I just started this commission piece this evening. It's fun to be using charcoal again. One of the things I like is that you can get really nice darks and a lot of variation in tone with just one color. I use a "ugly" brush from Cheap Joe's to help spread the charcoal, it really gives it a nice delicate tonal quality and you have a little more control than using your finger. Then I just continue building up the laters until I'm satisfied. These two photos show the very early stages that I did tonight. I start with the eyes and nose because I feel that starts to bring the animal to life right of the bat.