(8 customer reviews)



  • Class is Open
  • Instructor – Kara Bullock
  • Self-study
  • 8 Lessons/8+ Hours of Instruction
  • Lifetime Access/Downloadable Content
  • Private Facebook Group
  • Course Price – $69
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Has charcoal sparked your interest, but you are not sure how to use the medium?  Would you like to learn a variety of ways that charcoal can be used in portraiture?


In CHARCOAL LIKE MAD we will be completing an array of activities as we experiment with a variety of charcoals.  You will have the chance to explore different charcoal mediums such as vine, compressed, pencil, colored charcoal, powder and more!  Not only will we be exposed to the many types of charcoals available to you, I will also demonstrate for you how they can be used on different substrates such as watercolor paper, toned paper, and cardboard.

Charcoal in Hand


By the end of this course students will have an understanding of the following concepts:

  • Seeing a face before placing details
  • See anew when using a reference photo for more than one project
  • Create interest with marks and color
  • Use a colored background as a mid tone for your portraits
  • Create a likeness in your portraits



What is in a face? In this lesson, we will be looking at what really is in a face and how much we can see before we actually add in all of the details. We will view several different reference photos, practice creating a non-detailed face, and then choose our favorite to move forward with. We will then move on to add details with a variety of charcoal and mark-making.

Charcoal on Cardboard


Charcoal on Watercolor

For our second lesson, we will be using the same photo reference to create two different portraits.  In the first lesson, we will carry forward with what we learned in project 1 by completing a portrait on gray toned paper.  We will use the gray as the mid tone in the face, and continue to become comfortable using white and black marks to create values in a face. 

After the first portrait, we will learn how to use charcoal and water on watercolor paper.  We will use the same photograph for both, so that we can learn how to see “anew” with each portrait.  We will add colored chalk, and colored Neos II to our portraits to make our pieces more interesting to the eye.


In our fifth project, we will build on the previous lessons, but this time we will use hot-pressed watercolor paper, gesso, and charcoal. This is one of my absolute favorite lessons! I drew this image three times, and the third was a charm!! It is a challenging angle, but practice makes progress!  I challenge you to also do this more than once!  It is so fun to see how differently each one turns out!

Charcoal and Gesso


CLM Bonus

In lesson 6 we will continue to study the face and features. We will study the values and angles of our reference images, learn how to use our pencil as a measuring tool, how to squint to “see”, and also how to put all of our learned skills together to create a realistic portrait. While we will still be using some marks in our portraits, the goal of this activity will be to create a softer presence in our pieces. Reference photos will be provided, but you can also use a photo of your choice.


Our final lesson will take all that we have learned into a final piece of using minimal amounts of charcoal to create big emotions as we strive to create a soulful image full of depth and character.


Lifetime Access - Download All Content

Prerecorded - Work at Your Own Pace

Cost - $69



Kara has always been drawn to creating portraits, probably because of her love for people. Kara’s style is modern contemporary and her work has been described as colorful and bold.  It is her goal to create a portrait that makes the viewer want to know more about the story of the person in the painting.  She often paints her children as they inspire her the most.  Kara wants her audience to be drawn to what is happening in the lives of the individual at the moment that they were painted.  Having worked with children, she knows how difficult it can be to grow up, and she wants to capture all of the feelings of her own children that they experience with each new day of their lives.  Whatever the feeling, happiness, angst, sadness, anger, etc. she is hoping to capture it and help her audience to feel it.



This course will has a private Facebook group just for you!  Come and visit other students in this course, and view what has been created from the lessons.


The best part about this class is that you probably have what you need!  The list below is only a suggested list!  I always recommend trying to use what you already have unless you really WANT or NEED to go out and buy some new supplies!



**Upon purchasing your course, you will be asked to create an account.  If you have already created an account, after purchase your course will IMMEDIATELY be available under “LOGIN” at the top right-hand of

**If your course does not show up, please email us at

**Due to the nature of the immediate availability of the course, all purchases are nonrefundable.

8 reviews for CHARCOAL LIKE MAD

  1. Roswitha de Luarca (verified owner)

    This course has empowered my skills and sparked my imagination beyond boundaries. Wonderful teaching with clear explanations and experiencing with other materials like pastels, which opened new dimensions for me and for which I’ll be forever grateful.

  2. Mary Hunt (verified owner)

    For ANY level. If a beginner there is plenty of instruction!. Advanced, there is plenty of creative growth. Accomplished, there is just what you are looking for, inspiration and camaraderie. Kara has it all in this event. Perfect amount of video and lots of interaction. ♥

  3. Susan Wimbley (verified owner)

    Kara is a superb teacher. I have taken several courses from her and she never fails to present more than expected. In this one she presents charcoal in so many creative ways. She has addicted the students in the first class to the medium and to collecting surfaces you would never expect to fall in love with. She gives you tips and helps you grow. I recommend her as a teacher to any level. Just jump in and find a friend, a mentor, an adopted daughter.

  4. Deborah Quintana (verified owner)

    This is the best class to learn portraits and all the different ways to use charcoal! I struggled mapping faces for the longest time, but Kara takes an intuitive yet logical approach to faces. Kara is an expert at teaching composition, contrast and subjects and understanding perspective. And she’s silly! I have thoroughly enjoyed this class!

  5. Ileana Prosper Holman (verified owner)

    This course has shown me how to get the soulful look I have been trying to achieve with my portraits and Kara has a style of teaching that works for beginners as well as experienced artist. In her lessons she explains what all the different charcoals, papers and tools will do for you, and her videos provide step-by-step instructions to help make your portraits come to life. She also gives students access to a Facebook group she’s created for the class (which I love) where you can share your work, receive feedback and ask questions. I highly recommend this class to anyone interested in learning to work with charcoal and creating more interesting and expressive portraits.

  6. Karen Nowviskie (verified owner)

    This class has opened up a new dimension in my art. It has provided me with techniques and the support I need to create realistic, emotive portraits. Kara’s lessons are thorough and easily followed, her online presence is superb, and the comraderie of the Facebook group embraces all levels of skill. If you want to go to the next level in seeing values, using simple materials, and creating portraits with heart, you need to Charcoal Like Mad!

  7. Fay Goode (verified owner)

    Awesome class for any level artist! Having never used charcoal before I was surprised how much I liked it! Kara is a fantastic teacher!

  8. Britta Toftebjerg (verified owner)

    This class is awesome as all Karas classes. Everything is explained very well, and all the projects are challenging and easy at the same time. I loved every minute of it.

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