Why Charcoal?

As a charcoal portrait artist, I am often asked why I choose to work in this particular medium. Over the years I have explored various different colour mediums including oils, acrylics, pastels and watercolours; some I have enjoyed more than others. In addition to this, my textiles background has called for a lot of experimentation with colour. And yet, I have always been more drawn to black and white art and photos. 

“Your drawing is a true picture of Bebe the horse. The portrait will be looked after for years to come, giving pleasure to a lot of people to admire your work. I would recommend you to anyone looking to commission you to produce a portrait of their pets.”



In my youth I studied and admired photographers such as Bill Brandt and Ansel Adams. I soon realised that monochrome art can have an impact on the viewer that coloured images just can’t achieve in the same way.

Black and white charcoal Animal Portraits

So what’s the primary reason for my using charcoal in my artwork and therefore no colour in my portraits? I personally find that taking the colour out of a drawing strips it of any distractions. This allows the subject to speak for itself and for its unique personality to really shine through. I feel that when it comes to something as personal as a pet portrait, charcoal can really help to bring the animal’s character alive.

“I just wanted to let you know that Tom LOVES Mickey. Everyone is so impressed with how accurate he is and how his character comes through.”


There are many other pet portrait artists but I have not come across many other charcoal portrait artists; especially not in the field of pet portraits. I love working in this unique medium and many of my customers comment on how striking the overall effect is.

Charcoal Pet Artist UK, black and white pet artists
I made a conscious choice years ago to become a
charcoal portrait artist.

Why Charcoal Pencil?

In my youth I always did my drawings in pencil… there’s nothing more satisfying than a freshly sharpened soft graphite pencil all ready for drawing! After being introduced to charcoal at university however, I fell in love with it. You can achieve such depth and therefore impact with charcoal.

The only downside for me was that I could not achieve as much detail in my drawings with a stick of charcoal as I could with a sharp pencil. And that’s when I discovered charcoal pencils! A brilliant invention that allows me to get both the depth and detail I need into my charcoal portrait drawings.

Interested in Commissioning a Charcoal Portrait?

If you’d like to commission your own unique black and white charcoal portrait, why not get in touch or take a look at my order page?