Prepare a stencil
Grab a piece of 8x11.5" or 9x12" paper and cut four 4x4 squares out. The paper does not need to be sturdy - it can be printer paper.
On each 4x4" paper, cut out a single shape in the middle. For example, you can choose a circle on one card, a square on another, a diamond on the third, and a rectangle for the last one. You can also choose organic shapes, squiggles, etc. I will explain how we'll use them next week. You can also cut extra 4x4" squares out in case you want to make more stencils during class.
Click here to learn how to spray your drawings.
Watch this video to learn how to sharpen your charcoal pencil with a razor.
If you're drawing with a charcoal pencil and sharpening it in a pencil sharpener, you'll find that you need to sharpen it often. Since the charcoal is so soft, and the pencil sharpener only exposes a bit of charcoal at a time, you'll need to interrupt your drawing session to re-expose the charcoal. There's a more practical way to sharpen charcoal pencils, and it's with a razor. You want to carefully shave off the wood with a razor. This method exposes more charcoal, meaning you don't need to sharpen as often.
I briefly mentioned about taping your drawing to a sturdy support board. Taping your drawing is not necessary, especially if you plan on keeping all of your drawings inside your drawing pad.
If you tape your drawing, you need a study support board, such as a clipboard, and paper-friendly tape, like this. Your support board should be at least an inch larger than your paper all around. Sometimes if I don't have a clipboard, I'll use the back of a large sketchpad. You could even use a piece of cardboard.
You'll need to secure your paper to a support if you want to work vertically (on an easel, for example) and took your paper out of your drawing pad. You don't need to tape your paper if your paper is still inside the drawing pad. Taping your paper has another benefit, which is creating a clean border around your entire drawing, which is great if you want to frame your pieces.
Want to expand your artistic toolbox?
As you practice and spend more time with art, you may enjoy adding more supplies to your toolbox. If you're just starting, I recommend waiting before purchasing these to see if you need them. Remember that each one has a DIY version or an alternative.
Drawing bridge (to rest your hand on when drawing on the table so it doesn't smudge your art)
Mahl stick (to rest your hand on it when drawing vertically)