Charcoal is the substance left over when wood is burned. It is used in the same way as pastels to create artwork in shades of black, white, and grey.
It can be bought in sticks, charcoal pencils, or loose powder.
Charcoal can also be used to make parsemage. A parsemage is a piece of artwork made by floating charcoal powder on water, sliding a piece of paper into the water underneath the charcoal, and then lifting the paper so the charcoal sticks to it.
You can create a parsemage, too.
Thick Art Paper
Next time you go camping take a plastic container with you. Once the campfire has completely cooled (overnight), take a few small pieces of burned wood and bring them home in your plastic container. If your family cooks on a charcoal grill, ask for a charcoal briquette instead.
Fill a wide bowl with warm water. Crumble your charcoal into the water. The powder will float on the top. Try to grind the charcoal into fine powder because if it's too heavy it will sink to the bottom and won't attach to your paper. Slide a piece of thick art paper into the water just below the floating charcoal. Lift the paper out of the water, allowing the charcoal powder to stick to your paper. Lay the paper flat to dry.
You can now create a drawing on top of the parsemage or you can erase patterns in the charcoal on your paper.
Note: You can do this project using chalk instead of charcoal. Just use a pencil sharpener to grind chalk into powder and sprinkle the powder on the surface of the water. Try using different colors in the water to create some cool effects.