Compressed Charcoal Pencils – Express Yourself

charcoal pencils

Compressed charcoal pencils are a great way to unleash your creativity and express yourself through art. Whether you want to sketch, draw, or shade, these pencils offer a smooth and rich texture that can create stunning effects on paper. You can use them to create dramatic contrasts, soft gradients, or subtle details.

The pencils are easy to use and blend, and they come in different hardness levels to suit your preference. You can sharpen them to a fine point for precise lines or use the side of the tip for broad strokes. The pencils are also versatile and can be used with other mediums, such as watercolors, pastels, or acrylics.

You can experiment with different techniques and styles to create your own unique artworks. Compressed charcoal pencils are a must-have for any artist who wants to unleash their creativity and have fun with charcoal.

charcoal pencil drawing
Compressed charcoal pencil drawing by the author

Compressed Charcoal Pencils

Compressed charcoal pencils are the most common type of charcoal pencils. They come in different grades of hardness, from soft to hard, depending on the amount of binder used. Soft charcoal pencils produce darker and smoother lines, but they also smudge more easily and require more frequent sharpening. Hard charcoal pencils produce lighter and sharper lines, but they also tend to scratch the paper and create more dust.

These pencils are ideal for sketching broad strokes or fine details, as well as creating rich shadows and contrasts. They can be blended with a paper stump, a cotton swab, or a finger, or erased with a kneaded eraser or a vinyl eraser. Some of the best compressed charcoal pencils are:

  • Derwent Charcoal Pencils: These are high-quality charcoal pencils that come in three grades: light, medium, and dark. They have a smooth and consistent texture that glides easily on the paper. They are also easy to sharpen and erase.
  • General’s Charcoal Compressed Sticks: These are not exactly pencils, but rather rectangular sticks of compressed charcoal that can be used as they are or sharpened to a point. They come in four grades: 2B (soft), 4B (medium), 6B (hard), and white. They have a rich and velvety texture that creates intense blacks and subtle grays. They are also easy to blend and erase.
  • Sunshilor Professional Charcoal Pencils: These are affordable charcoal pencils that come in three grades: soft, medium, and hard. They have a smooth and creamy texture that produces dark and even lines. They are also easy to sharpen and erase. They come in a plastic case with a sharpener, an eraser, and three paper stumps included. Check them out on Amazon

Vine Charcoal Pencils

Vine charcoal pencils are made of natural charcoal derived from burnt grapevines or willow branches. They have a soft and brittle texture that produces light and airy lines. They are also very easy to erase and blend, making them ideal for sketching and shading.

Vine pencils are usually not graded by hardness, but by thickness. Thicker pencils produce darker and bolder lines, while thinner pencils produce lighter and finer lines. Some of the best vine charcoal pencils are:

  • Winsor & Newton Artist Vine Charcoal: These are premium vine charcoal sticks that come in three thicknesses: thin, medium, and thick. They have a smooth and uniform texture that creates delicate grays and soft blacks. They are also easy to erase and blend.
  • Nitram Fine Art Charcoal: These are high-end vine charcoal sticks that come in four grades: HB (hard), B (medium), H (soft), and B+ (extra soft). They have a smooth and consistent texture that creates rich blacks and subtle grays. They are also easy to erase and blend.
  • Mont Marte Vine Charcoal: These are budget-friendly vine charcoal sticks that come in three thicknesses: thin, medium, and thick. They have a smooth and natural texture that creates soft grays and gentle blacks. They are also easy to erase and blend.

White Charcoal Pencils

White charcoal pencils are made of compressed white pigment mixed with a binder, such as clay or wax, and encased in wood. They have a hard and chalky texture that produces bright white lines. They can be used on dark or colored papers to create highlights or contrasts.

White charcoal pencils can also be used on top of black or gray charcoal pencils to create different tones or effects. For example, you can use white charcoal to create reflections, textures, or details on your drawings. Some of the best white charcoal pencils are:

  • General’s Charcoal White: This is one of the most popular and widely available white charcoal pencils. It has a medium hardness and opacity, and a matte finish. It works well on most papers, and blends easily with other charcoals. It is also very affordable and durable.
  • Derwent Tinted Charcoal White: This is a softer and creamier white charcoal pencil, with a slight shine. It has a high opacity and can cover dark areas very well. It works best on smooth papers and can be sharpened to a fine point for details. It is also more expensive than General’s.
  • Faber-Castell Pitt Charcoal White: This is a harder and more precise white charcoal pencil, with a matte finish. It has a low opacity and can create subtle highlights and gradients. It works well on textured papers and can be erased easily with a kneaded eraser. It is also very affordable and long-lasting.

Derwent Tinted Charcoal Drawing Pencils

charcoal pencils
Drawing & Writing, Set Of 24, Water-soluble, Ideal For Blending & Smudging, Professional Quality
  • The dramatic beauty of charcoal with just a hint of colour; professional quality charcoal drawing pencils in a range of muted shades; perfect for professional artists and amateurs of all ages
  • Ideal for adding coloured details and accents to charcoal drawings; Slightly scratchy texture for easy smudging and blending; use with Derwent Charcoal Pencils or XL Charcoal Blocks for a more dramatic effect

Coloured Charcoal Pencils

Coloured charcoal pencils are a type of drawing tool that combine the expressive qualities of charcoal with a hint of colour. They are ideal for creating atmospheric and dramatic sketches, portraits, landscapes, and still life. These pencils are water soluble, which means they can be blended with water to create interesting effects. They are also easy to sharpen and control, making them suitable for both beginners and professionals.

Coloured charcoal pencils come in a variety of colours, ranging from traditional black and white to vibrant hues like ocean blue and forest green. Some of the best brands of coloured charcoal pencils are Derwent, Mont Marte, and Stabilo.

Conclusion

In conclusion, compressed charcoal pencils are versatile and convenient tools for drawing. They can help you achieve a range of effects, from subtle to dramatic, depending on the pressure and grade you use. They are also easy to sharpen and erase, unlike traditional charcoal sticks. If you are looking for a way to add some depth and drama to your sketches, you might want to give these pencils a try.

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