Charcoal is traditionally used to work out a composition before committing to the final piece.
2-3 hour studies
A brief history
Traditionally charcoal was the medium used for producing a cartoon which is derived from the Italian “cartone” meaning strong or heavy paper. It is a full-size drawing typically used in the production of frescoes. It was used to work out the composition before being transferred to the damp plaster. The cartoon would have pinpricks along the outline of the design then it was held against the wall and a bag of soot was then patted or “pounced” over the cartoon, leaving black dots on the plaster (“pouncing”). Over the years cartoons have become sort after in their own right, a fine example of Leonardo da Vinci can be found in the National Gallery.