Intro to charcoal + graphite


Willow + Compressed Charcoal | Graphite | Pencil

Discover the freedom of drawing with willow charcoal, the emotive power of compressed charcoal, the joy of gestural mark making with graphite, and the closely observed details you can achieve when drawing in pencil.

Improve your use of tone, shading and blending with putty and plastic erasers, and other techniques to give you a greater sense of creative freedom and self expression. 

Perfect for all students who wish to learn the expressive qualities of working in monochrome tones in a variety of materials allowing breadth of vision to detailed studies.

Manchester is an art destination
Stay a little longer | City Art Break >


“Excellent, well structured and set at just the right pace.  You will leave with a range of exercises and techniques – more importantly ways of applying it to your own work.”
Sue R

“Really very interesting.  I learned loads! It’s helped me change the way I look at art and my approach to it.”
Max E

“Liberating, it’s 2.5 hours where you don’t think about anything apart from what’s right in front of you.  It’s so freeing to make whatever mark you feel and it to come together.”
Rosie A



Thurs + Fri


Includes most materials

August 15 + 16

10 – 4pm

Adult Beginner, Improver, Intermediate

5 places remaining

Mon + Tues


Includes most materials

Autumn Mon + Tues

10 – 4pm

Adult Beginner, Improver, Intermediate

Dates not yet decided

Email me to be added to the waiting list

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
During the morning students will learn about the freedom of willow charcoal through demonstrations and exercises.  This will be followed by a creative project designed to give students the opportunity to experiment and discover the expressive freedom of drawing with willow charcoal and develop their skills in developing tone and shading.  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.  Students will be given a demonstration and work through exercises to learn the basics and then move on to a creative project to allow them time to fully explore the potential and drama of compressed charcoal.

Day 2
Day 2 begins with a demonstration of how to draw with 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.

In the afternoon students will be shown how to use pencils and master careful toning, blending and shading. Demonstrations and exercises will be followed by a creative project.

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 understood.

  • Essential items to bring

    1. Pencil: 4B, 6B, 8B or 9B
    2. Plastic erasor
    3. Kneadable ‘putty’ rubber
    4. Drawing paper
      choose either;
    • Daler Rowney: A2 size
      Mixed media pad, 250gsm
    • Cass Art: A2 size
      Mixed media pad, 250gsm

    Optional items to bring
    Baby wipes (hand cleansing tissues)
    Rag (old cloth) for smudging charcoal or paint when drawing
    Wear old clothes or bring an apron
    Pen and notebook for taking notes during the course

  • 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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“Fun, supportive. Good to develop existing skills. Tones, shapes, perspective. How to just be creative.”
Tracey 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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