Karen's Studio Blog

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© Karen Lynn Link, Dinosaur Ridge, Vine Charcoal on paper, 10.5" x 13”

Greetings an Salutations,

Charcoal is not just for your next barbecue. Most of my drawings are done in charcoal. Vine charcoal is by far one of the most flexible drawing mediums and one of my favorites. Vine charcoal’s versatility allows for changes in direction and spontaneity during the drawing process. It’s very forgiving and can be easily erased especially if a light touch is used. It moves effortlessly across the page as a contour line. Add water or gesso and it becomes a painting medium. Rich blacks are created by layering subsequent marks. This velvety nature of charcoal makes it more interesting to the eyes and creates an interesting tactile quality. If an area becomes too dark, a kneaded eraser can lift the excess charcoal. As forgiving and versatile as charcoal is, it’s also very fragile and sticks are easily crushed and broken with light pressure or a tight grip. Unfortunately, I learned this from experience.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite medium or material? Please share this or any thoughts you may have in the comments below.

Happy Halloween to all the Trick and Treaters both young and young at heart!

Take care and have a beautiful day,

Materials Note:  Vine and willow charcoal are made by heating cut grape vine and small willow branches without the presence of air. If air gets to the vine or branches they will catch fire and be reduced to ash.

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