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Erasing Charcoal Mistakes is Easy!

You can use ordinary bread, at least a day old, that is free from butter, lard or milk in its making, to rub out charcoal or crayon, erasing mistakes, and taking out lights from a mass of dark.

To correct a line or erase the charcoal with bread, take a small piece between the fingers, roll it into a ball, and shape it to a point, use it as you would use a rubber eraser, but more slowly.

You'll also need a fine, soft, cotton rag to work with charcoal or crayon. It is used somtimes to dust the charcoal from the paper, and if the charcoal has not been very heavily used, the rag is often enough to erase without using bread or rubber.

A rag is also useful when too much charcoal or crayon has been rubbed on a tone.

If a shadow appears too black, a soft rag amy be passed gently over the surface, when the superfluous charcoal or crayon will come off, leaving behind a tone more soft and light in quality.

This tone can be worked over in any manner you wish. The rag, too, may be used in sketching landscapes to spread a soft flat mass, such as a sky.

In many cases, it is better to use the stump for this purpose.

Fixing Charcoal Drawings

A charcoal drawing will become smeared and defaced if left unprotected. Therefore, it is necessary to fix your drawings with a varnish-like preparation. Don't use a brush to apply the varnish!

You can make your own charcoal fixative by mixing four ounces of alcohol with a few grains of white shellac. Alternatively, you can buy your ready prepared fixative from art supply stores (online or offline).

You apply the fixative to the surface of the drawings by spreading it with a spray or atomizer.

Atomizers used for medical and perfume spraying is not good for this purpose, as the shellac in the fixative will clog the tubes. That's why it is perhaps better to purchase your ready-made fixative.

Rokeby Venus, by Velazquez


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