Artists draw with charcoal to create a rough draft of what they want their painting to look like. The tools used for this kind of art include kneaded erasers to create graduations and five grades of depressed black charcoal, soft, medium, and hard. Other materials for charcoal drawing are drafting tape, grids and gridlines, rulers, white charcoal, tortillions, squint sheets, fixative, special charcoal sketch paper, stick erasers, and block erasers in black and white. Drafting tape is used for securing the sketch paper to a hard background. Tortillions are twisted papers to form points. Tortillions come in many different sizes and are used to blend charcoal together to create a natural drawing.
To begin a charcoal drawing you need at least one stick of medium compressed charcoal, two or three tortillions, a kneaded eraser, grids, drafting tape, charcoal paper, a stick eraser, a white block eraser, and a good photo. A good photo is a black and white close up shot of one subject. The photo does not necessarily have to be black and white, but, if it is, it makes the drawing process much easier. Be sure to begin by turning the paper and photo upside down. This insures that you draw the shapes that are actually there, rather than the shapes you think should be there.
Once finished with the drawing process, take the art outside and spray with matte fixative. Matte fixative is better for this sort of drawing, as glossy fixative may reflect the light and be overly shiny. Fixative is dangerous in all instances. It is flammable, could be fatal if inhaled, and must not touch your skin. However, it is useful for artists because it creates a clear covering to prevent smudges from ruining a masterpiece.