I am new to charcoal and want to play around. I watched this video and I am trying to understand what tools and equipment he is using.

  • At the beginning of the video, it seems he is spreading lines using a simple compressed charcoal stick.
  • At 0:15, it looks like a stump, though he throws down some hard clear lines with it. Can anyone identify what is he using?
  • At 0:18, the functionality looks like a kneaded eraser, though the material he is using looks tough and not so kneadable. Is that an eraser? A kneaded eraser?
  • At 0:31, I am guessing this is a simple compressed charcoal pencil (actually a bunch of them).
  • At 0:54, I think it's either a wet cloth or a wet sponge.
  • And whenever he uses a spray, is it simple water, or is there a special liquid?

I would appreciate any help and advice on how to learn the right practices with these tools.

  • 3
    I think the artist answered your questions himself in this video youtu.be/A5S6TsrF6rQ. He says that he uses a wide variety of charcoal with different hardness values, several different erasers and several different tools like stumps and tissue paper to manipulate the charcoal.
    – Elmy
    Commented Jan 5 at 13:54

1 Answer 1

  • I wouldn't say it is compressed charcoal that's being used at the start—rather the opposite: it seems to be a stump of very soft charcoal (you can see a large amount of loose particles trickling down the paper).
  • The tool used at 0:15 is a tortillon, essentially a cylinder made of rolled up paper that has been sharpened like a pencil, and is used to more cleanly and controlled smudge your medium.
  • At 0:18 he's using a kneaded eraser, just one that's shaped into a point. Why it looks tougher than regular kneaded erasers is that he's using it lightly, and in a controlled manner, as to keep the shape intact.
  • The pencil used at 0:31 is indeed compressed charcoal or a Conté pencil. They are quite similar, but differ in binder.
  • The thing at 0:54 indeed looks like a small piece of wet cloth. At 0:51 I think he's dapping on extra charcoal powder using a piece of (dry) cloth: notice how the panel he's working on is now lying down, which would make sense if he wants the loose particles to remain in place until he pins most of it down using that wet cloth.

  • The liquid used in the video (that apparently comes in a spray bottle) is said to be nail polish remover in the comments on the video. While nail polish remover is solvent-based, this doesn't seem to be an archival technique: even though this particular work might be on canvas instead of paper (the tape seems to contradict this, though), the additives in nail polish remover will not be kind to the materials in the long run.

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