Charcoal is our most ancient drawing medium. It is a black carbon residue created by burning wood or bone to remove the water and other component materials without enough oxygen to burn away all of the carbon.
Cave paintings made using charcoal and other materials have been dated as early as 30,000 years BC 1. A beautiful charcoal drawing of a mammoth from Rouffignac at Lascaux in France is shown below. These pictures would have been made using charred sticks taken from a fire.
The most famous painter of the Italian Renaissance was Raphael. He did most of his preparation drawing in charcoal. Here is an example of one of his charcoal drawings:
If you want to make your own charcoal for drawing watch this great video below. It is easy to do as long as you have a charcoal grill or fireplace or place in your yard to make a fire.
The charcoal I use in my tutorial is made from willow saplings.
Here is an amazing blog about where the finest willow charcoal is made. It is fascinating.
Charcoal is a wonderful medium because it is soft and responds to the pressure and direction of your hand. It is a very expressive drawing material and it is great for “doodling” around.
If you missed our previous lessons, you can find them by clicking Lesson One and Lesson Two respectively.
Daily Doodle #8
Doodling three-dimensional forms.
In this video you will doodle simple forms such as prisms, pyramids, cylinders, cones, and spheres with the illusion of three dimensions.
Then, you will learn to slice these forms into pieces, called truncations.
Finally, you will learn to create a powerful form called the lune. The lune is the shape of a lemon wedge. It is called a ‘lune’ after the word luna, which means the moon. Nature loves this form and uses it everywhere. Even our eyelids are lune shaped!
Daily Doodle #9
Doodling Compound Forms - Seeing with X-Ray Eyes
It is exciting to be able to see and draw the shapes that form the building blocks of the complex structures in our world.
Compound forms are combinations of parts of multiple forms. Almost everything in life - from man-made to nature-made - is a compound form.
Doodling these forms will give you an ability to see the forms within things and have artistic X-RAY EYES!!
In this lesson, we will learn to doodle three views of the head. The side, or profile view, the front view, and the three-quarter view. We will rely on the S and C rules we learned in the last lesson.
Profile View of the Head
In this video, we learn how to draw the side view or profile view of the head. We will use the number nine to help us organize the head into different parts.
Doodling the Front View of the Head
In this video, we will cover doodling the front view head so that all parts are placed correctly. You will learn to utilize an egg shape to divide the face evenly in half horizontally and vertically to ensure symmetry and proper eye placement.
Doodling the 3/4 view of the face
The three-quarter view is the view between the front view and the profile (side view). When we draw the three-quarter view we will use another “rule of nine”.
Remember that this is doodling, so it should be fun and even funny! There is a long tradition of drawing people out of proportion and incorrectly on purpose. Leonardo da Vinci’s comedians are a very famous drawing of caricatures, shown below:
The French Impressionist painter, Claude Monet, made his classmates laugh when he would doodle funny pictures of their teachers. Shown below.
Now is a fantastic time to learn drawing. The Doodle Method was created to teach kids a natural and fun way to draw the world.
Before my wife Heather and I created a construction toy to get kids building using nature’s design principles, we had an art school in our home.
We created what we called the Doodle Method. It is based on using the lines that are already natural for our hands to form. Children old enough for handwriting lessons are of the appropriate skill level for these lessons.
This method will help your child to:
Build hand-eye coordination
Learn about art history
Build confidence through skill mastery
Gain the skills that form the foundation for handwriting
Connecting children to nature through drawing and other hands-on activities is a rewarding exercise with long-lasting benefits. It builds foundational skills and knowledge to enhance understanding of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) subjects through awareness of the patterns found in nature and mathematical relationships.
An Example From History
Greek ceramicists painted decorative patterns on vessels such as the one shown on this 2700-year-old ceramic pot to make them more attractive and easier to sell in ancient marketplaces. This type of doodle art was used on ceramics in civilizations throughout the world.
Start with Baby Steps
Like learning to walk, it is best to take small steps at first when learning to draw. It is important to understand the true power of the doodle and the scribble. When people scribble and doodle they are usually very relaxed and their mind is often occupied with other things. They are merely making lines that are easy and pleasurable for their hands and images that are simple and pleasant to their eyes. This is a very natural state of “art play”.
In this video series, you will learn fundamental drawing skills by doodling with letters.
The Lux Blox Daily Doodle #1
In the first video, we learn the S-rule. The S-rule is a powerful technique for drawing and design because it creates the illusion of three dimensions- what I call “punching the form” with the S. The S traces the curviness of natural things, which tricks the eyes into believing that what it is looking at is three dimensional. The S is a very natural line to draw and the more comfortable you become making S’s the more fun drawing will be.
The Lux Blox Daily Doodle #2
The S and C Rules: The Overlapping Perspective
In the Daily Doodle #2, we continue exploring the S rule and the C rule as a way to learn the illusion of overlapping perspective. In this video, I show you how we can use the S and C rule to create plants, animals, and even the human face using the visual shorthand developed in the Italian Renaissance.
The Lux Blox Daily Doodle #3
Mandalas using the Z-Rule!
The Z-Rule is another powerful technique to help you make mandalas and the illusion of knots using simple natural lines. This Z or zigzag rule has been used by artisans for thousands of years. It's an effective means of creating the illusion of three dimensions from one simple line. In this video, I also explore other doodling techniques like creating rosettes and geometric spirals.
The Lux Blox Daily Doodle #4
Spirals are a Gift from the Universe
Your hand was built to make beautiful spiral lines!
Nature gave us a wonderful gift - it builds itself with spirals! Learn how the S-rule and the C-rule, when combined with the speed and power of the spiral, works to bring three dimensions into view.
Take your time. Remember, this is just doodling! Make your own designs with the S-rule. Make mistakes and have fun! And if you want to learn it faster, teach someone else what you just learned!