Charcoal Landscape drawing | Paul O'Neill | Skillshare

Charcoal Landscape drawing

Paul O'Neill

Charcoal Landscape drawing

Paul O'Neill

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
7 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials used

    • 3. Perspective

    • 4. Composition

    • 5. Drawing part 1

    • 6. Drawing part 2

    • 7. Sum up

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

While the class specifically looks at drawing landscapes in charcoal the information on using perspective and value to create the illusion of depth in a drawing/painting will be of interest to landscape painters using any medium. The class is suitable for any artist interested in giving their landscapes a greater sense of depth.


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Paul O'Neill


Hello, I'm Paul. I am an artist, cartoonist, teacher and data analyst. I live in Ireland but I've also lived in Japan for a significant portion of my adult life.

See full profile

Related Skills

Drawing Fine Art Creative

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.



1. Introduction: Hi. My name's poll new Welcome to this class on drawing landscapes using a drive media, mostly charcoal and pastels. This class is in a beginner level, so you don't need much experience of drawing or painting landscapes or anything else. What if the men goals off the class is to show you hard to create the illusion of depths within the landscape and specifically, hard to use tone to create that illusion of depth. Um, so why the classes on drawing landscapes? It is also very useful if you panto landscape. Using tonal variation will help you to create that illusion of depth within a painting. Whether it's oil on acrylic watercolor, any other medium, the classes practical glass on. I hope that you'll have a go at producing your own drawing lines. Get drawings on. You can upload them onto the project section off the class 2. Materials used: Okay, so some of the materials that you'll need, um, you'll need some pepper. Um, there's different types of paper. For example, this is straps more and specifically for charcoal. If it's a slightly creamy color, slight texture. Another paper that I've used in the past. This one is probably familiar to people who do watercolor painting, but they also do some drawing paper. This is 100% pure cotton paper, as is this one by Strathmore. This one is again creamy color with more textured surface. Third possibility. Something that I've used in the past is really not designed for charcoal. It's not something that people would often use for charcoal, but it's Bristol board. Bristol Board has for a bright white surface very smooth surfaced, and it doesn't have much green, which means it's very difficult to work with dry materials like charcoal or Pasto. What little grin there is on the paper gets filled up very quickly so you can't put layer upon layer. The other drawing papers, um, have more of agreeance with a contact more off the charcoal. Okay, that's the papers. As with the charcoal itself, charcoal comes in different forms. This is one. This is sometimes called vine charcoal. It's willow twigs, which is just being turned into your quote, so it's quite natural. It's just a a twig from a willow tree. This is compressed charcoal. This variety is made by a company called D Trump. Compressed charcoal usually comes in different hardness is Ni Trump uses different color codes, for they have at least three different hardness, a soft medium on the heart. You can also get charcoal, uh, in pencil form. Then you can sharpen it on you just years that the way you would use graphite pencil. You could also get charcoal in the form off partner, and then you would apply it with a brush. You don't need any water. You could just apply it onto the paper, and you can also get this kind of company in D. Trump also make liquid charcoal, which is basically it's similar to watercolor. It has a water soluble finder, but instead of ah, pigment tissues is charcoal. I also use, um, in need herbal reserve. Um, this thing is good for lifting off charcoal marks by this sort of technique. Once it becomes study, you can just stretch right ready to go again for my drawings. I also use white castles. I've used these ones quite a bit, so I don't know, quite small. Originally, it was quite a large Passell. These were Khamtay apostles. But sometimes I also use soft. So again, this used to be quite a large Passell. This hostel, it's made by a company called Spink, a German company. I like their soft pastels. The Khamtay hassles start out. This is a blue one, but same idea. They're quite square, These air quite hard these past ALS. The Schnittker ones are very soft. It's just a personal preference. Which one you want to use? One other tool it could be useful is this thing. This is a blending stump. It's also sometimes has a French name tortilla. If that's correct pronunciation. The only difference being the tours this stump is it's more tighty practice made from paper . This is wrapped around right tightly on dead. The stump is sharpened. It both hands. The French version is not as tightly packed on his only sharpened at one end, but both are used in the same way they're used for blending charcoal. You can blend the charcoal with your hands, but you can very easily end up with fingerprints on. It's difficult to get rid of those once you have them. It's what drives using one of these things. So the particular brands of materials that you use, um, really doesn't matter. Um, I mentioned a few brands there. I'm not sponsored by an of them. I wish I was. Um, just use whatever browned works best for you. In the end, I went with just divine charcoal. Some contact. Paso White Contact Pastor. Some soft white Pasto on notable a razor on a piece off Bristol board. As I mentioned, the Bristol board isn't perfect for charcoal drawing, but actually I like the chart. I like the Bristol board because I prefer the way you can move the charcoal across the surface. It has a very shiny surface compared to the papers that air probably better suited charcoal . I just prefer that other people may find that the Bristol board is just too difficult to work with with charcoal 3. Perspective: Okay, So with the landscape, especially if it's in the U. A. A realistic landscape you're going to want to create a sense of depth within your Banting were drawing. There's different ways we can do this perspective is one of those ways on. I'm going to show you a couple of different types of perspective. The 1st 1 may be familiar with his linear perspective. So if you imagine standing on top of a rial Weybridge looking at the real way tracks, they appear to converge onto a horizon line on the wooden sleepers between the reels. The distance between these will decrease as you move towards your horizon line. So that's linear perspective and a landscape. So it's very our landscape. In the foreground, you may have, um, blades of grass, maybe some wildflowers. And then in the distance you might have headroom. No. In reality, this headroom might be maybe five or six feet tall. But in our drawing, the blades of grass and the wife are are actually bigger from the hedgerow. This is linear perspective. The objects that are closer to us are going to appear bigger when the objects that are far away are going to appear small. Another type of perspective. His aerial perspective, not in a painting with color. One way to create the illusion off aerial perspective or distance is everything tends to become peeler peeler color Andi blur so even colors like red. So on the warm colors, they will become cooler, if not blue. They were at least become a cooler version with the color. When we're working on black and white, of course, um, we don't have color to work with, but we do have a tone. So the difference between the dark on the light in your foreground you may have signed each other very dark area and also very bright areas. You may have things in between as you move away towards the middle in the distance. You're not going to get us much contrast. Everything's going to tend towards a more middle tone. So this is one other way in which we can create on illusion of depth, very small, drawing people in the foreground grasses, other things and distance are hedges. We don't have as much contrast. So did this creates the allusion that these objects are maybe further away, and these objects are closer to us understanding. This idea of the total variation on your painting or your drawing is useful, even if you're not going to do these type of black and white drawings here, going to go back to oils are acrylics with water color. Understanding heart tone works within the landscape will help your landscapes to look more three dimensional. 4. Composition: okay. And this drawing, I've added to black horizontal lines to syndicate. We'll divide the drawing into three parts. The bottom part is the foreground. Then we have the middle ground, and then at the top you have the background. So you notice in the foreground at the bottom of the drawing. We have blades of grass. The blades of grass are actually toller in the tree in the background, and you'll remember that this is linear perspective. As things move away from us, they appear smaller. On that, objects in the foreground appear much bigger. We know that the blade of grass is only a few inches high on the trees, maybe 10 15 feet high. But we understand this is linear perspective on it helps to create this sense of depth within, depending for the drawing. Then you'll also remember the aerial perspective. So if you compare the middle ground to the foreground, there appears to be more detail in the foreground. On this imply detail is because I've used more dark strokes on bright points and bright strokes to create more contrast with in the foreground on this contrast is read as detail was in the middle grind. There's much less contrast and therefore appears to be less detail. If you think about it, our eyes, that's the way they work in the real world, things that are closest to her. To us. We can see we can see individual blades of grass on your feet. But if we're looking at a field maybe 30 40 meters or 30 or 40 feet away from us, it becomes more difficult to discern. Individual blades of grass ring tensed emerge together. You get last tonal variation in less detail. Okay, so for composition, there are some choices that we need to make before we even start making any marks on the paper. So the first decision is he size on the orientation of the paper, and by size I mean the length compared to the height. So do we have a rectangular piece of paper on their strong? I used to rectangular piece of paper. Or you could use a square piece of paper where both sides are equal length. Whichever you choose will impact on how the final drawing looks. There's no right or wrong answers. This is art. It's not mathematics. It's not, you know, in mathematics one plus one always equals two. It's that's what it is in art. Art doesn't work like that. At least not in my opinion. We don't have such a hard and fast rules. So if you want to use a piece of square paper, go for it. If you want to use a rectangular go for that. If you want to use some other more exotic ship triangle circles, ovals, you know, whatever, whatever you think works for you. So once you've decided on your size of your paper, then especially at a direct angle, you need to decide on the orientation is a landscape or portrait? Personally, I do most of my landscape drawings and paintings in portrait format rather than landscape. Um, that's just me. I prefer the tighter composition that you can get with the portrait format, but it comes at a price. You can't do a sweeping landscape if it's in portrait format. The goal of my drawing was just simply to the viewer would look at it and they would feel a so they're standing outside in a field, looking towards some hedges and some trees 5. Drawing part 1: Okay, we're going to have a goal doing some joy. Um, going to get the composition simple. It's in portrait format on it is just going to be a couple of fields, so we're going to have headroom then this second fatal. That further field is quitting on a slope, and there's also hedged marked the edge of this food. It's further away, so the head should be much Moeller and the closer hedge. Okay, I think I'm going to keep the sky just as the plan white paper. But I want to at some shitting into this triangle this second field here just to distinguish between it on the sky. I'm making the charcoal strokes in the direction in which the land is sloping. I'm going to blend some of those charcoal using these guys. This is just paper has been rolled up freight tightly and you can use for smudging charcoal . You can use your fingers. The problem with using your fingers is even the smallest amount of oil on your finger. When your skin you're going to start getting fingerprints appearing once they start to appear, it's very hard to get rid of them, although I do always want to just dive in with my fingers and start have to remind myself not. I'm just blending field in that far hedge just to give it a softer outline. It's further away from us, so we're not going to get so many hard details. Okay, I think we'll add some with a bit of white into the distance. Feel um, it Cesar, two years a large pastor. But this is all I have two moments, and all I'm doing here is just breaking up those charcoal strokes that I could time because this is nature rather than a manicured lawn. We don't want too many. Straight lines are regular patterns. It's again when you're adding in strokes. Charcoal. Think about hard. The thing is growing are moving. When the kids of the land strokes were going this way because the lander's that ship, the case of the hedge, its growing upwards from the ground. So try and put strokes in there in that direction. Okay, so then this half of the paper is going to be our foreground and our middle ground just watching things together. This creates a kind of mid tone. I can then go back in a nod, darker details and brighter details to get more illusion of details within the drawing. This type of drawing has more in common with, say, Impressionist painting. I'm not drawing in details. I'm trying to imply details. - I want to know establishing a foreground. So I'm going to put in more detail here, trying to very the direction of strokes and the amount of weight that you put on and think about how the grass grows. It probably tippers as it gets towards the DUP, so put more wit on the bottom and then lift off towards the top end. 6. Drawing part 2: - trying to use the edge of contact pastor to create highlights lines. Some of the blades of grass would be dark. Some of them are lighter. We want some variation, especially here in the foreground. Also going to add in some. I think it would be good to have some lighter detail against the black of this hedge. - Charcoal pencils, air good for at again. Some details. Some lines, the charcoal brakes quite easily. And it's not no sharpen to point the way the pencil is. And, of course, be careful of leaning on anything that you've already done. Charcoal is a dry medium. It's no like paint that's going to dry and then stay on the surface. This is just sitting loosely in the grand off the paper on. If you touch it even gently, it's going to move stuff around and change things. I'm just trying to add in some imply detail into this headroom. Okay, try using some soft pastor. This one was the content bustle, which is harder. - You can see it bricks very easily. One of the problems with soft pastel. - So now we're starting to get to the stage where we have to decide when to stop. It's very easy to mess up, drawing or painting, adding too much into it. Andi, I'd love to give you a rule that tells you exactly at what point to stop. Except of course, there is no such room. Um, each was have to make that decision with each drawing or painting, and it can be a struggle to to stop adding things. Okay, at this point, I think probably just making a mess. This is a good point at which to stop. 7. Sum up: Okay, so this is the final drawing. Um, just to review some of the points that looked at, We have the foreground little ground in the background. Uh, we had aerial perspective. So one of the differences was in the foreground. We have more tonal variation between the darkest darks and the lightest lights. Where is in the background? Everything tends to merge towards a middle tone. This creates an illusion of more detail in the foreground, on less detail in the background, which again gives us this sense of depth. And then another trick that we used was the linear perspective. So in the foreground, these grasses he's blades of grass are almost the same height as theme. Head row in the middle, that middle distance on the blades of grass are actually larger than the hedgerow in the background. So remember, you can create your own drawings on upload them to the project part of the class