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Portraits and wildlife in Charcoal

I grew up in fear of messing things up and getting my fingers dirty - literally. When I discovered charcoal, it was everything but a clean medium. It is a messy and you learn how to be bold and fearless with it. It is also great for learning about tonal values, shading and soft edges.

I use mostly Generals extra soft charcoal pencils, charcoal vine and willow, and also compressed charcoal sticks for the darkest darks. For lifting up the darks I use mostly ordinary eraser and for fine details a Tombow mono zero eraser in different sizes. I am still searching for the best paper to use, currently I am using smooth Canson paper 180 g in weight and Strathmore 300, but later on I will also try to do some art on hot press watercolor paper to see the difference.

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