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Night Forest

This tutorial is recommended for adults and children 10+.

Use charcoals to build up this high-contrast composition based on trees. This tutorial is a great choice for anyone who has never used charcoals before.

  • be guided step by step through the various layers and techniques

  • learn valuable skills relating to the use of charcoal

  • design an attractive composition inspired by tree trunks and deep shadows

  • learn how to mix colours, using just the cool primaries

  • pick up handy tips for working with this medium

You will need:

  • drawing paper

  • willow charcoal

  • compressed charcoal

  • paper towel

  • eraser

night forest trailer_Moment1.jpg
night forest trailer_Moment2.jpg
night forest trailer_Moment3.jpg


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:

Note: This process is very much about letting loose and experimenting. As you progress through your own work keep the following pointers in mind: 

  • use willow charcoal to lay draw the basic trees shapes

  • this is an imaginative drawing so don't feel the need to make the trees too realistic - copy my shapes or draw your own

  • also use the willow to put shadow on one side of the trees, blend to grey with your fingers

  • put more shadows at the bases of the trees

  • use a hard compresses charcoal stick to put contour lines on the trees, this helps us understand their round shape

  • compressed charcoal is also used to deepen shadows, add details and fill in the background

  • use a piece of paper towel to blend the background to black

  • draw vertical lines through the trees using an eraser

  • add any other details you want such as dark patches in the trunks

  • spray with fixative to set the work.


QUESTIONS: Please feel free to send me an email at

Happy Creating!