Prior to the 18th and 19th centuries, artists could not use charcoal to produce finished works of art. It was only after ways to affix charcoal to surfaces emerged that artists could fall in love with it as a drawing and expressive medium. In this video, contemporary artist Timothy Mayhew demonstrates the drawing techniques perfected in France in the 19th century.

Subscribe to the Getty Museum’s YouTube channel »

More to Explore

Noir: The Romance of Black in 19th-Century French Drawings and Prints exhibition website

[instrumental music plays throughout]





These are some of the intrinsic qualities of charcoal that artists are drawn to.

Charcoal comes from charred pieces of wood, capable of producing a range of tones that are easily rew...