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Charcoal Clown

Video Duration: 28 mins

Estimated time to complete the lesson: 2-3 hours

(pause video as needed to complete steps, but please complete at your own pace)

This tutorial is recommended for adults and children 10+.

Create this captivating clown face using a variety of charcoals and layering techniques.

  • be guided step by step through the process

  • learn valuable skills relating to the use of charcoal

  • design an attractive composition inspired by a clown face

  • learn how to build tones and create contrast

  • pick up handy tips for working with this medium



  • drawing paper, A3 or larger

  • willow charcoal

  • compressed charcoal - soft and hard sticks

  • soft eraser

  • cotton tips

  • paper towel



REMEMBER – there are no rules, don’t be afraid of experimenting!

These are my tips, to be used as as a guideline for creating this particular work, in conjunction with the video. Pause the video after each step and then complete that stage at your own pace. You can always go back to gain clarification on a particular aspect of the process.

  • using the willow charcoal, start by very lightly drawing the basic face shape

  • be conscious of where you lean or rest your hands to avoid getting charcoal in areas where it's not wanted

  • refer to the image provided to draw the face, or use another face if desired

  • once you're happy with the basic face shape and proportions use the willow charcoal to lay down a 'bed' of tone on all areas of the face that are not white

  • build up tone with the willow blending initially with your finger, then a small piece of paper towel to achieve smooth tones

  • use the hard compressed charcoal to build up tonal details on eyes, nose and lips

  • use a cotton tip to blend in areas that are small

  • use the soft compressed charcoal to build up dark tones on the broader areas of skin, blend with paper towel or fingers

  • draw with the hard charcoal to add clown eye and eyebrow details

  • use an eraser to remove charcoal for areas of highlight, or clean up around background areas

  • spray with fixative spray to set

QUESTIONS: Please feel free to send me an email at

Happy Creating!