Whilst Charcoal is an inexpensive material to purchase, making your own charcoal is rewarding, and can still save you a few cents and pennies in an age where most of us must save frugally. The process of making charcoal is a straight-forward one, but there are some basic tools required.
* You will need a metal container large enough to hold your wood (which will ideally be up to six inches in length).
* Aluminium foil.
* Soft woods (such as willow or pine or grape vine).
* Pruners to cut your wood to size.
* A whittling knife (to remove the bark).
* A burn barrel, fire pit or some form of barbeque grill.
* Ample fuel for your fire.
Try to ensure your wood is dry, and if it is not, you can microwave it for a minute to accelerate the seasoning, or alternatively leave it out in the sun to dry naturally. Try to cut the wood evenly to around six inches in length so that your pieces fit snuggly into your metal container (if your container is smaller or larger you may wish to adjust accordingly). Place your aluminium foil over your metal container, and put three small holes in the top, and then with your fire in place (BBQ, fire pit or burn barrel are the usual choices), make sure the flames just lick the bottom of your metal container - when this happens there will be plenty of smoke, which is a positive sign! You're ready to make charcoal.
When the smoke eventually stops you can remove the container and let it cool down completely. Do not be tempted to open it prematurely otherwise you risk ruining your work. Once cooled sufficiently, remove your charcoal, and all being well, you are ready to start drawing!