener. You can also use a cutting knife to sharpen your compressed charcoal pencils. Charcoal is a very fragile medium and it needs to be stored properly. A good quality fixative will reduce the risk of smudging. A professional quality fixative will work best, but a tough hairspray is very economical if you’re on a budget. Let’s see all the tools in action.

All the art supplies that I am using today, you can buy online with us. The links are in the description down below.

What kind of paper to use for charcoal drawings 

What kind of paper to use when working with charcoal? A lot of people will recommend using a paper with a rough texture that has more tooth because this helps to give your charcoal something to grip to. You can also use charcoal on toned paper. It comes in beautiful varieties of colours.


When I’m trying to create a super realistic charcoal drawing, I opt for very smooth paper. In today’s lesson, I am using a 160 gram plain, smooth, white card.

Toned Paper

When I am creating a charcoal drawing on toned paper, I also add white using white content, or a white chalk pencil.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

  • Work on an easelPlace paper towel under your hand
  • Work from light to dark
  • Don’t combine graphite pencil with charcoal

Tips and tricks for when you are drawing with charcoal. To prevent smudging: I love working on an easel. When I tend to draw upright I mess and smudge a lot less than working flat on a table. I also love placing a piece of paper towel underneath my hand to prevent smudging. Don’t go too dark from the start, rather build towards your darks in layers.  

Some artists like to combine graphite pencil with charcoal. I strongly recommend against this. My reason is that pencil tends to have quite a shiny finish and I’ve often seen these beautiful charcoal drawings, and then you can spot those glimmers of shiny graphite marks. I don’t think they work that well together. if you want to draw your basic shapes very lightly with a pencil on your card do so, but do it quite lightly so you can’t see the graphite afterward.

The 7 elements of art

As artists, we are always applying the seven elements of art.

They are the building blocks of art. You can either apply them consciously or unconsciously, but I like being conscious about what I’m doing. I would recommend that you consider and think about which of these seven elements of art you are using in your artwork before you start. Very important is going to be line. Applying line quality: line quality is when we create a line that is not visually boring, that is thick, thin, hard, fast, exciting to engage with. So consider how you are going to create line and apply different mark-making techniques in your artwork.

Value is super important when working with charcoal because it also gives us another element of art which is form. We need to communicate the illusion of 3D on a 2D surface. So how are you going to apply your value to communicate form? To create the illusion of 3D. Another element of art that we are going to be using in this artwork is texture. We need to tell our viewers this is a shrub, this is grass, this is gravel, this is a fluffy cloud, this is the vast smooth expansion of the atmosphere, and how are we going to create that in our artwork using various textures?

What kind of mark-making techniques would communicate these various textures and elements in your artwork correctly? I would encourage you to do some medium exploration before you start. Medium exploration is when you play around with a specific medium such as watercolour, oil paints, pen and pencils, exploring various mark-making techniques.

Some of the most helpful advice that I have received as an artist is to simply press on. When you’re halfway with your artwork, it usually sucks and it looks terrible and you might have somebody walk into the room going “what’s that?” and they think it’s an apple and actually you’re doing a landscape or whatever the situation is. Just keep on going do not abandon your artwork. You’re just not done yet. Keep at it until it looks stunning and you create that wow moment.

Other Tools 

Various Techniques 

Medium Exploration

Charcoal Techniques

There are various mark-making techniques that you can apply when working with charcoal.

  • Hatching – parallel hatching and cross-hatching
  • Rubbing – Paper towel and blending stumps
  • Blending – paper stumps
  • Lifting – remove charcoal with erasers  

Some of the most common ones are hatching, which can either be parallel hatching or cross-hatching, rubbing, that we do with tortillas or paper towel. Blending that we usually do with our paper stumps, lifting when we actually remove some of the charcoal off our page by using our various erasers.

Now that you know all the various tips and tricks, and techniques in drawing with charcoal, let’s create an amazing artwork together.  In today’s lesson, I would like to show you how to create a beautiful landscape inspired by the famous South African artist William Kentridge. If you would like to know more about William Kentridge, please watch my videos that I have created on William Kentridge’s life, themes, and styles.

Step 1 – Plan your artwork 

Step one is to plan your artwork. I always tell my students, good art takes planning. Just take a moment to do some quick thumbnail sketches. We call them scamps, and decide on your composition, your structure, and pick the best layout for your artwork. Also just take a moment to think about the steps that you need to follow to create this artwork.

Step 2 – Find a good reference 

Find a good reference for your artwork. Unsplash is a website with various images for artists that are not copyrighted. It means you can sell this artwork afterward. You’re allowed to use it in your artwork and all they ask is that you link back to Unsplash.  When selecting a photo to work with, make sure it has a good value range, where there are beautiful dark areas and beautiful highlights, and you can also see all the details in between. I would recommend converting your reference to black and white. This really helps you to discern the various values.

Step 3 – Draw basic shapes

Let’s draw the basic shapes. For step three we need to simplify our reference into basic shapes. There are five basic shapes: a triangle, circle, square, oval, and rectangle. As artists, we use these to make drawings super easy.

Here you can see how I have simplified my reference into basic shapes. Once you have drawn your basic shapes it is really important to double-check your proportions. The drawing is the foundation of your artwork and you want to build on a solid foundation.

Step 4 – Draw the outlines

I am now going to commit to where my outline is on my artwork. I usually use fine charcoal or willow charcoal, because it’s light and easy to erase.

charcoal, landscape, Kentridge

Step 5 – Shadows 

For this step, I usually switch to compressed charcoal to start placing the darker tonal areas.

charcoal, landscape, Kentridge

Step 6 – Midtones 

Here I usually start smudging my charcoal with paper towel to create a good strong base for my drawing.

Charcoal, drawing, landscape, Kentridge

Step 7 – Highlights 

I add highlights and lighter areas back into my artwork, using my various erasers, bringing back the light to certain areas and emphasizing the form. 

charcoal, landscape, Kentridge

Step 8 – Details 

I now start adding finer marks and thin lines, and all the little details using my charcoal pencils.

charcoal, landscape, Kentridge

Step 9 – Refine

I start building up the layers and the complexity of my artwork and I really ensure that every single element is well crafted. As a checklist for myself, I usually run through the seven elements of art.

 Have I applied them all successfully?

Optional Extra

I am going to add an optional extra. You don’t have to do this, but because today’s artwork is inspired by the famous William Kentridge, I’m going to add one of his signature moves, and that is to add either a blue line or a red line to his artwork. Now, why does he do this?

charcoal, landscape, Kentridge

William Kentridge is known for his charcoal animations. So often the line is animated in his films to draw our attention to a specific aspect of the story or the narrative. In his film Felix in exile, the red line is reserved for the character Nandi’s perspective, and she uses it to mark out the violence on the landscape. In his other films, a blue line often symbolizes communication and the way mass media works, so it really depends on the narrative and that specific artwork that he used it in.

charcoal, drawing, Kentridge, landscape

For this artwork, I’m going to add a striking blue line. For the blue line, I would recommend using soft blue pastel and not really an oil pastel because the soft pastel is much chalkier and has the same kind of texture as charcoal.


Step 10 – Protect your artwork 

Now that you are done with your beautiful drawing I would recommend protecting it. We do so by spraying fixative and framing it behind glass.

And that’s it. That’s how I created a beautiful landscape inspired by artist William Kentridge. I hope all of you enjoyed this lesson.

Visit our blog and Youtube channel for more amazing art ideas



Understanding Kentridge

Prior to 1994:

Drawing of Projections 01

Drawing of Projections 02:

Mine Short Film:

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Landscape charcoal sketches

Auguste Allongé was a French artist born on March 19, 1833 in Paris. He is known for his charcoal art and landscape works. He belonged to the Barbizon School movement which was popular in France at the time.

At the age of 20, Allongé attended the Imperial School of Fine Arts or Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1852 and learned under artists Leon Cogninet and Ducornet. He also received a medal in 1853.

Allongé’s introduction to charcoal painting

Allongé first tried his hand at historical painting. However, he became successful with his charcoal landscape sketches. Allongé went on to become one of the most popular illustrators.

He also taught art, basically landscape art. His studio, where he taught art was located inNo. 6 passage Stanislas in Paris. This was in 1896. One of his famous students was Charles Bornait-Legueule.

Charcoal Drawing – Book

One of his well-known work is a book, Charcoal Drawing, explaining the charcoal art. It was published in 1873 and is a small book with only one volume. It has been translated into several languages.

In the book, he said that charcoal is used for sketches, most of the time. He also tried to give the type of art a finished look which many artists don’t do.

The introduction for the book has been given by C.C. Perrins, Esq., and a Heliotype frontpiece for the coverpage. The cover page is of a small sketch by Allongé.

Allongé died on July 4, 1898 in Bourron-Marlotte.

Some of Allongé’s famous charcoal sketches were Landscape (1870) and Woodland Landscape.

Mountain Peaks - Charcoal Landscape Drawing

Charcoal Drawing Landscape


Charcoal may not be the first drawing medium that will come to your mind when you plan on drawing a landscape, but it’s certainly a unique approach that not everyone can do justice to. That being said, you should know that drawing a landscape using charcoal is indeed a bit tedious, which is why I’ve listed down a selection of amazing tutorials that can help you get started with charcoal landscape drawings.

To draw landscapes using charcoal, you need to ensure two main things. The first is the cleanliness of your drawing, and the second is proper shading effects. This way, you’ll have a clean drawing that has a good transition in shades, making your charcoal drawing stand out. Other than this, you should also give attention to detail if you’re going for a realistic appeal to your drawing.

Tutorial Number 1 Drawing Wars

River Landscape in Charcoal

River Landscape in Charcoal

This is a serene drawing of a river landscape done in charcoal. Here, the artist uses the variation in tones to highlight the shades, and different details in the landscape. If you notice carefully, you can even see the outline of the clouds, which is frankly quite amazing. It’s not at all an easy thing to do. This was one drawing I really enjoyed working on, mainly because it offers so much in terms of knowledge and ideas.

Tutorial Number 2 Drawing Wars

Easy Mountain Range in Charcoal

Easy Mountain Range in Charcoal

If you’re new to landscape drawing with charcoal, you should start with this. This is by far one of the easiest landscape drawings on the list. It requires minimum effort in terms of drawing as well as shading. There aren’t too many elements in this artwork, hence you don’t need to worry about the composition that much. It’s quite a plain drawing, and you can get it done within a good 30-40 minutes.

Tutorial Number 3 Drawing Wars

Simple Composition of a Lake and Mountains

Simple Composition of a Lake and Mountains

This drawing is the simplest one on this list. It lacks details, shades, and smoothness. I even found it to be a bit dirty. But, what it does show you, is how perspective works, and how you need to get your composition right in order to make the drawing look good. You should approach this artwork only for getting a basic idea on how to arrange the elements in your charcoal drawing, and how to ensure a proper composition.

Tutorial Number 4 Drawing Wars

Serene Sunset over a Grassy Landscape

Serene Sunset over a Grassy Landscape

Minimalistic landscape drawings look amazing on charcoal. There’s this simplicity in these drawings that makes you want to hand them on the walls of your living room. This particular minimalistic landscape drawing shows a grassy landscape overlooking the sunset. As serene and beautiful it is to look at, this drawing is also quite easy to do. Beginners will enjoy working on this piece, and will also feel quite satisfied once they’ve completed it.

Tutorial Number 5 Drawing Wars

A Village Scenery in Charcoal

A Village Scenery in Charcoal

In this video tutorial, the artist will show you the process of drawing a gorgeous village scenery using charcoal pencils. Beginners with a bit of experience in charcoal drawing can easily get this artwork done. This is in a way a test for them to judge their own skills. If you’re able to do justice to this drawing, you can go ahead, and try more difficult techniques and artworks.

Tutorial Number 6 Drawing Wars

Seashore Charcoal Drawing Study

Seashore Charcoal Drawing Study

This landscape drawing of the seashore is one of the best examples of understanding depth in charcoal drawings. As you should know by now, charcoal doesn’t give you many options in the color department. Hence, for such sketches or drawings, you only have one particular color to rely on. Thus, it becomes hard to add depth to your work. But a true charcoal artist can add depth no matter what, and they do so with the help of precision shading, which is exactly what this particular drawing focuses on.

Tutorial Number 7 Drawing Wars

Realistic Snowy Mountains

Realistic Snowy Mountains

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – drawing realistic landscape images with charcoal is extremely difficult. But, there are a few professionals who’re able to do it with easy, and even make it look easy. This drawing of a snowy mountain for instance, is a clear example of how amazing such drawings can be. Notice how the artist managed to show snow on top of the mountains. The work of depth in this drawing is breathtaking. If you’re confident with your charcoal drawing skills, this is a challenge you’ll love to take.

Tutorial Number 8 Drawing Wars

Stunning Waterfall Drawing

Stunning Waterfall Drawing

In this video tutorial, we explore the steps you need to follow to draw a stunning waterfall. Much like the previous drawings, this too has a good work of depth and shading. From afar, the drawing looks quite smooth, and that’s mainly because the artist didn’t overdo the pencil strokes while making this. Truly an amazing piece of art!

Tutorial Number 9 Drawing Wars

Scenic Mountain Drawing

Scenic Mountain Drawing

I understand if you’re tired of seeing so many mountain drawings in this list, but they’re here for a good reason. You see, each of these mountain drawings have something unique to offer. For this one, we look at the depth, and the use of a three tone shade variation in the drawing. Three tone refers to the use of a dark shade, a greyscale shade, and an even lighter grey shade in certain areas. These tones are of course the result of a single pencil that’s very accurately manipulated to create those shades.

Tutorial Number 10 Drawing Wars

Tree on the Edge of the World

Tree on the Edge of the World

This video shows the process to be followed if you’re looking to draw something aesthetic and soothing with charcoal. The drawing shows a tree hanging over the edge of a cliff. It’s not that difficult, but will still require plenty of effort from your end if you want to make it look this good. Follow the approach the artist takes in this video, and you’ll do just fine.

Jimena & Iñigo Picture

By Jimena & Iñigo

The Navarro-Rubios

My husband and I are learning how to draw and paint. We wanted to share this learning process with the world and have fun! That's why we created this blog. We'll have drawing contests every week and you'll decide who won that week! Follow along and learn with us!

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