Charcoal + graphite: introduction


Discover the freedom and physicality of drawing with willow charcoal, the emotive power of compressed charcoal, the joy of gestural mark making with graphite, and the detailed tonal blending you can achieve when drawing in pencil.

Improve your use of tone, shading and blending with putty and plastic erasers, and develop your creative line and mark-making techniques to add depth and self expression in your drawings. 

Perfect for all students who wish to learn the expressive qualities of working in monochrome tones.

Manchester is an art destination
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“Really enjoyable course.  Took lots from it that I can hopefully use in the future.”
Garry H

“Really good!  Warm and friendly atmosphere, extremely welcoming.  Brian was very helpful and provided several tips and feedback for improvement.”
Mamoona A

“Would highly recommend.  I’m a beginner to drawing, but learned so much in two days and I feel inspired to carry on.”
Jackie S



Sat + Sun


Includes £10 paper charge
+ most materials

20 + 21 June

10 – 4pm

Adult Beginner, Improver, Intermediate

9 places remaining

Course details

Course structure

This course will introduce students to working in;

  • Willow charcoal
  • Compressed charcoal
  • Graphite sticks
  • Pencil

Click the green Materials to bring tab
to see what you need to bring.

Day 1
Beginning with an overview of all the materials used on the course and a demonstration of how to draw with pencils and master detailed toning, blending, shading, and quality of line and mark-making, students will work on 2 of their own creative drawings.
Artist’s images are used as inspiration and guidance throughout the weekend.

In the afternoon students will be shown how to use graphite sticks. After a short exercise students will complete another creative project allowing them time to experiment and explore with 1:1 support and guidance.

Day 2
During the morning students will learn about the freedom of willow charcoal through demonstrations and exercises. This will be followed by a large-scale creative project allowing students the opportunity to experiment and discover the expressive freedom of drawing with willow charcoal, develop their skills in developing tone, shading, and continue to explore creative line. Students will be supported with lots of 1:1 tuition as well as group critiques.

The afternoon session will give students the opportunity to compare the qualities of drawing with compressed charcoal which offers the ability to create more powerful and dramatic drawings. After a demonstration and a short exercises to learn the basics students will move on to a creative project to allow them time to fully explore the potential and drama of compressed charcoal.

This is a great course for beginners as all techniques I teach will be fully demonstrated and students will receive lots of 1:1 tuition.  Improvers and intermediate artists will also benefit if they are looking to branch out into using materials they have not yet fully learnt.

  • Essential items to bring

    1. Pencil: 4B, 6B, 8B or 9B
    2. Plastic erasor
    3. Kneadable ‘putty’ rubber

    Drawing paper is provided

    Optional items to bring
    Cloth for cleaning your hands
    Rag (old cloth) for smudging charcoal or paint when drawing
    Wear old clothes or bring an apron
    Pen and notebook for taking notes

  • Group Size
    Min 6 – Max 10

    Course includes tea, coffee & biscuits. Please provide your own lunch on full day courses,workshops and classes.

  • Brian has a background as a fine artist, community artist and adult tutor. 
    Brian is passionate about teaching and enthuses his students with excitement for creativity and making art.  His teaching style is supportive, relaxed and friendly, yet focused on ensuring everyone is able to progress to their potential.  He is Lead tutor at Creative Art Courses.

    More >

  • Reviews + student comments from previous courses


  • Future course dates


What can I expect

Structured learning
Carefully structured teaching that will lead you step by step, giving you the confidence to try new things.  

Individual attention
Loads of individual 1:1 encouragement to explore, experiment and discover.

Inclusive + personalised learning
A teaching style that focuses on your individual needs and is fully accepting of your individuality.

Creativity and technical skills
Teaching that allows you to learn new technical skills and develop your creativity, and leave inspired to continue to develop your skills further at home.

Welcoming studio
The Gallery Studio is a warm, creative and friendly space offering a relaxed informal, yet focused, teaching style.

Choose this course if you want to learn about drawing with monochrome materials such as charcoal, graphite and pencil

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“I have learnt a lot about shading and mark-making.  No previous experience at all!  Fun using different mediums. Excellent encouraging tutor.”
Catherine M

Choosing the right course

Courses are grouped into 4 strands, each with a different focus. 
Create your own patchwork of courses depending on your interest and availability. 
There is no specific starting point.


Fundamental building blocks applicable to all art styles


Materials + techniques to fall in love with


Stand out – learn to develop a strong artistic voice.


Ongoing development away from formal courses

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