Rick “The Muse” – quick charcoal portraiture

Good evening!

Posting a quick portrait drawing I did this afternoon. I’m posting the reference photo, the tools I used, and the final result.  It’s pretty basic but I’m happy with the end result considering the speed at which it was drawn. I’d like to be able to draw a semi-realistic portrait in about two hours. This one was just a bit over that limit.

MATERIALS USED: (See photograph below) 2B and 6B Generals charcoal pencils, a Generals willow drawing stick, kneaded eraser, Generals willow charcoal powder, my homemade charcoal sachet applicator (a rough textured rag tied with a rubber band), and Strathmore 300 bristol vellum surface paper.


That black, greyish, snake-like object on the right is a kneaded eraser. I used that to pull highlights out of the drawing.

And here is Rick “The Muse”!


Rick has an instagram account where he does a lot of live model posing and uploads snapshots of himself dressed in various costumes, outfits, and weird facial gestures. He’s a riot and a person that is just full of life!  You can find him at @rick_the_muse or look for him on the “sketchy” app as well.

And here is my drawing of Rick “The Muse” rendered in just under two-and-a-half hours. It ain’t too shabby but I still would like to get softer edges and perhaps work on more aesthetics.  Oh well. That’s why they call it practice.


I used that little homemade rag sachet to lay down the entire layer of charcoal that I would used for both the skin tone and the fluffy, white, pirate shirt.  I used the kneaded eraser to pull out the charcoal to create the whiter areas on the shirt and to create the highlights on the face.

That sachet allows me to load up charcoal onto the round portion and then tap it onto the surface of the paper. Depending on how hard I tap, will determine how deep I can push the charcoal into the paper. A gentle tap allows me to easily swipe away the excess charcoal I need in order to create the right tone or value I’m looking for.

The areas where I needed it to be dark (around the head), I simply used the 6B compressed charcoal pencil. I then used the large willow drawing stick to create some of the more irregular background and then hit it with an acetone spray.

Well, that’s about it!  See ya next time!