The course will demonstrate the range of possibilities of charcoal

In this course, I explore a wide range of drawing techniques in charcoal using photos of the landscape as source material. My approach is rooted firmly in the act of looking and drawing as a means of exploring the visible world. All drawing to my mind is very, very simple in its essence, and all it really takes is, a willingness to get your fingers a little bit dirty with charcoal.

Course Content

This course follows a logical and progressive format starting from identifying a suitable subject from photo references. You will then be guided through the a series of demos on how to find your way into your chosen image, progressing from small thumbnail sketches to a fully rendered detailed study.

Throughout the process, I provide a framework to help you get past the trepidation we all experience when facing the 'blank white paper' and show, how versatile and forgiving this medium is, so that you can progress quickly, with confidence and have a fun and enjoyable and fulfilling experience.

  • Explore a full range of possibilities of this remarkable medium

  • Identify and following a map for the composition

  • 'Drawing with light' technique

  • Get personalised feedback from Michael on your own work

Course Teaser

Course outline

Course Introduction

  • Credits

  • Course structure

  • Introduction to my work

Materials and mark making

  • Materials

  • Mark making warm up exercise

  • Drawing straight lines

Define your subject

  • Selecting your photo references

  • Photos from a single vantage

  • Editing your photo

  • Suggested references for this course

  • Photo reference challenge

Rehearse with thumbnails

  • Finding compositional elements

  • Thumbnail demo

  • Thumbnail demo 2

  • Single vantage thumbnails

  • Thumbnail assignment

Drawing with light

  • Introduction to 'drawing with light'

  • Introducing the eraser pen.

  • Establishing the main values

  • Darks and detail

  • Drawing with light assignment

Large demo

  • Demo part 1

  • Demo part 2

  • Fixative and removing tape

  • Large drawing assignment

More about this course

We answer some common questions about this course and who it is designed for

  • How much does this course cost?

    This course is part of the Big Look member subscription. For just €59 per month you will have access to the full library of Big Look content and have the ability to get personalised feedback from artists when you submit work. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time. For more information about Big Look subscription check out our support centre content

  • Who is this course for?

    This course is for anyone who is interested in exploring charcoal whether as a standalone medium or as a way to make tonal studies of subjects for painting. While the subject matter of this course is landscape the same techniques and 'way of looking' can be applied to any subject matter.

  • Is this course suitable for beginners?

    Charcoal is such a simple, versatile and forgiving medium that it lends itself to artists of all levels, including beginners. The method I teach takes a lot of 'guesswork' out of the process. The main thing that is needed, is willingness to get your hands dirty with charcoal and a spirit of adventure!

  • When does the course start and stop?

    There is no set schedule for this course. This is a self-paced course which allows you the flexibility to follow at your own speed and convenience.

  • Can I get feedback on my work from Michael?

    There are a number of opportunities to upload your own work to get an assessment from Michael. All student uploads are confidential and will not be seen by other students.