Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Charcoal Expressions Review and Coupon

Charcoal Expressions is a subscription box that lets you explore your inner creative with a comprehensive drawing experience. I had a lot of fun trying out the charcoal medium and was surprised at how easy everything was to follow!

*Disclaimer: This box was sent to See, Shop, Love! in exchange for an honest review.

Charcoal Expressions was founded by Robert and Teri Gorder. They host live events where you can draw in-person around the Baraboo, Wisconsin area. They created the subscription so that people all over the U.S. could enjoy creating charcoal artwork.

The subscription comes with two drawings per month, video tutorials, supplies, paper, and mattes for easy framing. You don't need any drawing experience to participate; I found that the video tutorials were incredibly comprehensive and easy to follow.

The box costs $34.95 per month and you can subscribe in monthly, three month, or six month increments. There is also a one-time charge of $15 for the introductory kit, which includes all the reusable items you'll need: erasers, T-square, blending tools, Plexiglass, etc.

The Introductory Kit includes the following:
  • 11x14 Plexiglass
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Blue blending towel
  • Four sheets of heavyweight drawing paper
  • 12" T-square
  • 6B Compressed Charcoal
  • White Charcoal Pencil
  • One 4B Soft Charcoal Pencil
  • One set of three blending stumps
  • One Factis round eraser
  • One triangle eraser
  • Two 11x14 Show kits

All of the supplies were sent in a drawstring bag and the charcoal was inside its own bag. After the one-time purchase of the Introductory Kit, the monthly box will include four sheets of paper with guides, 6B compressed charcoal, one charcoal pencil, two show kits, catalog, bonus item, colored charcoal pencil (if needed), and eraser refills (if needed).

The catalog includes an "Inside the Drawing" story with information about the inspiration behind some of Robert's drawings, a letter from Teri, and the two drawings for the month, along with a space for notes and a link to the YouTube instructional video.

Your kit will only come with one catalog per month, but I was sent a few of the past months and decided to try the "Desert Moonlight" drawing from this past July. I have to admit I wasn't sure how well it would go since I haven't done any type of artwork since high school, but this was surprisingly easy! Robert does a great job of explaining everything in simple terms and showing you how to do all of the techniques in the YouTube video.

The whole process took me about an hour to complete and it was very enjoyable. If you're into doing adult coloring books for mindfulness I think you'll also enjoy working on a Charcoal Expressions drawing.

I'm very happy with how my drawing turned out! I loved the high contrast in this drawing and the matte frame makes everything look even better. My blending wasn't perfect, but I think this is pretty good for a first attempt.

I added a bit of orange to the moon using the orange charcoal pencil that was included in my kit. You'll only receive different colored pencils if your drawing calls for them.

A closer view of the details of the drawing.
Bottom Line: I had a lot of fun with my first Charcoal Expressions drawing! The whole process was pretty pain-free and it was satisfying to frame my final product. I don't have any formal art training but I found this to be easy to complete and not intimidating at all. I think it's a great deal at $34.95 per month, and $15 for the intro kit isn't bad either, considering you'll be able to reuse all of the supplies.


  1. I have completed 7 or 8 Charcoal Expressions subscription boxes now and have enjoyed every one! I look forward to more!

    1. They're so much fun! I loved how easy it was to try, especially with the video tutorial to follow along with.


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