Charcoal

One of the oldest drawing materials, charcoal has great versatility and is often used for making spontaneous, large and bold drawings or for drawing out an image before painting. It is usually made from charred willow twigs and is also sold compressed into solid sticks. Charcoal is soft and fragile and can be used to give either a soft or strong quality of line, or alternatively smudged and dragged over the paper for textured effects and shading.

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Robert West; Matthew William Peters, by Matthew William Peters, 7 November 1758 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Robert West; Matthew William Peters
by Matthew William Peters
7 November 1758
NPG 2169

Giuseppe Naldi, by François Hüet-Villiers, 1803 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Giuseppe Naldi
by François Hüet-Villiers
1803
NPG 2782

Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram, by Sir (John) Bernard Partridge, published in Punch 21 November 1928 - NPG  - Reproduced with permission of Punch Ltd

Arthur Foley Winnington-Ingram
by Sir (John) Bernard Partridge
published in Punch 21 November 1928
NPG 4970

David Bomberg, by David Garshen Bomberg, 1931 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

David Bomberg
by David Garshen Bomberg
1931
NPG 4821

Boris Karloff, by Nicolai Fechin, circa 1934-1938 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Boris Karloff
by Nicolai Fechin
circa 1934-1938
NPG 5837

John Allsebrook Simon, 1st Viscount Simon, by Francis Owen (

John Allsebrook Simon, 1st Viscount Simon
by Francis Owen ('Frank') Salisbury
1944
NPG 5833

Eileen Joyce, by John Randall Bratby, 1959 - NPG  - © estate of John Bratby / Bridgeman Art Library www.bridgemanart.com

Eileen Joyce
by John Randall Bratby
1959
NPG 5975

Sir Tom Stoppard, by Howard James Morgan, 1980 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Tom Stoppard
by Howard James Morgan
1980
NPG 6559

Arnold Abraham Goodman, Baron Goodman, by Lucian Freud, 1985 - NPG  - © The Lucian Freud Archive / Bridgeman Art Library

Arnold Abraham Goodman, Baron Goodman
by Lucian Freud
1985
NPG 5849

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich, by R.B. Kitaj, 1986 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Sir Ernst Hans Josef Gombrich
by R.B. Kitaj
1986
NPG 5892

Willy Russell, by Peter Edwards, 1989 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Willy Russell
by Peter Edwards
1989
NPG 6093

J.K. Rowling, by Stuart Pearson Wright, 2005 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

J.K. Rowling
by Stuart Pearson Wright
2005
NPG 6745(12)

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